This fanfiction was adapted from a game called Lucky Rabbit Reflex from winter wolves. I took the dialogue from the game and just added some of my own. This story is about Rhett and the player, which I named Fuuyumi, which is why I don't own Rhett.
The story I wrote is quite random, I couldn't write very well, because I followed the game... Try it if you want to understand what I'm talking about. Still, I hope you all enjoy!
And so another day began.
I was riding on the train to get to my new school Northmain College. The trip was quite long, so I decided to read my manga a bit. I wouldn't hurt, would it?
"You wanted to see me, Tarou-kun?"
"Y-Yeah… The thing is that... We've known each other for a long time, Chie, and I…"
"I think I love…"
"We will reach our last stop soon, please don't forget your luggage." I vaguely heard the announcement.
And that was when it hit me "How many stations have I passed! I'm late at my very first day!"
I ran as quickly as I could back to the school just in time for the doors to be closed
"…Ugh, I made it, just about! Turning up late on my first day… Just like in a manga… Not like I complaining much though. I wonder if the Opening ceremony has started yet. Should I sneak in and attend it, or just ditch it?"
After thinking about it for a while, I decided to attend it after all. I couldn't go breaking rules on the very first day now, could I…?
When I came, the ceremony had barely even started yet. I sneaked to the back seat and listened… no more like tried to listen to the speech… Ugh, I couldn't take it anymore, should have skipped it after all! And with that, I gradually fell asleep… for a few minutes I think
"…Erm…" I heard a male voice calling me "You enjoying yourself there?"
I opened my eyes and realized that I was leaning on a guy's shoulder! "Oh god! I'm so sorry!"
"Heh, don't worry about it, ladies usually get that way around me!"
'What? Tired? What is he talking about?'
"You're new here, aren't you?"
"Yes! I need to get to upper six… Are? Where's that paper? Ah, here it is! I think it was this class here!"
"Yeah, that's my form class. I'm Marius, by the way." He offered me his hand
"Um… I'm Fuuyumi"
"Fuuyumi? Heh. That's original. So Fuuyumi, now that we know each other intimately, let me guide you to the classroom"
"… Not intimately enough, if I might say"
"Oho! I think I'm going to like you!" he stated
And so he led me to the classroom.
"Marius Blitz! Do you have to corrupt every girl you come across?" a girl's voice called "You are the new girl right? Stay away from this idiot and it will be better for you."
"Umm, thanks, I guess. By the way, I'm Fuuyumi, nice to meet you, ah…"
"Merle. Merle Piepo. Nice to meet you. I'll be guiding her from now on, so stay away, Marius!" and with that she dragged me away
She then told me about clubs in this school, there were drama, athletics, netball and music clubs.
Out of those, the drama club had really caught my attention. Seemed that I would be paying them a visit soon enough. She also introduced Shuppin Marchelaure… what a hard name to pronounce… and Lufika, Marius' cousin. She told me I'd have to ask them for more information. Just after a few seconds, Marius and a black-haired boy came in to greet me. Somehow I immediately knew he was Shuppin… he was just like how Merle described him. He also had a sister Dys, who was the Head girl of this school. We chat for a while and then it was time for class.
"Merle? Where are you going?" I asked
"Toilet. You coming?"
When we reached the toilet, we saw Dys in there.
"You know what, Fuuyumi. Your hair is so long and silky, it's beautiful." Merle said touching my hair
"Really, I didn't notice. Dys' hair is the same too, isn't it?"
"Ah, no, I don't think my hair is as smooth as yours. It really does feel good." Dys said while stroking my hair
"And your skin is so white and smooth" Merle touched my cheeks "I'm so jealous, what cream of lotion brand did you use?"
"Eh, I don't actually use any creams or anything."
"Really? Does that mean that you're a natural? I'm so jealous!"
"Ha ha. Don't worry about it. You guys are already beautiful as you are already."
"Ohh, Fuuyumi, you're such a smooth talker."
So that was the first day at the new school. I guess it wasn't so bad. I actually thought that I would like it here.
The first week passed away quickly and soon it was already Friday. And so I decided to visit the library, not far from school to check out the books.
The library wasn't packed with people, but somehow, there was nowhere that I could sit. I walked around for a while, and saw a spare table near the window. However, there was someone sitting there already. It was an oddly familiar redhead. I knew that I had seen him before… but where?
I came closer, and recognized that it was the guy in my English class. He had a weird name that somehow I couldn't bring myself to remember right now… He was pretty outspoken in class, always arguing with Mr. Mackham over the tiniest detail… pretty broad shoulders for a bookworm, though…
"You having fun there?" he glanced at me
"Ah!" I gasped, I didn't realized that I was staring at him. "Umm… Sorry, I mean I'm kind of new here, so… I just thought – you know… come over and introduce myself. I'm Fuuyumi."
He didn't answer.
"I mean, um. I thought I saw you somewhere… but I kind of didn't catch your name so…"
Silence again bestowed the atmosphere
"Um… so… yeah…" I was feeling kind of miserable right now…
"You sitting down or what?" he finally asked
"Uhh… I guess?" I sat down "Thank you."
None of us talked for a while, before I started staring at him again. That was when I noticed that the book he was reading was the book that we were supposed to study this term. I guessed that we had to read it outside class as well
"*Sigh* What is it?"
"Huh? Ah, no, I just noticed the book… and noticed that it was to one we were studying…"
"You know… in class…"
"… That we have together?"
"… I know we have class together."
'Of course he… Wait… What? He noticed me?"
"It's the beret" he answered as if reading my mind
"It stands out."
"What can I say, I'm nothing if not observant. *Sigh* well, doesn't look like I'm getting anything done today"
"Ah! I'm sorry, I didn't mean to! I'll stop talking…"
"Oh, so you are capable? I'm glad."
"Wha- You know, you're kind of a dick…"
"Come now, Beret – this is a library. I'll not have that kind of talk. Some of us are here to learn ~ "
'If I leave it like this, I feel like I've lost! But what can I do?'
And so Friday ended with me not in a good mood, but looking at the bright side, it was the Weekends!
I decided to go and relax at a bakery this week to release my stress. And it did work!
But as much as I didn't want it, a new week begins… And so this week I decided to pay the drama club a visit. And as usual, I was barely on time for the club meeting… I heard that the president of this club was one of these supper-intelligent 'everything in place' types… I didn't feel so good already…
"How nice of you to join us, Beret." An extremely familiar voice called out
"If you're planning on sneaking in late, you might want to use that lovely enclave back there next time – the one with the nice, blue curtain, see? You and your head gear blend right in."
"Eh? Hey, I'm not even late! This thing starts at two, right?"
"And turning up puffing and panting at three past is a great way to prepare yourself mentally, I suppose – my apologies, Beret. I hadn't realized we were in the presence of a true thespian."
"Okay, okay, I get it – god, I'm sorry for turning up three minutes late, Okay?"
"Ah, there's no need for that – just Rhett will be fine."
"*Sigh*… Well aren't you going to introduce yourself, Beret? Don't keep us all hanging."
"O-Okay. Like… just my name? or like, hobbies and stuff?"
"Umm.. okay… well, my name is Fuuyumi Shoko, I just moved here and I'm in 3B class."
"Is that all?" he asked, surprised
"Erm… I guess?"
"Well, thank you for that riveting self-introduction, Beret. I was… moved."
'Is he being sarcastic?'
"… Can I sit down now?"
"If it means that your little disruption is over, then by all means."
'Agr! I don't think I can take this too long!'
"As I was saying before I was interrupted, my name is Rhett Sugden and I'll be taking over presidency from Eoin Mackham, who seems to have found his true calling in boxing, best of luck to him. I'll not beat around the bush. As members of this club, you'll be expected to pull your own weight. That means not missing meetings or rehearsals, turning up on time and prepare. Suffice to say, the drama department's been rather lackluster as of late, to put simply – call me crazy, but I'm thinking that if we pull our collective finger out we might be able to put on a production that's not complete shit for once."
'Wow, how straightforward… I must say that he is quite determined though…'
"Well. Now that you've all woken up, I suppose there's no time like the present to get stuck in – I want you all in groups of three. Role-plays, ad-libbed. Think of something. And that includes you, Beret – would it be too much to ask you to stop gawping at me and find a partner?"
"Y-yeah – I mean, uh, no! I'm on it!"
'This is going to be a long year…'
That night, I received an email from Rhett, welcoming all club members. His cell phone number was enclosed in the e-mail, saying that it could only be used for drama matters. What an uptight guy…
And so another week passed. I was getting quite used to the life here. Everyone was very kind to me, helping me with things that I didn't understand. Well, except for one person…Rhett…
I also decided to apply for the part time job at the library on Mondays from 3.15 to 6 pm. I needed money after all… The pay was £10 per week and I thought it was quite good and I do get to read book for free, so why not? Let's go for it!
The following week~
Today was my first day at my part time job. I went to the library to meet the manager for job details. I searched for a while, but it didn't seem that anyone was here.
"Need any help there?" a man called
"Erk!" I jumped out of surprise. I turned around and saw Rhett in his normal clothes. I must say that he looked quite good.
"Are you looking for anything in particular? A-level English course books are in the corner if you're after those."
'And somehow, he is being very helpful. Is this really Rhett?'
"Erm, actually no. I was meant to be working here starting today. I was wondering who was in charge and what I was supposed to do…"
"What? Of all the… They actually employed you, Beret? I didn't think it had come to that."
'I take what I just said back!'
"Well, seeing what a wonderful job you're doing in grating yourself with your boss, you might not last long…"
"Oh please – you're what? Seventeen? There's no way you're managing this place."
"Eh, maybe so. But the actual boss doesn't grace us with her presence too often, I'm afraid you're stuck with me."
"Well, I was just about to get started labeling that new stock, but this could be an excellent training opportunity for you, Beret."
"H-hey, I'm not here to do your job, you know?"
"Don't forget to shut the system down when you're done~!"
'I'm starting to regret this now!'
Six weeks have passed ever since I came here, and so this weekend I decided to go shopping for some clothes.
I really like elegant style of clothes, so I decided to go to the la Dauphine shop. There I noticed some really cute and cheap shirts along with some classy trousers and a blue button skirt and so I decided to buy them all. I got quite some money from my part time job.
And so another week begins. After school, I rushed to my part time job. When I came, I notice how Rhett was more pissed than usual. When I asked him about it…
"Ugh, would it kill people to put things back where they found them? It's not my job to go cleaning up after these idiots."
"Er – do some books even belong here? I haven't been here long, but I'm pretty sure we don't stock Topless Totty or whatever the hell that is."
"Yes, well. Far is it for me to criticize what little reading these people do."
"Um, do you want any help with those anyway? I mean, there are a lot of them…"
"Heh, much as I don't want to sound ungrateful… this is actually your job. I'm meant to be over at the counter."
"E-eh? Why didn't you tell me? I- I'm so sorry!"
"Hmph. No offence, but it's quicker if I just do it. It would take longer to clean up after you than it would them. I don't suppose you know how the decimal system works?"
"Well… not yet, but…"
"I rest my case."
"Well, I can't win then, can I? You know you could always just show me…"
"Not my job, Beret."
'Agr, does he really have to piss me of? Does he really hate me that much?'
And so, the end of October was coming soon. I decided to attend the Halloween party everyone suggested. I Merle and Dis will be going to choose the costume for it this weekend, I can't wait! When I came to the shop I noticed a dress of Lavinia, from Tidus Andronicus. She was horribly ravaged and had various parts of her body cut off. The dress even had fake blood! I totally loved it! And so I decided to go with it.
The following week at the drama club~
I was so tired, Rhett is a slave driver after all!
"I suppose we should call it a day now – I have an announcement to make, for anyone interested in performing in the school play this year. After some, ah – extended discussion with the Head of Drama, we've decided that we'll be performing Romeo and Juliet this year. Auditions won't be held until later this year, but I suggest anyone aiming for a speaking role get in as much practice as possible before that time – major characters are fairly sparse, after all"
'Shakespeare again? And I was hoping that it would be something more interesting!'
"No offence, but isn't that a little… cliché? I mean, I do like Shakespeare, but Romeo and Juliet's kind of been done to death, hasn't it?"
"*Sigh*… Believe me, I agree with you. Unfortunately, Mr. Merrick was unmovable – the drama department's budget has been cut or the third time, and they need a sure-fire hit to bring in the masses, apparently. No 'unpronounceable arthouse-y fare nobody's heard of' this year, I'm afraid. It's a shame too – I'm all for Shakespeare, but I'd rather put on Tidus Androdicus than Romeo and Juliet, to be honest. With all the advances in stage make-up and prosthetics, one ought to be able to fashion some fairly realistic arm stumps, I'd wager…"
"Yeah, real shame that…"
'Wait a minute… isn't that the one with all the incest and cannibalism? Sounds like great night's entertainment!'
"As I was saying, though I don't particularly mind the play, it's a shame we've been forced to appeal to lowest common denominator in the name of revenue – that said, Mr. Merrick has graciously permitted us to make certain changes, keep things fresh. So with that in mind, we've decided to retain the basic plot and dialogue of the play, while relocating the setting to Prohibition-era Chicago."
"Huh? That's kind of random. I like it though!"
"Yes, well. It was a collaborative effort – something everyone appeared to be happy with. At any rate, we'll be casting for Gunsel Juliet at some point in November, so ah, I'd advise you to get to work now If you plan to audition."
'Hum… this whole Yankee Romeo and Juliet thing's a little weird, but you never know… I wonder if I'd have a shot at Juliet?'
And so Halloween came. I put on the Lavinia's dress and got on the train to Lamb's house, where the party was being held.
"Fuuyumi? I barely recognize you!"
"Merle, Dys! You guys look amazing" Merle was wearing a tiger suit, which was nothing much, but a swimming suit with tails and ears. Dys was wearing a princess dress, which suited her very much.
We chat for a while before we parted, each to their own directions. I talked with people I knew, but I couldn't see Rhet anywhere. I guessed he isn't the type to like these kind of places. But I kind of whished he was here… somehow…
The party lasted until 11 o'clock. Overall, it was very fun.
On November 5th, on my way home I passed through a Bonfire festival, where lots of food was sold. I gladly bought some of them and they tasted delicious! I walked to an open space, where I could easily see the fireworks. "I think Bonfire Night might be my favorite night of the year!"
Recently, I think that I had become quite close to Rhet, so I brought out all my courage, and called him to ask him out for cinema, hoping that it'll help to improve our relationship… in some way. To my surprise, he agreed. There must have been a movie that he wanted to see. I had better be right.
I decided to go with a long-sleeved shirt and my classy trousers. Not forgetting to put on my beret, I went to meet up with Rhett.
When I got there, he was already standing there, waiting for me. "Ack! You're here already? You haven't been waiting long have you?" I ran towards him
"Hmph, you're lucky. I only just got here myself this time. Shall we?" said he not even looking at me. However, when he looked up, his face showed a hint of surprise. "…"
"I-Is there something wrong?" I asked
"Ah, not really, no. But you really didn't have to make such an effort, Beret."
'Effort? Is he talking about my clothes? It's my style though, I didn't have to make any efforts though. But I'm glad he liked it.'
"Alright, choose a film." He said
"Eh? You don't really have to be a gentleman and let me choose, you can choose it."
"*Sigh*… let's get this over with, shall we?"
"Alright then… Then I choose 'Un film d' Art et d'Essai'"
"Hmm? You honestly want to see this, Beret? Don't go picking it on my account."
"Well, it's had really good reviews, right? And the Golden Ox award for most depressing screenplay, or so I hear ~. We've all got to get a little culture once in a while, right?"
"Well, if you're sure. I've been wanting to see this for a while, but I hadn't banked on watching it with you, Beret – no offence though."
'You can't just say, no offence on the end of blatantly offensive comment, you know? But I'm glad that I was right on the mark'
The film was quite good, really depressing though, but I liked I anyways, so was Rhett. I felt
like we were getting closer.
Another week, another Monday, another day at work with Rhett…
"*Sigh*… slow day today, huh…" I sighed
"I think I have done everything I can possibly do today… You think the boss will let me go early?"
"Hmm? Doubt it. I'd make myself look busy if I were you, she'll have you re-sorting the shelves or overhauling the system if you tell her you've got nothing to do.'
"Make myself look busy huh… you mean like you're doing? What are you up to anyway?"
"Checking the lending logs. For inconsistencies."
"Uh-huh. Found any yet?"
"Nope. Not likely to either, I've no idea how this works. But hmm… Miss… Fuuyumi Shoko doesn't seem to have any outstanding fines…" he teased
"Oi! That's invasion of privacy right there!"
"Nonsense – I've a duty to check up on every employee here, after all. Never know what you might dig up."
"It's a lending log, not a criminal record!"
"Getting a bit flustered there, Beret – something to hide?"
"Pfft – not likely! I'll have you know I browse only the most the most academic books – you'll find nothing untoward in my log, my good sir! ~"
"Hmph – so I see. Nothing but classwork and studies… It's no wonder you're always in here. Ever considered finding a hobby, Beret? Not that studying 24/7 isn't admirable, but you know, you're only young once."
"You're one to talk! You're a right bookworm – I bet you've got the whole Shakespeare back catalog on your log!"
"Hmph – let's have a look at your records, shall we?" I leaned towards the computer
"Knock yourself out." He clicked on his own name and a panel came out
"A-ha! Let's see here… Uh… Hmm. You… you'll read pretty much anything, won't you?"
"What can I say, I like to broaden my horizons."
"'Advanced In-line Skating'? … Really?"
"Well, you proved me wrong, I guess. You're rather complicated fellow, aren't you, Mr. Sugden."
"*Sigh*… Isn't there something else you could be doing?"
'Hmm… I guess there's more to Rhett than meets the eye!'
One day, after the English classroom, I noticed how Rhett kept staring at me.
"Erm… are you okay there, Rhett?" I asked him
"Huh? Ah, no, it's nothing. You haven't changed your beret lately by any chance, have you? There's something different about you, but I can't quite place it…"
"Well I have been working out and taking care about my outer appearance lately, if that's what you mean."
"Is that so… then that must have been what's different. You look better anyway. But haven't you been going to gym too often."
"Huh? But it's a good thing right? You look like you've been spending time there yourself – are you sure there's nothing you're not telling me, Rhett ~?"
"Hmph, hardly. *Sigh*… but I can hardly say a little youthful energy is a bad thing. Just… be careful, is all."
'Though you might deny it, it looks like you're worried about me after all, Rhett ~.'
And so Rhett birthday has finally came – November 21th. And so I decided to g and buy him a birthday present.
I went to the Shopping Centre. I walked around for a while I saw a Horror Collection of DVD with just £3. Rhett did seem like he liked horror stuff, so I thought that this would be a perfect present. I bought it and rushed to the library, where I expected Rhett to be. And I couldn't be any more right.
"Hey, Rhett, do you have a minute?"
"Hmm? You'll have to make it quick, Beret. What do you want exactly…?"
"Hey – with that attitude, I'm not sure you even deserve this! But since I went out my way to buy it for you… Happy Birthday!"
"Eh? For me…?"
"Well, I mean, I wouldn't get your hopes up, it's not really anything fancy…"
He opened the wrap "Ah, this is… I must admit, I'm surprised at you, Beret. How on earth did you know I liked this sort of thing…?"
"Heh, intuition, I guess! You really like it…?"
"I won't know until I watch it, I suppose. But at any rate, thank you, Beret – there was really no need to go out of your way like this."
"Ah, don't worry about it!"
'Wow, he seems really pleased! Though, was there ever any doubt? ~'
Another Tuesday, I decided to go to the library to study for the up-coming exams as usual.
"Hmm. May I have a minute, Beret?" Rhett called
"Huh? Ah, sure… what did I do wrong this time?"
"Hm? Ah, it's nothing like that – I just wanted to give you this."
"It is you birthday today, right?"
"… Ah! Today is November 25th! I totally forgot about that!"
"Hmph" though trying to hide it, I still noticed a slight grin on his face "It isn't anything terribly exciting, I'm afraid, but I hope you get some use out of it, at least. Ah, happy birthday, Beret."
'Hm, fancy that, Sudgen giving me birthday presents! Is it just me, or did he look a little nervous just then…? Well, I might as well as open it up! Oh, it's a leather – bound journal! This looks like it might have been pretty expensive… Thank you, Rhett!'
The next day, at the drama club~
Everyone was very lively preparing for the auction. It would seem that Rhett was surrounded by people asking his opinion about their acting. He seemed quite popular. I must admit that he was quite dedicated to the job, though – he's running this whole thing pretty much single handed. It was quite impressive.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Lamb practicing Juliet as well. She was also very dedicated and I thought that she was quite good. Rhett came to her to listen to her acting, he also thought that she was good. She blushed, seemed that Lamb liked Rhett as well. I felt that my chest hurt a bit. I wonder why…
The following day – Sports Festival~
"*Brr* I can't believe this – it's bloody freezing! Whose sadistic idea was it to have Sports Day in the middle of winter anyway? Oh well, just hope that I'll feel warmer after my 100m sprint."
"Yay! I'm first!" I shouted after reaching the line
"Hmph, could have fooled me, Beret – where'd you learn to run like that?"
"Eh? Oh, Rhett! Ah, cheering me on, were you? ~"
"Not likely. I came over to pick up the hammers and shot-puts – I 'look like I'd be good at that sort of thing' apparently."
"Well, I'm off. Ah… keep it up, Beret. Looks like you're not doing too badly out there."
"Um, thanks! Same to you… and try not to kill anyone with those things!"
"Hmm. Not making any promises." He chuckled
At the library – Friday November 28th
"Hmm… you're certainly here quite often these days, Beret." Rhett mused
"You're the one to talk! And anyway, there's nothing wrong with having a bit passion for literature, right?"
"Oh no, far from it. I didn't mean anything by it… it's just nice to see someone taking their studies seriously for once."
"Oh! Uh… thanks, I guess! ~"
Monday – December 1st – at library
"Rhett" A girls voice called "Rhett~"
I turned to look at the girl and saw a little girl
"Rhett! Why are you ignoring me, though?"
"This is a library, urchin. You might have to keep it down a little."
"Hm? What are you doing lurking back there, Beret?"
"Eep! I mean, uh, nothing – I sorted the books like you asked, but nobody new is come in for an hour and there's not much else to do…"
*Sigh*… Well, the boss won't be back today, says she's got a funeral or a christening or some such – you might as well go home. I'll clear up there."
"Eh, really? That's uncharacteristically nice of you – there's a catch right?"
"Basic damage control, more like. I can see from here that half of those books you've been shoving into corners are in the complete wrong sections – you'd be doing me a favor if you called it day, really."
"You know, I'll let go of this for now – there are children present, after all."
"Speaking of which – who is this anyway? She's a little young to be cooped up in here like you!"
"Ah, yes – I suppose you wouldn't have learnt to read yet at her age, would you…"
"This is my sister, Ruby – she's just here until her drama class starts."
"Fair enough… well, it's nice to meet you, Ruby"
"Berry" she whispered
"Eh?" Rhett gasped
"That's one of the berry hats, like what you were saying, Rhett, innit? Like what them French people wear in the cartoons?"
"Ah, you mean my beret?"
"Yeah, that – and you're that new girl! The one with the French hat what messed stiff up bit means well, innit, Rhett! Because there was this other girl what was here before you came, but she wasn't good, nut now you're here, there ain't book all over the floor and stuff, right?"
'I could have sworn she was speaking English…'
"*Ahem* Don't you have work you should be getting on with, urchin" Rhett seemed a bit flustered
"You think if I got a berry hat, people would think I was like, continental?"
'Huh? Now that you mention it… If the sister knows who I am, then does that mean that Rhett has been talking about me at home? Sugden, you sly dog! ~'
And so December 3rd finally came. Everyone was very nervous about it and this didn't exclude me. Lamb was busy memorizing the lines, I tried to talk to her, but she ignored me, and that was when Rhett came to me
"Care to show me what you can do, Beret?"
Well this audition wasn't what I expected. I had to pair up with another guy – aka Romeo – to perform. It was really awkward!
"O, swear not by the moon, th' inconstant moon, that monthly changes in her circled orb, lest that thy love prove likewise variable." I tried my best
"WHAT shall I SWEAR by?" the excitable actor exclaimed. I wasn't sure if he was serious about this…
"*Sigh*… You could at least try being a little more animated – we're going for passion here, you two." Rhett complained
"Oh, I don't know – I for one feel a stirring in my loins!" he exclaimed
"Um… Would it help if we were closer together, or…?"
"Oh Ho! I could go for that!" he responded enthusiastically
"*Ahem* That won't be necessary, thank you, Beret."
I dragged Rhett to a corner and whispered "Uh, Rhett, I really don't mean to complain, but this guy – he just… ugh! Couldn't I just do an audition piece on my own?"
"I can hardly go changing the rules just for you, Beret – though I, ah, do see where you're coming from. At any rate, your skill as an actress shouldn't depend on the person you're acting alongside – you need to learn to look past this idiot and put all into the performance"
"That's easier said than done!"
"*Sigh*" he came closer to me, making my heart jump a bit and I could feel my face becoming a bit hot. "Look, Beret. I want you to forget about – whatever his name was. He doesn't exist. The man standing there is Romeo, the man you love, the man you desperately want to send word of his proposal of marriage to you tomorrow. This is someone you love above all else, and I want to hear that come across in your voice, your body language, everything, Fuuyumi. You can do that, can't you?"
"U-uh, yeah, of course!" I felt my heart jump again at his calling out my name. He seriously knew how to encourage people now… 'Rhett really believes in my – I'll try not to let him down!'
Oh my God, I couldn't even remember how the thing went. I hoped that it went well though and I hoped that I didn't disappoint Rhett…
Oh well now that I was done with casting, I have to concentrate on studying for the exam.
December 8 – exam week
First up, English Literature…
… piece of cake!
Next up, French…
… piece of cake!
And next we have… Art!
… piece of cake!
And finally… General studies
… piece of cake!
"I think I might as well as get full mark there! You go, Fuuyumi!"
Well, now that exams are over, I wondered if Rhett will go on a date with me again, so I called him and he agreed. I asked him to go to the park with me and good grief, he also agreed. We are becoming closer after all!
When I came he was already there waiting for me as usual.
"Oh… It's good to see you're getting some use out of that journal I bought you, Beret. Though you aren't under any obligation to actually use it, of course…"
"Nah, really, I love this thing! I'm halfway through it already..."
"Hmm, It's good to know I'm getting my money's worth, I suppose."
'Heh, he may try and hide it, but I think he's really pleased! ~'
After having walked around and chat about the school work and stuff Rhett asked "Well, was there anything else you wanted to do?"
"I wanted to sit by the lakeside, sketching the passing boats… is it alright?"
"Hmm? I wasn't aware you were artistically inclined, Beret."
"Well, I dabble. And I happened to bring my sketchbook for just such an occasion…"
"Hmm, glad as I am that you came prepared, I'm afraid I didn't. Still I suppose I'd be interested to see what you create – I'm not entirely averse to watching the lake for a while."
"Just don't criticize too much, I don't work well under pressure"
"We'll see about that ~"
And so, winter break came, I could finally relax now.
On Monday, December 15th night, there was a Christmas Market going on and I decided to attend it.
"*Sigh*… it's a shame the queues for the Christmas Markets stalls are always so long – all I want is a couple of pretzels and maybe a doughnut or two, but I don't know if it's worth braving those lines! I guess it'll be around for a while – I could try coming back another day…"
"Try not to look so dejected, Beret – it is Christmas after all."
"Oh, Rhett! This is the last place I thought I'd run into you. I was sure you'd be humbugging somewhere or something."
"Hmph – I resent that. You'll find I enjoy Christmas as much as the next person, Beret. Well, not you, possibly. I take it from your sour expression that you aren't enjoying the festivities?"
"Nah, just wishing I'd got here earlier, is all. The queues are miles long – I just wanted to pick up a few things, but I'll be crushed for sure if I try to brave that crowd! I suppose my delicious pretzels will have to wait"
"Pretzels? Hmm… in the spirit of Christmas, I suppose I could give you this." He handed me a pretzel
"H-huh? You have one? And it's still warm~! But, um, I don't want to take yours – you must have queued up for ages to get this!"
"Hmph, I wouldn't worry, I don't even particularly like them – they're far too salty for my tastes. I only bought these because my grandmother kicks up a fuss if we don't have any German food at home, but I'll be here for a while longer anyway, so I suppose it doesn't matter either, really"
"Huh... your grandma likes German food?"
"Well, she is German – and she likes to let us know it when we see her every Christmas. She's already disappointed enough than none of my sisters speak German, so I figured I should at least attempt to placate her a little"
"Family policies, eh… still, it's nice of you to queue out here in the cold for her. You're a good one deep down, Sugden!" I smiled
"Hmph, if you say so."
"Are you going to stick around here then?"
I suppose I night as well –I'm waiting for my sister to finish work, but that won't be for at least half an hour. I was thinking of having a look at the mulled wine stand actually."
"Ohh! Mulled wine? I've heard of the stuff they sell here is really nice – they put little amaretto shots in and everything. And they serve it in little Christmas mugs!"
"*Sigh* Would you care to join me, Beret?"
"Well, I wouldn't want to impose~… "
"You could at least try to be less obvious. Come on."
I was glad that I came here today after all!
"Phew… finally! It's pretty handy having a tall guy like you around, you know – I couldn't even see the front for a while back there!"
"*Sigh*… if you say so. My German's pretty rusty, so I'm not entirely sure what else is in this, but here."
I took the mug and tried a bit "Mmm~! It's good! It's like, all fruity and cinnamon-y and warm… try some!"
"I could just buy my own, you know."
"And get the same again? What's the point? You might as well as try mine and get something different yourself, see which s best and all that."
"Hmph – I have no idea what I ordered the first time, to be honest, so it would be a stretch. But if you insist…" Hi smiled a bit. He took the mug and drank the wine
"It is pretty good, actually. Not that I'm much of a connoisseur, but still…" he looked at the watch "You'd best finish of the rest, Beret – I'm going to have to get going."
"Aww, really? I guess we did spend like twenty minutes just queuing up. Oh, but don't you want the mug? You did pay for it…"
"Hmm.. You might as well as keep it. It's cheaper than buying you an actual gift at any rate"
"Merry Christmas, Fuuyumi." And with that he blended into the crowd
'Huh? Does that mean that he was actually planning on buying me a present ~?'
25th of December~
So Christmas finally came. This year had really gone by in a flash.
"I guess I'm a little too old to be asking Father Christmas for presents, heh! Though… I do have one single wish… If I could have one thing… it would be a better relationship with Rhett!" Just as I finished wishing, I felt a strange feeling in my body. I wonder if that mean that my wish was heard… or something… "Oh well, I should go to bed now, it's late anyways!"
One day as I was lying peacefully on my bed, my cell phone rang. I picked it up and it was Rhett
"Ah, Fuuyumi. I'm not calling at a bad time, am I? I was thinking of going to the park later today, and was wondering whether you might want to come along"
'You can't be serious, Rhett asking me out? This must be my lucky day!'
"Sure, I'd love to! I'll meet you there, I guess?"
"Ah, you would?" his voice seemed to be very happy "*Ahem*… Well, it's better than going alone, at any rate. I'll see you later, Beret." With that, he cut the line off
"You didn't have to try to be a tsundere like that though, Rhett~ Oh well, I'd better get going!"
We didn't talk much during the date, we just enjoyed each other's company and all. I was really happy that he asked me out so I don't mind
School time came again. And it was finally January the 5th, the day, when the casting will be announced. It would seem that the Romeo guy will be the Everett guy. I was hoping that Rhett will be Romeo, such a pity. I then searched around if my mane was up there and saw that "I got Juliet! Oh my God! I thought I'd failed that audition! I guess even Felix couldn't bring me down!"
The results for my mock test also came out this week. I got straight As. I guess my hard work really did pay off.
In the class, Mr. Betchaku asked us for our future choice. I decided to go for a top-tier university and Mr. Betchaku was very glad that I chose that. He told me if I had any difficulties, feel free to come to him. I thanked him and promised to try my best.
Monday – January 19th – at work
"Phew… I think that's everything taken care of! Though to be honest, I think Rhett probably did most of the work. Either way, I'd best get going. It's been raining for the past few hours, and it sounds like it's getting worse – wonder if I can make it home without getting completely drenched?"
I got out of the library and saw that the rain was even worse than I thought.
"Not looking great, is it?"
"Huh? Oh, Rhett, I thought you already left?"
"*Sigh*.. I don't think I'm quite ready to brave that. Not that I'm in any great hurry to get home."
"Huh… you don't have an umbrella or anything?"
"Hmm? Unfortunately not – I never saw the point, personally. You'll likely end up getting wet either way."
"Well, we're not all freakishly tall – I'll have you know my umbrella is big enough to cover both me and someone else besides."
"You're going to the station too, right? We could always share – it doesn't look like the rain is going to let p any time soon."
"Hmm… I wouldn't want to impose you, Beret."
"It's no trouble, really. And besides, I wouldn't want you to catch a cold or something – I'd have to deal with all those book myself."
"Hmph. Well, when you put it that way… I'd best hold the umbrella, though. What with my being freakishly tall and all."
"Heh, I meant it in a good way!"
And so, I handed him the umbrella and we started walking home together, just like in a manga!
"Hmm… when you offered to share, I hadn't expected your umbrella to be this girly. I half expected there to be love hearts engraved into the handle when you handed it to me."
"Hey, beggars can't be choosers – if you don't like it, feel free to be manly in the rain!"
"Heh, it'll have to do, I suppose. I'm fairly used to this sort of thing, unfortunately – my sisters have the run of the house as far as decoration goes, and if it isn't pastel or sparkling, it isn't worth having apparently."
"How many sisters do you have?"
"Five altogether. Possibly a sixth on the way"
"Wow! I mean, um… you mom must be made of strong stuff!"
"Yes, well. A day without morning sickness is a day wasted, as far as she's concerned."
"So… are you the oldest?"
"Bar one – Scarlett left for university a few years ago. But I'm the oldest at home now, yes."
"Oh, nothing. I'm not surprised, that's all. You kind of give out a 'cool older brother' vibe. But still, I wouldn't have thought you lived with so many girls – I'm just getting this image of a kind, gentle big brother, helping with homework, making lunches."
"Yes, well. I never said that I was a good brother."
"Nah, I'm sure you are. You' pretty thorough when it comes to everything else – I'm sure you're the same way when it comes to your family, right? I mean, you're always looking out for me at work, and you don't even like me!"
"I bet you're really cute, when you're with them – they must be pretty young, right? I'd love to see how you act when you're together, heh~! " I continued my rambling
"Hmm…" he looked away, a bit embarrassed, I guessed "I don't… dislike you…"
"I'm sorry if I gave you that impression"
"Eh? Oh, sorry – I didn't mean it that way. Slip of the tongue, you know?"
"… So… I look out for you, do I?"
"Well, you do half the work for me most of the time! Not that I'm complaining. Feel free to do my share of work anytime ~!"
"Oh? The work gets done twice as fast if I just do I myself."
"Sure, sure. I think you're a nicer guy than you think you let on, really."
'I thought it was my imagination, but I really do seem to be getting along better with Rhett lately, I wonder why?'
And so, we parted when we reached the station, Rhett's words still ringing in my years 'I don't… dislike you…'
Ever since I got the role of Juliet, I have been working hard to memorize the lines. Today, I had to stay behind late to help making costumes and everything, but it was fun and all. I looked into my bag and realized that I had forgotten my script at the theatre. I rushed back to the theatre, hoping that it hasn't closed yet.
When I came in, there was nobody around and it was really creepy. I walked a little further and suddenly…
"O-oh my god! R-Rhett!"
Rhett was lying of the floor, red splotches everywhere.
'W – What's wrong with him? I-Is he breathing? What should I do?'
"Rhett, Rhett! Spear to me! Oh, god, I can't make out a pulse - "
"Ugh… what are you screaming about?" he slowly opened his eyes
"… And please stop pinching me. Whatever you're trying to do, it's not helping."
"W-Well, what was I supposed to think, with you lying in a pool of… red paint?"
"Hmm? You're hilarious, Beret – did you think I was dead?" he laughed "Makes me wish I had actually planned it, really."
"Ha ha. Next time I find you unconscious, I'm going to leave you to it!"
"That would probably be for the best, given the questionable skills you just demonstrated. What are you doing back here, anyway? It's quite late, isn't it?"
"Huh? Oh, I was just going to pick up my copy of the script – I left here a while ago. What are you doing here? Besides frightening the life out of me?"
"Hmm? I thought I might get a few more backdrops painted tonight, but I suppose I'm more tired than I thought. Still, I still have a few more hours until the last train, so I'd better get on with it."
"So you painted all these? I just assumed you were getting some of the Art people to do it or something. I mean, they are really good."
"Well thank you, Beret. But unfortunately, the art department is busy with its own projects – at any rate, I am an art student and I see no reason why I shouldn't paint them myself."
"Well, I am an art student too… not that your work isn't amazing on its own, but at this rate, you won't be done for months! And I'm sure you've got loads of other work to be doing. Why don't I stick around and help you a bit? I promise I won't mess things up too much!"
"Ah well… I wouldn't want to drag you down with me, Beret. Painting sets is hardly the most interesting in the world. And at any rate, don't you have lines to learn?"
"I'm sure I can do that while painting – and you'll be helping me out, right? It's a win – win ~!"
"*Sight* Well, if you're that dead set on helping me, I suppose I shouldn't dissuade you. Um, thanks, Fuuyumi."
"No problem! Let's get cracking before the sun sets completely, shall we?"
'I don't know, Rhett, I'm sure this will be more fun than you expected!'
"…. I will not ail. 'Tis twenty years till then. I have forgot why did I call thee back. I shall not forget, to have thee still stand there, rememb'ring how I love thy company…."
"Hmm… you really are coming along quite well. I might not have made a huge mistake casting you as Juliet after all, Beret."
"Hmph, I'll take that as a compliment, I guess."
"*Sigh* I do envy you in a way – I'd rather be memorizing lines than directing"
"Huh? Really? And here I thought you liked ordering people around."
"Hmph. Enjoyable though that is. I joined the drama club in the first place because I wanted to act. I'm not planning on pursuing a career in the theatre, so this year was going to be my last chance to perform, but… When Eoin, the previous president, offered me position at the end of last year, I figured I'd be a fool to turn it down, ,what with my Oxford application to think about. I suppose it'll all be worth in the end… *Sigh* my apologies, Beret… We were rehearsing, weren't we?"
"Ah, no problem… if you really want to act, though, I'm sure you can give yourself a part, can't you?"
"That would be slightly self-serving, I'm afraid. I wouldn't want to abuse my power. But, ah… if you're ever in need of a partner to rehearse with, Beret, you know my number. I don't know what expertise I can offer, but…"
"Ah, sure! That would be great, Rhett – thanks!"
From that day on, I and Rhett started practicing together. He was really good at this, such a pity that he wasn't Romeo. I think I would act even better with him rather some random guy.
Valentine's day soon came and for my happiness, Rhett called me today and asked me out.
We went to the park and during our walk, I noticed that there were people skating on the lake. I remembered about some skating book that Rhett read the other time, so I decided to ask him.
"Let's go skating on the lake!"
"Oh? I didn't know you skated, Beret."
"Well, I dabble. There's not much to it, right?"
"Hmm… If you say so. But I suppose I wouldn't mind, I has been a while."
As expected, he was really good. I on the contrary, wasn't good at all. I kept falling down and was unable to stand up.
"Are you okay?"
"Ugh, yeah, I'm fine… just having a little trouble with my footing. I don't remember ice skating being this hard!
"*Sigh* I'm beginning to regret agreeing to skate with you, Beret – I hadn't realized you were so – ungainly"
"H-hey, I'm just a little out of practice, that's all! But if you think you're such a hot stuff… care to show me the ropes~?"
"*Sigh* If it'll keep you from crashing into me every opportunity. Put your hands here"
"…? On your shoulders?"
"*Sigh* Your posture is all wrong – I recommend you hold on, unless you want to end up flat on ice again. Assuming you can reach that is."
"I'm not that short, you know!" I did reach his neck and everything! Though the pose I was in was really an awkward one. He was so close! I could even hear his breathing! C-Concentrate, Fuuyumi! "So, uh, what's next?"
"Hold on, I'm trying to remember. I suppose it might help if your feet were a little further apart for balance – move you right foot over here slightly."
"Okay… How come you know so much about this stuff anyway, Rhett? I do know that you read the book and all, but you don't strike me as the skating type."
"Yes, well. I used to skate quite often as a child. Competition and all that."
"Wow, really? Did you ever win anything? Because you know, I want to make sure I don't have some hack teaching me wrong moves!"
"Hmph. Well, I won't claim to have been anything spectacular, but yes, I did win a few medals. I wouldn't look too much into it, though – I gave up at least six years ago."
"Huh… how come? I mean, it seems like you still enjoy it…"
"Hmmm… it is a fairly costly hobby, after all. You can only outgrow your skates so many times before the whole thing becomes prohibitively expensive. You might consider taking it up, Beret. You don't seem to have done much growing since the age of twelve."
"Oi, don't make me turn those skates around!"
"Hmph~" he chuckled "Well, shall we continue? Or do you want to have any more probing questions about my childhood?"
"Nah, I think I'm out. What now?"
"Well, try to keep your leg in that position and skate – slowly! – over there."
"Okay, so… hey! This is a lot better, actually – I don't feel anywhere near as wobbly!"
"Obviously. Now turn around, and come back here I doubt you're ready for anything more taxing yet."
"You know, these snide comments really aren't helping… Okay, so I keep my legs like this, and push off like this - "
"Ugh! What are you doing? Don't come barreling at me like - "
"AH!" I yelled
"Ungh!" Rhett gasped
"Ah! A-are you okay?"
"Honestly, what's the matter with you? You only had to skate in a straight like!"
"Hey, I was only doing what you told me to do! Maybe if you weren't such a crap teacher!" Ah, that must have been a bit too much of me…
"Well! ... Sorry. You aren't hurt, are you?"
"Yeah, I'm fine… you kind of cushioned my fall. ~ Thanks"
"Hmph. Well, glad I could be of service" he chuckled "You really are quite good you know…"
"Eh? Even after what just happened?"
"Well, that aside. Like I said, your posture could use some work… but you have quite natural talent, Fuuyumi."
I blushed "Um… well... thanks!"
"Hmph… Much as I enjoy lying here like this, would you please get off? I'm beginning to lose all feeling in my legs."
"*Sigh* I think that's enough for today, I wouldn't want you to seriously injure me"
"Uuuu. I guess I'll have to get some extra practice in…"
"Well, you know my number, if you need me, I suppose I'm not entirely averse to providing lessons if you need them… and you clearly do."
'Hmm… careful, Sugden – one might think that you actually enjoy being around me!'
"Thanks any way… And sorry for before, I was a bit too much…" I apologized honestly
"Hmm. Don't worry about it much. I didn't mind it. Let's go, I'll walk you home"
"Eh? You don't really have to - " I tried to say, but he has already went ahead of me.
We got on the train. When it came to my stop, I bit him goodbye, but he said that he would walk me all the way back to my house.
"Ah, you really didn't have to walk me all the way home. Isn't you house a few more stops on the train?
"Hmm? I wouldn't worry about it. At any rate, it's best you don't travel alone tonight of all nights – you never know who might be sulking about… Anyway… here"
"Huh? What's this? Ooh! Is this a Valentine's gift, by any chance? I wouldn't have thought you were into this sort of thing, Rhett!"
"Hmph. Well, it's nothing major. I wouldn't want you to go without, after all – I doubt anyone else went through the trouble"
"Oi! I'll have you know, I'm practically swimming in Valentine's chocolate, thank you very much!"
"Hmm? I suppose I'll have to take your word for it. Ah… have a good evening, Beret."
"Same to you!"
'Valentine's gift by moonlight? Sugden, you really are sly…'
I went back to my room and opened up the gift. I really was a pity, the wrapping paper was really pretty and so I tried to open it carefully to preserve the paper. When I opened up, there were little fruits made out of marzipan inside. I wondered why he chose this, but I liked it anyways. I would have to try not to eat them all at once!
After that day, Rhett and I went out to Ice skate every Sunday. Thanks to that, my ice skating skills had improved drastically.
"I think that was pretty good, right?" I said after having skated a few rounds
"I must admit it, Beret, I'm slightly impressed – that wasn't half bad. I daresay I have nothing else to teach you."
"Heh, well, thanks! ~"
"*Sigh*... I suppose my work here is done."
"Well, you know, I don't know if I'm quite ready to do it alone yet – there's always more to learn, right? I mean, if you're willing to teach me…"
"Hmm… I suppose your turns were a little off. I'm not completely averse to teaching you some more, if you're willing."
'Heh – I think Rhett is enjoying this skating thing more than he's letting on! Or maybe it's just that he wants to be with me? ... Yeah right…'
Soon enough, pancake day will come. Our class had become really busy preparing for it, because we decided to have a stall, but as long as it's fun, I wouldn't mind.
And so February 24th – Pancake day is here!
I was really busy making the pancake, because somehow, out of the whole class, I was the only one who could do it… Oh well…
After the whole day of making and selling pancakes, I realized that it was already passed lunch time. Thinking that Rhett, as usual, must had been too engrossed in his work and haven't eaten anything yet, I decided to make him a strawberry and lemon pancake. I really hoped that he would like it. For finishing touches, I wrapped it with a nice napkin and ran to the theatre.
When I came, the theatre was pretty deserted. 'Maybe he took a break and went off somewhere after all. I could leave this somewhere, but it won't be as good if it's cold…'
"Hmm? What are you doing here, Beret?" I turned around to see Rhett holding the script "Merle told me your class is running a stall – I'd have thought you'd be too busy for sightseeing."
"Well, I have been quite busy – but this isn't a social call! I just came down here to give you this, and then it's right back to the grindstone, I'm afraid."
"Hmm, no rest for the wicked, I see. Ah, what is this?"
"It's a pancake, obviously! What's with it being a Pancake Day and all. I figured you'd probably be so busy working yourself to the bone down here that you'd miss out on our wonderful stall, and we can't have that, so I've brought you a free sample!"
"And you, ah, you made this?"
"With my own two hands!"
"Hmm? Well, in that case, I'd best not. I value my health after all."
"Ho ho. You'd better at least have a taste – I put my soul into that."
"Well, since you went through all this trouble, I suppose I had better. Ah, thank you, Beret. Would you care to join me?"
"Ehh? Really? I wouldn't want to eat it all – there's not much there to begin with."
"You'd be doing me a favor – I still don't quite trust this, I'm afraid But if you're willing to try some, I suppose there's nothing to fear…"
'Well that was a bit dejecting, but oh well.'
"So? What do you think?"
"… I must say, I'm actually rather impressed, Beret. I had assumed I wouldn't like it…"
"Hmph, oh yeah of the little faith! Is it really that hard to believe that I might actually be a decent cook?"
"Hmm? That wasn't a jab at your cooking, Beret – I only meant that I assumed it would be sweeter, and I'm not generally a fan of that sort of thing. But it seems that you know my tastes quite well."
"Heh, well, I'm glad you like it! Keep this up, and I might just make more! ~"
'Just as I have guessed, he even likes his pancakes as healthy as possible…'
Wednesday – March 25th
I came to the drama club as usual, but couldn't see Rhett anywhere.
"Come to think of it, I haven't seen him in a while…"
"He's been ill for a few days, apparently – it's very unlike him, isn't it? I must admit, I'm a little worried." Lamb came to me
'It's not like Rhett to take a day off, even if he is ill! Maybe I should pay him a visit.'
On the train to Rhett's house~
"*Sigh* I can't believe I'm doing this… I've never been to his house before! And he probably isn't even that ill, and he'll look at me like I'm a complete idiot… I can see it now – 'Ugh, Beret, really? I'm perfectly capable of looking after myself, thank you!' or something like that… But I can't back out now… And it is a nice thing to do, right? And, well… he's been pretty nice to me lately, relatively speaking. And I am kind of worried."
And so… here I was… right in front of his door…
"Here goes nothing…" I pushed the bell but nothing came… I pushed it another time and finally after a while
"Ah, just a second *cough* *cough*"
"Ah, Beret, what are you doing here?"
"Oh! That… well…" 'He really does look sick, his face is red and his voice is bad…' "I thought, I mean, I heard that you were sick, so I thought I'd bring you some stuff. But everyone is worried about you, you should have said something…"
"Ugh, it's only a fever. *cough* *cough* *cough*! Uggg.. sorry. But, ah, I apologize, Beret – I didn't mean to leave you in the lurch like that. I had intended to come in today, but if I got anyone else sick… I…*cough* *cough*! You, ah… you probably shouldn't be here, Beret. We can't have Juliet falling ill…"
"Oh, un. I guess you're right, I hadn't really thought of that… But are you okay in there? You're on your own right?"
"I'm sure I'll be fine. Either way, I have… ah… script editing to do, so I need to be al-"
"Hey! You're never going to get better if you keep that up – you need to get some rest, and stop worrying about work!"
"I can help you out when you get back, if you want, but for now, just go to bed! And, um, take these! I bought them for you!" I gave him the package while turning away, hiding my blush from him.
"O-okay then... I'll be going now, get better soon."
"Thank you, Fuuyumi. I, ah, I appreciate it."
As soon as I turned away to go home, I heard the door click and then a *thud*. There was nothing here that could have made that kind of sound… Something was wrong here. I rushed back to the Rhett house's door, tried to open it and it did open. Inside, Rhett was lying unconsciously.
I touched is forehead and it was extremely hot. 'Don't tell me that his fever got worse because he chat with me for too long?'
I ran around to find his room and when I found it, I ran back to the entrance and dragged Rhett back into the futon. I rushed to the bathroom in search for a cold towel as I placed it on his forehead.
'Please, Rhett… Tell me that you're alright… I wonder if he has eaten yet…'
I went to the kitchen to see if there was anything I could use… As far as I could remember, as stated in most mangas, in this situation, congee would be the best. And so I decided to cook some congee for him. He needed to eat something before he could drink medicine after all.
Because I wasn't very used to the cooking wires in his house, things took a bit longer than I had expected. But at least it turned out good.
"You're still here, Beret?"
"Eep! Rhett! You're up!" I rushed towards him "How do you feel?"
"Better I guess…"
"Is that so…" I collapsed on my knees "I was so scared just now. I thought your condition got worse because you were talking to me for too long… *snif*"
"B-Beret! What are you talking about! There's no way it was because of that!" His voice was a bit flustered; I guessed he couldn't take girl's crying after all.
"If you say so…"
"So anyway, standup" he helped me up "So what were you doing in here anyway?"
"Oh, I wondered if you had eaten anything yet, if not then you won't be able to take you medicine. That's why I decided to cook you some congee. Come on, sit down. I'll get you some now."
I poured the porridge into a bowl and served it to him. It wasn't anything complicated, just porridge with some green onions for color. He looked at it for a while…
"What's wrong? Why aren't you eating it? Or is it that you can't eat onions?" I asked
"Nonsense. I'm just feeling a bit… uncool right now…"
"Heh~ The fever is really taking effect on you, isn't it? To think that Mr. Rhett Sugden can be this honest~" I teased
"*Sigh* Say whatever you want, I don't have the strength to argue with you today, Beret"
"Is that so? Then the more reason to eat up, drink that medicine and get better in order to be able to argue with me again!" I said cheerfully
He chuckled "Whatever you say, Beret."
After he finished eating, I made him drink the medicine. It is a rare occasion that he was actually this obedient! I just couldn't help it…
After he finally went to bed, I was finally free of worry and decided to go home. I wondered why I had to worry that much though… I wondered if I really l-liked him that way…
"I'll be going home now, Rhett. Don't even think about getting up and editing the script!"
"*Sigh*… I know already…"
"That's good! Nice dreams~"
"Yeah, thanks again, Fuuyumi."
I smiled and waved him goodbye. It was a good idea to have visited him after all.
And so the next day, Mr. Sugden returned with all his glory. Everyone was glad. I was glad as well.
Spring holidays at last!
During this time, I balanced my studies with relaxation, so not to get too stressed. It was holidays after all. But I couldn't just play all the time, because the final exams were coming up right after the holidays. And, of course, my holiday cannot be called holiday without dates with Rhett. We went out a lot and I was so not complaining~.
One day, I saw Rhett and Dys in the library together. They looked very stressed, so I decided to come over and ask what was going on.
"… And then, I suppose we could thank the teaching staff, about the good things most of them has done this year. I doubt we'll get away with leaving them out, at any rate." Rhett said
"Yeah, that sounds pretty good so far. Though it still seems pretty short. How long was it supposed to be? Ten minutes?"
"Give or take – I doubt anyone will be timing it. Though you're right, it could do with some padding out – I wonder if we ought to thank the cleaning staff too?"
"Hey, guys, I'm not interrupting, am I?" I finally interfered
"Oh, Fuuyumi! Perfect timing – you don't mind if we try out our speech on you, do you?"
"It's for Leavers' Ball – the Head boy and girl have to give this speech at the end of the year apparently, but it's hard to think up enough content to fill ten whole minutes… Not that anyone will be interested anyway! I's not like anyone's coming to hear us blathering on."
"I suppose it's more for the teachers' sakes, really. Still, it's rather pointless." Rhet said
"Ughh" Dys sighed "I just really don't want to have to get up on the stage in front of all this people! Just when I thought I' managed to get though school without any public speaking…"
"I'm sure you'll be fine, Dys. The listeners are your friends anyway!" I tried to cheer her up
"And teacher, and governors and probably even parents! I'm going to freeze, I know it! *Sigh* Don't you have any advice for me, Rhett? I mean, you have to go up on stage all the time…"
"Hmm? Do it enough and you tend to not notice the crown, really. But I'm sure you could pick up some books or something, little good though they'll do you."
"*Sigh* You're no help at all…"
'I never thought that Dys was a nervous type… I guess you learn new things everyday…'
And so the holidays were up, my a-level exam started this week. Well, I was all prepared for it anyway!
First up, English Literature…
… piece of cake!
Next up, French…
… piece of cake!
And next we have… Art!
… piece of cake!
And finally… General studies
… piece of cake!
"I don't want to jinx it, but I'm pretty sure I just aced all those!~"
And so it was finally here. The school play would be next week and the drama club was now finishing up our preparations.
I was in charge of fixing my own Juliet dress and now, I was finishing it up. "Well, I guess I'd better try it out now." I went into the changing corner and changed into it and it fitted me perfectly. It was a red and black dress without sleeves. I looked into the mirror and spin around a bit, it would seem that there was no problem with the dress. And my long black hair went well with the dress. I don't think I even need any make ups, I think it was already perfect this way, but a little bit of those wouldn't hurt~.
"Agh!" Rhett fell into the changing room
"Sorry, Rhett! I didn't mean to!" a boy apologized "He shoved me first!"
"Alright, alrig - " his voice was cut off because of the surprise
"Rhett?" I turned around
"B-Beret? Is that you?" He asked in genuine shock from seeing me in the Juliet's dress, I assumed
"O-of course! Who else?"
"What's wrong Rhett?" the boy earlier also went into the changing room "W-Woa…" he shuttered
"What's that, what's that?" somehow everyone began barging into the changing room, making me speechless and flustered
"G-GET OUT!" I shouted
"Sorry, we didn't mean to barge on you like that, Fuuyumi" the drama club members apologized
"It's alright… I guess I reacted too much…"
"But you look really beautiful in that dress, Fuuyumi. It's like it was made for you!" one girl commented
"Yeah, totally" another guy agreed
"Thank you very much!" I said happily. I looked at Rhett, but he just turned away. What was that about? But in the end, I didn't have the chance to ask him about it…
Wednesday, May 13th
And so… after months of hard work, we were finally going to perform… "Oh, God! I don't feel so good with all these people looking at me…"
"Hey, did you hear? Romeo's gone and got himself stranded somewhere! What a day to choose!" someone said
"Well, that's what happens when you pick an idiot for the main role. Have you seen Juliet? Romeo should have blatantly been me!" another guy added
"Um, what happened to Romeo now?"
"Ugh – of all the days to go driving halfway across the country! I'd never have given him the role in I'd known that he was a complete and utter imbecile! Did it not occur to him to allow for the eight hour drive back here?" Rhett seemed very angry…no not just seemed… he was really angry…
"W-well, um, at least he got an understudy, right? There's no need to panic!"
"Of course, he failed to mention at the time that said understudy was his stepbrother – and, it appears, idiotic enough to follow him on this ridiculous cross-country jaunt. Ugh – it's my own fault, really, for picking such a pair of fools in the first place! I mean, what are the chances!"
"Wow. There… there isn't much I can say to that. I can't believe it…"
"Ah, I apologize, Fuuyumi. I know how much work you've put into preparing for the role…"
"Well… uh you know…"
"Well, I kind of think everyone's thinking it at this point, but, un… couldn't you be Romeo?"
"Wait, what?" he seemed surprised at my suggestion "Well, I don't think that would… I mean, I haven't rehearsed at all…"
"But you know all the lines right? I mean you edited the script, you were there for all the rehearsals and you did help me practice lines. I'm sure you'd make a great Romeo!"
"Oh my god, if you were Romeo, I think I'd just die!" a girl exclaimed
"This is the best day of my life, oh god" another one nearly had a nosebleed
"Will you two please calm down! Ugh… I suppose if it's that or shutting down the play entirely…"
'Umm… So… playing Juliet alongside with Rhett… I don't know if I should he sad or happy… Though I did suggest it… But thinking about that scene just makes me a bit…'
The play went quite well, no mistakes so far… And now, we were finally at that scene…
"If I profane with my unworthiest hand this holy shrine, the gentle fine is this: My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand, to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss" said Romeo
"Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much, which mannerly devotion shows this: For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch, and palm to palm is holly palmers' kiss" was what Juliet answered
"Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?"
Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in pray'r" 'Good, I almost forgot the words… If I did it would be all your fault, Rhett!'
"O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hand do! They pray; grant thou, lest faith turn to despair."
"Saints do no move, though grant for prayers' sake."
"Then move not while my prayer's effect I take. Thus from my lips, by thine my sin is purgd" and with that Rhett, no, Romeo pulled me into a kiss
"Ah… then have my lips the sin that they have took."
"Sin from my lips? O trespass sweetly urdg! Give me my sin again." And with that we kissed again… I don't know why, but I felt really happy… It would seem that I loved him after all… Rhett…
"Ughh, I can't believe it's over! I think I'm going to be sick…"
"Why the long ace, Beret? That was amazing performance on you part. Several members of the audience have been asking after you, in fact."
"I-is that so?" I couldn't bring myself to look at him "You were pretty amazing yourself…"
"I suppose I was lucky to get that time with you on stage… short it was"
"Ah, nothing. You'd best go greet your fans, Fuuyumi – I'd say you've earned it."
And so Friday came. It was our graduation day now.
"It's only been a year, but I kind of feel like it's been forever! I guess there's no use moping about it now. I'd best go clean up all the things I left in the theatre. Rhett will kill me if I left it in that state"
I rushed to the theatre. Looking at things suddenly made me feel so nostalgic. I wondered if I should take something home as a souvenir…
"What are you doing sulking around back there, Beret?"
"Aaagh! I mean, I wasn't stealing anything – my hands are clean, you can't prove anything!" I turned around and saw that Rhett's shirt was covered in signatures.
"Heh, you'll be lucky to find anything of any worth in here, Beret – I'm afraid the others already cleaned the place out. But you're welcome to try, by all means."
"Huh… you know someone's gone and drawn all over you, right? I just thought I'd mention it."
"Ah, this? I forgot I was even wearing it, to be honest. People have been signing shirts all day, apparently – I can't say I see the point myself, but it appears to be a tradition, so… What are you doing with that pen?"
"Well, I missed all the fun, but there's no way I'm gonna miss you leaving my mark on you! You don't mind it across the chest, do you?"
"I think you'll find I do!"
"Ah, don't be a spoilsport!"
"Hmph.. I suppose I don't entirely mind – provided you let me do the same to you, of course."
"Sign me across the chest? I don't know, that sounds a little indecent~."
"Oh ho, such wit. Get over with then, will you" he chuckled
"Okay… gimme a sec… Aaand…. Done! And look, I even drew you a little good luck charm and everything!"
"Glad to see you're putting those art skills to good use, Beret. Turn around, will you?"
"What are you going to write? It's not fair if I can't see it! I won't be able to stop you from writing any old crap!"
"I assure you, it will be the best thing anyone has ever scribbled on the back of your neck. Now hold still!" he brushed my hair aside and started writing
"Fine, fine. But it had better be poetic!"
"*Sigh* I'll try my best." After a few seconds of silence "There, all finished"
"Is it? I'll have to find a mirror or something so I can actually see it."
"There's always a changing room over that corner. At any rate, I'll have to get off – I suppose I'll see you later, Beret."
"Oh? You're leaving? I mean, I don't know when we'll be able to see each other again, now that term's ending."
"Hmmm… I'm sure we'll see each other again in near future. I wouldn't worry too much."
"Ah, I guess…"
"See you later, Fuuyumi"
'Hmm… I hope he's right… If not… I think I'll miss him a lot… I wonder what he wrote anyway…'
I walked to the changing room to read the note that he wrote
"Until next we meet, Juliet." – Rhett
'oh, Rhett… you're a sentimental thing, all right! ~'
And so, The night of the ball is here. I decided to wear a short one-piece black dress, which gave an elegant look. I couldn't wear a beret with this one, but oh well. I mean, I should at least lay off the beret for today…
And so the ball starts with Rhett and Dys giving us their speech
"… And so, while we may leave Northmain College with heavy hearts, we hope that we and our classmates will be able to look back on the time we spent here with pride" Rhett spoke "It is through the diligence of the teaching staff that we have been able to achieve so much and we will always be thankful for the opportunities we have been given, no matter where they might lead us."
"And with that, we'd like to thank our friends and teacher for making this last year so special – and declare this Leavers' Ball officially begins!" Dys said in a confident tone. I guessed all the practice with us helped her overcome fear after all.
After a bit chatting with my friends, I ran towards Rhett "Hey, Rhett! You guy's speech was really good today! I was moved!"
"Ah, yeah, we did have some changes in the end. I thought it was a little over the top. But, ah, thank you." He looked at me "Ah… That dress, it, ah… it suits you, Fuuyumi."
"Huh, really? This old thing? ~"
"Hmph, if you're fishing for compliments, that's all you're going to get from me, I'm afraid."
"Ah, well. It was worth a shot, eh!"
'Well, at least he is shocked. I'm glad he likes my fashion sense!'
"Ah, anyway, Fuuyumi, I won't keep you – I'm sure you have other people to see. But I'll see you later, perhaps?"
"Yeah, sure! I'll be around!"
And so the might went on. Just as I sat down to rest a bit a girl crashed into me., spilling her wine on my dress "Wooops! Mind out there, love – I'm trying to have a dance here, know what I mean?"
"Wh-wh-wha…." Was all I could gasp out "Please, tell me that's not wine you've just spilled all down my dress!"
"Are you calling me a filthy drunk, eh? Eh? I resent that – It's no crime to have a drink every now and then! But in the spirit of the season, or whatever, I guess I'll forgive you~! Just look where you're going next time, alright love?"
"Are you alright, Beret?"
"Ugh, mu dress is completely ruined…. I'm going to look like an idiot wandering about in this thing…."
"Hmm…. Come with me."
"I doubt it will be any less noticeable, but…. I might have something you could wear."
'I've got to admit, I'm kind of intrigued!'
He led me to the theatre.
"Hmmm" he looked for a while "Ah, I thought it might still be here. When you blow half of your budget on a single costume, you tend not to want to part with it so quickly, I suppose… Here."
"Huh? But this is…. Juliet's dress? If you think people are going to stare at me with a wine stain down my chest, how do you think they're going to react when I waltz out there in a full ball gown?"
"Hmph. Ever heard of the expression 'don't look a gift horse in the mouth'. Beret? I'm afraid O don't have any other dresses hidden away in here."
"But, you know… won't it get me in trouble? I mean, it's not exactly yours to give away…"
"Hmm… I doubt they'll begrudge their star performer one more night in costume, Beret. I'm sure they won't mind, just this once."
"Star performer, eh? I guess it would be kind of nice wearing it one last time. I'm going to change now, don't peek!"
"What kind of man do you take me for exactly, Fuuyumi?"
"How should I know? Especially after that incident, where you barged into my changing room, just some time ago."
"Th-that was an accident!" He blushed
"I know ~!"
"I'm finished! I do feel a bit overdressed now though, to tell the truths…" 'Well, it wasn't my fault that the dress tempted me to put on some make up. I just really couldn't help it…' I got out of the changing room "What do you think?"
"Ah…" Rhett seemed a bit flustered. "You… You look amazing…"
"Ah, I mean… The other time… I wanted to tell you this the other time… but somehow I got the timing a little bit off, so… You look very beautiful, Fuuyumi." Rhett's face look read, his hand was on the back of his head, trying to help him calm down.
"Ah! Thank you…" I also blushed. I wasn't used to this kind of honest Rhett yet.
"But this certainly brings back memories. I didn't think that I'd be back in here with you so soon."
"Heh, I know! It almost feel as if we should be rehearsing or something!"
"Oh, well then…" Rhett offered me his hand
"If I profane with my unworthiest hand this holy shrine, the gentle fine is this: My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand, to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss" said Rhett
"Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much, which mannerly devotion shows this: For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch, and palm to palm is holly palmers' kiss" I followed him
"…" Rhett paused for a few seconds. I thought that he had forgotten his lines, when he suddenly said "I think I might be in love with you…"
"Eh? That isn't you line. Isn't it something about palming lips, or…?" to think that the almighty Rhett actually forgot the lines!
"No… I mean I think that I might be in love with you. I'm sorry I just thought I ought to get that off my chest, as I don't know when I might see you again… and now I have, I suppose. I, ah… I should be leaving. I apologize for ruining the moment…" He turned away
"W-wait." I grabbed the hem of his vest "I, um, I think maybe I'm in love with you too!" I said in a hurry
"Eh? Why?" He blushed madly
"What kind of response is that?"
"Uh, I mean, you really feel the same way? If you're trying to spare me any further embarrassment…"
"I-I really do!"
"Well, you could have told me sooner… I'd been worried about this for month!" he said in a small voice
"I'm sorry. I don't know how you came to love someone like me…" he smiled "But I'm certainly not going to talk you out of it. Thank you…"
And with that he pulled me into a kiss.
"I love you, Fuuyumi."
"I love you too, Rhett."
And so, my first and final year at Northmain College came to an end. I'd say it was a wonderful year overall! My A-level results were pretty amazing and the top-tier university I applied to was happy to have me.
Rhett and I are still going strong – he even calls me by my name at least 50% of the time, though I've got to admit, I kind of missed being a Beret a little! I guess you never know what you had got till it was gone.
He got into Oxford, surprising nobody, but we see each other most weeks and I'm pretty much a permanent fixture in his dorm. Luckily, I can match wits with the best of them! I may be going to a rival university, but most of the time, I think he's pretty proud to have me there, much as he'd hate to admit it!
All in all, my time at Northmain College isn't what the future holds… it's a little exciting just thinking about it
That's the end of it.
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