Hello all, umm… Wow it's been a long time hasn't it? sorry…. However, now that it is summer I'll be able to write more, but I won't make any false promises though. To those of you who have favorited and/or reviewed, you have my upmost gratitude; now on with the story!
The New Assistant
Part 4: Home
I was staring in shock at the floor, my mouth agape, Lydia-san was frozen, her mind had stopped.
'Why, why, how did our blood change, it should be yours… Lydia-san…?'
'!' Was all she could manage.
"Do you remember anything else Tsukino-san?" asked the doctor
"I uh… not really, Just some random pop culture."
"Hmm okay, thanks for coming in today if you remember anything else call this number." He said handing me a business card.
"Okay, thank you." I turned and left as quickly as I could, as if he would call me back and say he was joking.
When we got back to the apartment some of the shock had worn off, I was taking out the key when suddenly the door to my left opened and out stepped a girl, she had brown hair, shoulder length and strait, she was about 20 centimeters shorter than me and she was wearing a green half sweatshirt with a pink shirt underneath and a light purple skirt that reached to just above her knees, she noticed me
"Oh, uh hi?" her eyes were a pleasant cinnamon color.
"Hi, I'm new here so that might be why you don't recognize me."
"Oh, good, knowing me I probably wouldn't have noticed that I had a neighbor until you had been living here for like a year." She said rubbing the back of her head with one hand guiltily.
"It's fine, as for introductions I'm Alexandria Tsukino, feel free to call me Andrea."
"Mai Taniyama, you can call me Mai, everybody does." she said with an undertone of annoyance
"Nice to meet you."
"Um... do you have parents? I mean these apartments are a little small..."
"Uh, I don't know, more accurately I don't remember." Shock crossed her face
"You have amnesia!"
"Well I know my name, about how old I am, the Japanese language obviously and some random pop culture, but not much else…"
"Hmm, well I hope you remember soon." The sincerity in her voice surprised me, she had just met me and yet, she cared so much.
"Yeah, me too…" a pause "Hey I sort of want to finish high school… do know of any schools were the tuition is really small… or free?" I asked, it was a sort of spur of the moment thing, and I realized I did want to finish school; Lexie would have wanted it.
"Well… my school lets me go free and they let me take off for work, but I'm not sure if it's just me or not."
"Oh, what's your school?"
"Sakuranbo High School; it's in the Hiroo district." I felt a pang of surprise from Lydia-san
'That's my school, that's why she seems familiar!' she shouted in my mind. I was tempted to raise my eyebrows, but resisted, it didn't belong in the conversation. Submitting the name to memory I said,
"No problem!" She smiled, it lit up her face and warmed her eyes, just looking at it reminded me of Alexis, her smile was exactly like that. My mood darkened almost visibly, I saw Mai-san's concern and felt Lydia-san's.
'" Are you okay?"' Lydia-san and Mai-san asked at the same time.
"Yeah." I said feigning a smile; I knew that neither of them believed me, but they didn't say anything more
"See you later Andrea-san." Mai-san smiled again and waved, once again the smile was like Lexie's.
'And Lydia-san's' I thought to myself. In the four days we had been together, we had pretty much figured out how to communicate telepathically, when we thought we could choose to send it to the other or not.
"Yeah, see ya'" I said doing a mock salute, I then turned and opened the door to our apartment; I closed the door behind me and locked it. I put the key in my pocket. I then leaned my back against the door and sank down. A wave of pure exhaustion had passed over me, after a few minutes of fazing in and out of consciousness, I passed out.
Once again my dreamscape was black, with white spirits floating aimlessly around; I stood up and brushed myself off.
'I wonder where Lydia-san is, she usually shows up around now.' I thought/said. I looked around looking for any sign of her; there was none. I sighed.
'Great she's not here.' I said, I don't know why it didn't occur to me to call out but that's dream logic for ya' I guess… I walked in the darkness; hands in my pockets, taking a peaceful solace in it, my worries were nonexistent there.
'Andrea-san where are you!' a voice called out to me emanating from somewhere behind me, I turned around I saw a white glow getting closer as time passed at a dreamlike pace.
The glow turned out to be Lydia-san, she was breathing rather evenly for running so far (or so my dream self thought).
"There you are, geez don't go running of like that please!" she said pointing a finger at me accusingly.
"Fine, fine I won't… maybe." I said playfully, grabbing my wrist with my other hand behind my back and turning around.
"Oi!" she said loudly, I smirked slightly.
At that moment my buried memories decided to materialize around us, their first destination; my family's home, the mansion from the outside was large to say the very least. My father was a rich Canadian business-man that fell in love with my mother when she took a trip to Canada to see the northern lights, and one 70's style love story later they got married and had my Onii-san Dylan, then me and Lexie two and a half years later.
We were standing in the courtyard, Greek style fountain heads spiting water sluggishly into fountains that had a little algae growing on the bottom were strewn around in a sort of diamond pattern.
"Whoa, nice place." Said Lydia-san looking around
"Yeah, thanks." I said trying to keep a sarcastic tone out of my voice. She stopped looking around and focused a rather knowing gaze at me,
"I see, this is where the thing you can't think about happened." she said knowingly. Her eyes glazed over; she was thinking. After a timeless moment she returned to herself and sighed blinking slowly, she grabbed my left wrist. It was then I realized I was me again, in our shared dreams we had our rightful appearances, that being so she towered over me in height. She dragged me closer to the doors of my mansion. I DID NOT want to go in there; I had made a great effort to get away. I knew it was just a dream but even so I struggled in vain against Lydia-san's vice like grip.
"Andrea-san we're going in there, we have to get past this and I have to know what happened!" Lydia-san yelled at me pulling harder still. I stopped in my struggles, she was right.
We reached the grand double doors, there were apple and vine engravings covering the surface. She released my wrist and looked expectantly at me, I realized she wanted me to let her in; it was my former home after all. I put my hand on the door knob to the right one and with movie like dramatic-ness; I pulled open the door, a blinding white light streamed out penetrating the still dark surroundings. I shut the door, the light was painful.
"I guess the time for you to know is not now." I said.
"Yeah… sure…" she said narrowing her eyebrows and almost glaring at the door.
The dream decided to end itself there, everything faded to black me and Lydia-san looked at each other. Underneath the emerald color of her eyes was the fear and pain of what she had lived, died then lived again through; haunted, I knew mine also held a haunted look.
When I woke up I was in my entryway still, my injuries ached from being in a contorted position for so long. Using the floor for support I gingerly stood up.
"Ow…" I groaned. I glanced at the watch on my right wrist, I had purchased it on Saturday, it said 21:16. "Great I've been out for four hours…" I muttered to myself. I was still tired beyond belief and I was on the verge of passing out again, I stumbled to my mattress and without even bothering to take my shoes off I fell asleep.
The sun woke me up the next morning, it searching rays reaching my eyelids; I raised my arm and took a look at the watch, 6:30A.M
"Uh…" I groaned stretching my arms above my head, cracking my elbows and wrists. I put one of my hands on my forehead, I had a killer headache, and my various injuries hurt worse than usual, most predominantly my slashed hand. The pain in it suddenly spiked, I shot up into a sitting position and clutched at it with my other hand, I bit my lip to keep from making any noise. I rocked back and forth as it burned
'Andrea-san?' I was in too much pain to answer even in my thoughts 'Andrea! Are you okay!' I shook my head vigorously, by doing so I let go of my now bleeding lip, I let out a strangled scream. After a few more agonizing moments the pain finally let up. I released my hand, by griping it so hard the blood circulation had been cut off. Blood (now rushing back to my hand to give it oxygen) was staining the bandage red, the cut had reopened.
"Shit." I muttered to my self
'Andrea-san are you okay?'
"I think so… Lydia-san?"
"Just call me Andrea, please."
'…okay. Andrea you should go to the hospital, it's probably not good that that cut reopened…'
"Its fine, and besides I have stuff I have to get done today."
'Andrea…' Lydia-san was generally concerned.
"It's fine… I'm fine." She was not convinced.
Half an hour later…
I got on a bus headed for the Hiroo district; the bus was rather empty for a Monday morning. Fifteen minutes later I got off and consulted Lydia-san where the school was, she said it wasn't far. As I was walking I saw a girl in a high school uniform; it had a white-brown jacket with a black skirt, leggings, and collar. The collar was trimmed with white it also had a large red bow tie in the front. She looked behind her to inspect something, it was Mai-san!
"Mai-san, good morning!" I yelled across the street, she jumped then looked, almost frantically around until she spotted me and waved, I ran across the street and caught up with her.
"Morning. Andrea-san, what you doing here?"
"I'm here to apply for your school actually."
"Oh, right you wanted to do that!"
"Yeah I thought about it, did some research and it turns out that your school is the only one that offers help to those not well off in the area so it seemed like the best option, and I already know you so, I got a start with the social aspect."
'Liar' said Lydia-san playfully
'I know.' I thought back.
"So, did you miraculously remember anything over night?"
"Um, no not really…" I don't know why but at that moment I suddenly felt extremely guilty for lying to her, she really was concerned. She seemed to pick up on it because then she said,
"Oh, I'm sorry I asked…" as she said this though I sensed an undercurrent in her energy, it was of sadness.
"It's fine… are you okay?" her eyes widened slightly, she wasn't expecting my perceptiveness
"Uh, yeah I'm fine."
"Okay… you know Mai-san you can talk to me if you need to, I mean I know we just met and stuff but I'll be willing to listen…" she smiled at me then bowed her head slightly
"Thank you, but I'm fine."
Sometimes, I wanted all people on earth to just disappear, one of the reasons is people are always lying even if they don't mean to, just like Mai-san, something had happened in her past to cause the constant undertone of sadness that surrounded her, but the fact that people lie about their feelings is also one of the reasons I cherish others, she was lying because she didn't want to worry me, and besides, I had done the same thing to her and Lydia-san yesterday, so maybe I was just being hypocritical.
'Me too… Andrea try and get her to tell us what happened in her past, I have a feeling she could help us heal, and we could help her too.' Said Lydia-san, she had sensed the drift of my thoughts.
'Yeah but I think gaining her trust is not going to be an easy task.'
As we were talking I had forgotten about Mai-san, she was looking at me curiously, the sad aura around her had lessened to the point that it was barely discernible from the kind everyday life brings.
She noticed I had returned to myself.
"What were you thinking about?"
"I was trying to remember."
"No not really, just flashes and fuzzy faces."
"Oh." She scrunched her eyebrows together.
Our conversation was at standstill, but it didn't matter as a building with a sign sporting the words 'Sakuranbo Senior High School' was rapidly approaching. The building was large and had at least 5 floors, there was a large clock claiming it was 7:12 A.M. the entire front was covered in windows and from what I could see of the sides they were too. I glanced to my right, there was a giant field with a big patch of dirt in the center; maybe a building used to be there.
'They finally finished cleaning up huh… I guess it's too dangerous to build anything there now…' said Lydia-san
'What do you mean?'
'well, actually there used to be an old school building there, and they wanted to knock it down so they could build a new gym, but when they were trying to demolish it, seemingly unexplained accidents kept happening and rumors that it was haunted spread and demolition stopped, then the principal hired several psychic investigators to-' I cut her off
'yes' she was too engrossed in telling me what happened to be annoyed 'anyway they discovered that the building used to be a medical school or hospital for the war, so it was being haunted by spirits of that time. They exorcised them, then left. Then one day it collapsed without warning from ground subsidence, which was also a factor in the accidents.'
'Really?' I thought skeptically
'Yep, that's what I heard.'
'hmm, something seems off about that story…'
'Which part seems off?'
'Well I did some research on the area, because I was bored one summer break, and I'm pretty sure there was nothing about this area being bombed during the war…and something tells me that the story is being used to cover up something else, but I can't be sure… seems I've certainly got my hands full right Lydia-san?'
'Gaining Mai-san's trust and figuring out the truth… maybe I can ask Mai-san to help me...' 'No with things like these I work better alone.' I thought the last part to myself, one of the tricks in telepathic speech; you had to mentally send it to the person in order for them to hear you. As we walked through the gates a loud bell sounded.
"Damn I'm late again…" I heard Mai-san mutter to herself.
"Sorry… I'll find the principal's office on my own; you get to class Mai-san."
"What? No I'll take you there, besides he might excuse me for being late if help you."
"… I'm hurt Mai-chan, you only want to help me to avoid being late? You're cruel!" I teased lightly.
"What, no! I want to help you." I smirked at her reaction.
"Mai-san its fine I was kidding."
She led me through a series of hallways until we reached a door proclaiming itself as the main office.
"I'll go in with you."
"Okay… Mai-san, thank you."
"It's fine." She said dismissing it with a wave of her hand. A strange look passed over her face then "Andrea-san, do you have any siblings or any that you remember?"
"Not that I know of, why?"
"I can't shake the feeling that I've seen you before…"
'Shit!' Lydia-san exclaimed,
'This is Lydia-san's old school, so of course people would recognize her.' I thought to myself
"I'm pretty sure we've never met Mai-san, because if we had I would have remembered someone like you, I'm sure off it." Another wave of guilt passed over me; if I was trying to get her to trust me, shouldn't I trust her first? I should at least trust her enough to tell her what happened to me.
Mai-san blushed slightly; I could tell she was flattered by what I said.
"Thank you, that's kind of you Andrea-san."
"I mean it Mai-san."
"I know." Something about how she said that made me wonder if she really did know.
There was a desk secretary sitting boredly behind a giant plastic sheet covered counter, she was wearing a dark blue blouse and an over sized red pendent necklace. She looked up and noticed us.
"Oh hello, Mai Taniyama wasn't it?"
'Most secretaries I know don't care to memorize people's names…' I thought
'Or faces… I hope nobody recognizes me.' Thought Lydia-san worriedly
'Were you popular at all?'
'Um no, I wasn't, people thought I was crazy, and people avoided me because I broke the rules all the time. I heard people call me "that Goth bitch" more than once."
'Huh, doesn't match you Lydia-san, what did you do?'
'… … I didn't wear the uniform, it was too revealing, not to mention I hate skirts with a burning passion, and I have scars all over including on my legs and wrists.'
'…I'm sorry…' I didn't know why I apologized at the time, but it was that I subconsciously blamed myself for everything.
'You have nothing to be sorry for Andrea; you had nothing to do with me before this.'
"Yep hi, Yamamoto-san"
"What can I do for you girls?"
"I need to apply for an entrance exam for a second year student, please." I said bowing slightly out of habit.
"Okay, you will need to talk with the principal. What is your name?"
"Alexandria Tsukino, Is he available?" she jot down my name on a form that I assumed was the entrance application
"Yep after the morning announcements are done… Taniyama-san you know you are late to homeroom right?"
"Yes, I know, I'm helping Andrea-san get into this school." Yamamoto-san filled out more information on the form then handed it to me.
"Okay fill this out then talk to the principal."
"Yes ma'am" I sat down in a chair next to the door, I filled out the application with as much truth as I could muster. But I would have to remember what I wrote if I didn't want to be found out.
About five minutes later a bell tone sounded and the voice of a middle-aged man was heard throughout the school. I zoned him out, staring at a very interesting piece of paper that had fallen on the floor; it was crumpled slightly and was very white (it contrasted with the machine gray carpet). I imagined kicking it through the open door into the garbage can under the announcement board. (Test scores were up already). The announcement ended about a minute after it started.
"Neh, Mai-san what you get on your exams?"
"Eh? Um I wasn't here to take them; I was working for that week." I was going to ask her what her job was when Yamamoto-san called over to us.
"Taniyama-san, Tsukino-san, the principal will see you now."
"Arigatou gozaimasu." I said nodding my head in respect.
We walked into the principal's office; it reminded me of Naru-chan's, big desk, papers, laptop, and a high backed leather chair. The only thing that wasn't like Naru-chan's was the absence of Naru himself and countless books on paranormal research.
The principal was an elderly man with gray hair and dark brown eyes, there were wrinkles around his mouth and eyes, I hoped they were smile wrinkles.
"Ah, so I heard you want apply for this school?" he said to me
"Yes sir. That's correct."
"Hmm, you look familiar; did you have a sister that went here?"
"No, this is the first time I've ever stepped foot in this building." And it was true.
"Do you have your parent's permission to apply for yourself?"
"… I don't know who my parents are."
"Oh, well how about a grandparents or siblings?"
"No I have no one, or at least none that I remember; I live alone and provide for myself." I said as stoic as possible.
"You have amnesia?" he asked raising an eyebrow
"I will need to see medical records, and a doctor's note."
"I have the medical records and the results of my blood work with me" I said indicating the black shoulder bag I had brought; just in case. I pulled out a light brown file folder (I had stolen it from Naru-chan) labeled "medical records" written in black sharpie (I had stolen that too) and handed it to him.
"Thank you." He scanned over it for a few seconds then set it on his desk.
"I will look over these in detail later, now Taniyama-san why are you here?"
Mai-san snapped out of her reverie when she heard her name.
"Oh, um I was going to help Tsukino-san but it seems she doesn't need it…" she said rather sheepishly.
"Head to class Taniyama-san I will call your teacher to excuse you."
"Thank you Nakagawa-kouchou!" said Mai-san happily, and with that she half skipped out of the room in happiness.
Nakagawa-kouchou chuckled then became very serious.
"Tsukino-san, why did you choose this school?"
"I need to finish high school and I'm at the beginnings of friendship with Taniyama-san."
"I see, well you have to take an entrance exam to see what grade you would be in."
"I know, I'm prepared."
"Can you do it tomorrow?"
"Um I'll have to ask my boss if I can get off early but I think so, what time?"
"Yep I'll be here."
"Shibuya-san can I ask you something?" I said when I walked into the office the next day. Hey looked up from his laptop.
"You just did." I felt a twinge of annoyance.
"May I take off early today? I have an entrance exam."
"... What time?"
"... Fine but the lost hours are out of your pay."
"Yes sir." I said nodding my head. "Thank you," I said earnestly, I took a couple of steps backwards then turned and rushed out of the office, making sure to grab my sweat shirt on the way out. I rushed to the train station in an attempt to do… something. I think I just wanted to run at the time, but I'm not sure.
'Geez what's the rush Andrea?' thought Lydia-san in semi happiness.
'I don't know I'm just excited for some reason….' I thought indeed I felt excited, the kind of anticipation that a young child might have at the prospect of getting candy. Then I realized, maybe it was because my injuries didn't hurt anymore, my heart might still have been a gaping hole, but just having Lydia-san inside made me feel light and happy. 'Lydia-san I think I'm happy, at least for now. I haven't felt this way for years, and you're to blame, so I thank you'
'You must been in a good mood, your happiness is infectious!' she exclaimed, I just smiled widely in glee.
Just then my cell phone rang;
Völlig losgelöst von der Erde
schwebt das raumschiff völlig schwerel-
"Andrea? Oh my god... Are you okay where are you?" it was my mom… I felt the phone slip through my fingers; it landed with a crack on the pavement. I fell to my knees. I picked up the phone with shaking fingers
".. I'm sorry miss you've got the wrong number please don't call me again.. ever." With that I pressed the "end" button; I let out a shaking breath.
The happiness I had felt was gone, like a small fire in winter. I could almost hear my mind breaking, my heart was an empty space that would never fill back in… I was breaking down, right there, right then. I felt another attack coming on. Until…
"Hey ojou-san you okay?" asked a baritone voice. I look up with clouded vision, a sandy haired man with a ponytail and a cowboy hat was looking at me with concern. He had a guitar case across his back. I felt confused for a few seconds I just couldn't put a coherant sentence together in my head, in any of the three languages that I knew.
"I uhh, I'm okay… I think… mabye not." I finally managed to say. I slapped my phone shut and stood up using my uninjured hand to assist. "Thank you for your concern Mister, but I think I'm okay; I'll be fine." He was also wearing sunglasses, so I coudn't see his eyes. But he looked rather sekptical. "Really." I assured. He just nodded
"Alright, take care of yourself ojou-san." He said then walked off, with his hands in his tan trench coat's pockets. I sighed then laughed breathlessly,
'I seem to a bit of a magnet for caring people.' I thought to myself. I smiled self mockingly then stared ahead at the tracks, waiting for my train.
I flipped up my phone. How could I be so stupid, of course my mother would try to contact me, I was technically a runaway. Would she try to trace my calls or my phone? The only way that I knew of to stop that was to take the battery out, but I needed my phone to work… mabye I could change my number. Yet no, that wouldn't work I'd need identification… as I mulled over the subject in my head my train pulled up. The doors opened people of various shapes and sizes filled out. I got on and sat in a seat close to the door. I checked my watch, it had stopped again.
"Damn…" I muttered. I flicked it in annoyance then checked the time on my phone; 11:20.
'You alright now?' Lydia-san's concerned voice brought me out of my reverie.
'No.' was my one word answer. I didn't want to go back to the spiral. And start plummeting again, to lose it now would be… bad.
My phone rang again,
I let my arm drop, the vibration hurting my cut all the while.
Half an hour passed, the doors opened, I walked, I reached my destination.
"Ah, good afternoon Tsukino-san, you ready for the exam?" said Yamamoto-san with genuine sounding happiness. I nodded slowly, once then went to lean on a wall.
"Tsukino-san, this way please" said the principal gesturing in the way of his office.
I followed him in and sat down. He handed me a packet of paper then said "take as long as you like. But can I have all of your personal electronics?" I nodded, took out my cell phone, turned it off and handed it to him. "Thank you." I took a pen from the conveniently placed can of writing utensils. I clicked it with my thumb and started to write in my name. I heard the door shut, softly. I put my pen down and sighed.
'I'd be a second year but I know that I could test into third… Lydia-san do you think I should stay in the grade that I'm actually in or test into the grade above me?'
It's your decision Andrea.'
'Gee you're helpful…'
"I'll stay in second… I guess." I said after a while. I picked my pen back up again and proceed to fill out the rest of the test.
"Phew… that's done!" I said stretching my arms back above my head. After four hours I finished my test, I intentionally missed some questions to get myself into second year. I stood up and stretched more fully. I put the pen back into the holder, grabbed my test and opened the door. School was long over but those who were in clubs were still straggling around. I spotted Yamamoto-san behind the desk clacking away at the computer "Yamamoto-san, I finished my test…"
"Ah Tsukino-san, that was fast… did you cheat?"
"no." I said stoically, fully aware that she was teasing.
"…Okay then, give it to me. I'll have somebody correct it later. Here's your cell back." She said holding out my black texting phone. I took it with both hands.
"No trouble. What's your number? We'll call you with the results." I gave her my number and left.
It was too late to go back to work so I went 'home'.
*Two Weeks Later*
"Tsukino-san, we have a case that requires you, come in tomorrow at eight o' clock." That was Shibuya-san's brief message.
I'd be fully enrolled in school for a week, Mai-san was in my class; we were becoming swift friends despite what we were holding secret in our hearts.
'Huh that Naru-chan, seems we get to see a real ghost buster in action right Andrea?'
'Yeah, it must be a pretty big case though, because he must have connections with people mediums and such, so why does he need me?'
'Well… Andrea you did injure his assistant, you're his temporary replacement'
'Oh yeah… but he's out of the hospital already.' She dismissed this piece of information obnoxiously, if she would have been actually in front of me, she would have flipped her hair. She laughed at her mocking display. I half grinned and continued into the school building.
"Andrea-san!" yelled Mai-san catching up with me as I took off my shoes in the entryway
"Morning… um Andrea-san, I'm not going to be here tomorrow. So when I'm not here don't freak out, or anything. Not that you'd freak or anything in fact I think you're the calmest person I've ever met" she said in a rush, she had a cute tendency to babble when she was nervous.
"Its fine, in fact I'm not going to be here either." I said sheepishly
"Hah, then I spent the night worrying for nothing." And with that Mai-san's other friends; namely Michiru-san, and Keiko-san, whisked her away to talk about boys, of which I had no interest in. I laughed, as if at an inside joke.
"Good Tsukino-san you're here on time." Said Shibuya-san when I walked into the office at eight the next day.
"Well… yes sir you told me to come at eight…" I looked around Naru-chan and saw Lin-san mulling over some papers. I felt guilt from injuring him as I spotted his crutches. I walked over to him "Lin-san…" I said to get his attention, he grunted to tell me he was listening. "I I'm sorry for injuring you, it was my fault if you are angry at me feel free to yell or hit me or something just know that I'm so very sorry!" I said louder than necessary, while bowing over and over again.
"… It's okay Tsukino-san…" was all he said. I smiled
"Thank you." He grunted again then continued to read. I sat in one of the leather chairs and waited for about five minutes.
"Naru! I know I'm late so don't say anything!" yelled a panting girl who had just ran in.
"Mai-san!" I asked surprised
"Andrea-san! What are you doing here?"
"Err… I work here?"
"I see you two know each other." Said Shibuya-san, we both nodded then continued to be in shock.
"So this is where you work Mai-san, and after all that complaining about a certain someone." I said in wonder
"S-shut up!" I smiled
"Shibuya-san when are we to leave?"
"Now would be nice, if you two are done being stupid." Mai-san seethed slightly and I narrowed my eyes.
"…*snirk*…" very quietly could be heard from Lin-san, I was probably the only one who heard it.
A few minutes of packing up the trademark black SPR van later we were on our way weaving through the streets of Tokyo.
"Mai-san do you know anything about this case or has Shibuya-san kept you in the dark too."
"Eh? Actually no, he hasn't told me anything as usual, but on Thursday a woman came in and requested to see Naru, when she left Naru told me to call the others to be at our destination at ten…"
"'Naru' huh, looks like I'm not the only one who calls him that…" I said.
"Yeah it matches him well, I suppose."
"So, where are we going?"
"A place called the Lynn manor, I've never heard of it but apparently, it belongs to a rich family from Canada, the wife, who was the woman who came in two days ago, is Japanese and requested from her husband to live and work here in Shibuya." I tried to keep my emotions from showing on my face.
"Ah… I've heard of it… um don't they have kids?"
"Oh yeah, I think the article said that they had a nineteen year old named... Something American that starts with a "d" um… Drake? No Dylan. That was it Dylan, and two sixteen year old twin daughters, Alexzandria and Alexis. I think their names were. But… I read an article in the paper that said their home was broken into, and that that the older one Alexis-san was shot twice and the guy who broke in was also shot, and I think it said that the gun and something like a knife was missing from the scene, apparently their main suspect was the other twin, who suffered from a delusional disorder. Most of her personal belongs are missing and a note written in her hand writing was found."
'They think I did it! I didn't do it danmit I didn't and how the hell did they find out about my supposed delusional disorder!' I ranted in my head angrily
'Andrea! Calm down it's just the media! They blow everything out of proportion!" yelled Lydia-san to stop my ranting. I held my breath and used a meditation technique to calm myself down.
"Sorry." I said too low to be heard.
"What was that?" asked Mai-san, I shook my head and looked out the window of the van.
It was around ten when we got there; Mai-san quickly got out and rushed into the awaiting arms of a man in a cowboy hat in fact, same man in fact that had stopped my attack t the train station a couple of weeks ago. I chuckled to myself.
'It's a small world… neh Lydia-kun?'
'Sometimes, it sure seems like it.'
I stepped out of the truck; cowboy-hat-man took notice of me.
"Ah! You're that ojou-san I met at the station, what are you doing here!" he asked loudly. I opened my mouth to answer but Mai-san beat me to it.
"It turns out Naru hired her after Lin-san broke his leg again. And get this; we're neighbors and we go to the same school in the same class!"
''Again?'' both me and Lydia-san asked at the same time.
"Really?" he looked at me "The names Houshou Takigawa, more commonly called Bou-san, nice to meet you."
"Likewise, Takigawa-san, Alexandria Tsukino, call me Andrea if you want less trouble." I said, bowing out of habit.
"Geez, Andrea-san, you talk like a rich person!" said Mai-san, laughing slightly at my formality.
'She doesn't know the half of it….' I thought to myself.
"Neh, Bou-san where's Ayako?" asked Mai-san happily.
"Over there, yelling at Masako for something." He said pointing toward the main fountain of the courtyard. I couldn't make out much because of my visual impairment. Mai-san grabbed my wrist and dragged me toward it.
"Masako, Ayako, John, good morning!" she yelled over a red-headed woman's yelling.
"Good morning Mai-san." said a blond haired man. He spoke with a Kansai dialect and had an Australian accent while speaking it, the effect was quite funny. I smiled.
"Who's this?" asked the red haired woman gesturing at me to Mai-san.
"She's a new member of the SPR investigation team, Alexandria Tsukino."
"Ah, Ayako Matsuzaki, nice to meet you." I nodded
"Please call me Andrea, Matsuzaki-san." she smiled and shook her head yes. She seemed to be a very motherly person. I looked at the blond haired man.
"Oh, my name is John Brown, nice to meet you Andrea-san." he said in his accented dialect. I smiled.
"If you want to speak English with me that's fine, I'm fluent." I said in English to him, his mouth formed an "o" shape then he smiled.
"Alright Andrea I might take you up on that sometime." he said back to me in English,
'Yep defiantly an Aussie,' I thought. A small ahem came from somewhere behind me. I looked and saw a small girl wearing a traditional kimono and geta.
"Masako Hara, nice to meet you Tsukino-san." I nodded
"Thank you, Hara-san."
"If you five are done acquainting yourselves, we have work to do." Said Shibuya-san in an annoyed sounding voice.
"Yes sir." I said, I ran back to the van and grabbed a box of cables then walked back to the group. "Where to?" his eyebrow twitched dangerously. Lydia-san was laughing in my head, and I tried hard not to crack a smile,
"… *sigh* … go up the front door and tell Lynn-san that we are here." I turned and walked up to the front doors, they we stained a dark chestnut brown, and had flowers and apples carved in it, courtesy of my now deceased grandfather. I switched the rather heavy box to my left arm and rung the doorbell with a finger. I stared at the once familiar door.
'This used to be home to me… but I have no rights to be here now, lying to my mother, lying to Lydia-san, lying to Mai-san, and lying to myself. I should be gone and dead, Lydia should be alive, but I'm not. Why?' I thought sadly and full of self hatred.
"Hello, what can I do for you?" I glanced upward; standing in the massive doorway was an equally massive man with light brown hair and blue eyes that were red and tired looking. It was my father; Timothy Lynn.
"Hi, I'm here with SPR, you hired us?" his eyes narrowed and he stood up straighter
"Oh, you're with that pack of loony ghost hunters my wife called in eh? Listen, girly if you are here just to welch money off of us, I can tell you one thing, by the power invested in me I will have your miserable little business shut down. For good, you hear me? Now then get the rest of your associates and follow me, quickly." My father was a very scary business man; he was a no-nonsense type of person that if you got on his bad side or betrayed his trust you'd have to do a hell of a lot to get back to neutral terms with him, but on the other side of the coin if you were friends with him he would never betray you and would do just about anything to help you. He may have been a conniving tycoon but he's a good ally to have on the battle field of life.
"Yes sir." I said. Best not to fuel his anger anymore, because he would do what he said, if SPR were to be shut down it would be my fault. I looked at the group
"Everyone, come on!" I said loudly. I heard a multitude of steps behind me, "please lead us Lynn-san." he grunted and lead us into the foyer,
"Don't bother taking your shoes off, this a western house." He said when everyone was inside. He lead us to the right of the grand stair case, through the very large kitchen, then into the corridor then right then into the last door on the left. "You can use this room as your base of operations, it was originally supposed to be a dark room, but then we put it somewhere else, there are plenty of plug-ins and if you need any furniture just ask my wife when she comes home. Now please don't disturb me, I'll be in my room." With that he left us all alone in the spacious room.
"…" said everyone.
"Let's get to work, Mai, get base temperature reading for every room in the house, there is a floor plan along with the thermometers. Brown-san, Takigawa-san, help me carry in the equipment, Matsuzaki-san, Hara-san get a feel for the house. Tsukino-san, help Mai." Ordered Shibuya-san, I set down the box of extension cables, then waited after everyone had left to carry out marching orders.
"So Andrea-san… umm, you speak English?" I nodded and looked at the floor feeling the guilt for lying more prominently than normal. I walked out of the room and back out to the van, and grabbed a box that said "temp. Blue prints" with Mai-san following after me, sensing my aversion to conversation. I handed her a floor plan and thermometer, then I took a set for myself.
"I'll take the first floor, you can get the second." Said Mai-san, I nodded and slowly walked back inside, then up the stairs. Down the hall to my left was Alexis' room, it was blocked off by police tape. My room to the right was also blocked by police tape. I walked forward into the other hallway. I took the temperature for Dylan-oniisan's room and okaa-san and otou-san's room then went back to the base, to find Lin-san directing Shibuya-san, Takigawa-san, and Brown-san where to place the expensive looking equipment.
"Do you guys need any help?" I said, announcing my presence.
"You finished all the rooms?" asked Shibuya-san skeptically,
"Yes, most of the rooms upstairs are closed off by police tape though."
"I see. No we don't need your help; most of the equipment is too heavy for a girl to carry anyway."
"Oh I assure you I'm stronger than I look, let me help."
"Fine." I smirked then went out to the van and grabbed the heaviest looking thing that I thought I could manage. I walked it back to the base and set it in the middle of the floor then went out to get another, and another, until all the boxes were in the room and most the stuff was in its proper place according to Lin-san.
About a half hour later everyone was back in base.
"Hara-san do you sense anything?"Asked Naru-chan
"Yes, actually, I do." She said "I sense the spirit of a teenage girl, I'm assuming its Lynn-san's eldest daughter; Alexis." My heart twinged in pain, "Also… I think some sort of dark magic was performed here, it reeks of blood and death, tell tale signs of such." She said behind her flowery kimono sleeve.
"Wow, all that on your first walk through?" Asked Takigawa-san in amazement.
'Hara-san must be a medium then, if she can "see" spirits.' I thought, summarizing in my head.
"Yes, she is very prominent; perhaps we should try for a séance later tonight?"
"Mai how 'bout you?" said Takigawa-san
"Eh! W-why me, you know I don't see ghosts!" she said flustered.
"Just asking, but remember, if you have any dreams or visions, tell us!"
"I know…" she sighed. "Something just occurred to me, Andrea-san are you psychic at all?" she asked me.
"I don't remember… I'm sorry." I said, dropping my gaze guilty.
"Hey it's fine; it's not a requirement or anything." She said placing a hand on my shoulder.
Suddenly the lights went out and a voice sounded in the room
"DoN't toUcH heR!" The voice belonged to none other than the man who killed my sister. The wound on my hand erupted in agony and my soul felt like it was being ripped to pieces, again.
"Ahh!" I screamed and fell to the floor. The lights came back on.
"Andrea-san!" I felt Mai-san kneel down next to me. I felt her fear; she wanted to comfort me but was worried what would happen if she touched me again. Just as soon as the pain had started it went away, gradually. I let out a less pained breath I wasn't aware of holding in.
"Tsukino-san what happened?" asked Shibuya-san.
"Umm, I got startled and I fell…" I lied quickly; I didn't want to tell him the nature of my reaction. He seemed to buy it and turned and murmured something to Lin-san, he turned back to us and said
"I think it would be best if were to only travel in pairs from here on out. Mai, stay with Tsukino-san, Matsuzaki-san and Takigawa-san, John and Hara-san, and me and Lin." Everyone nodded.
"Oh, I'm so sorry, I was running late and I wasn't able to greet you…" said my mother from the doorway.
"You are Lynn-san?" asked Shibuya-san
"Yes. I assume my husband showed you to this room but not to your sleeping rooms, correct?"
"Then please follow me." She said beckoning us with a hand. We shuffled out into the hallway.
"Before I show you to your room would you mind telling me your names, I'll feel left in the dark if I don't know who I hired for this."
"… Alexandria Tsukino…" we said our names in turn, a strange look passed over her face when we made eye contact. Did she remember me from the hospital?
"… Tsukino-san, is your hand better?" so she did remember. I lifted my hand up for her to see and pulled back my sweatshirt's sleeve to show her the bandage. It was quickly becoming red because Jacob had reopened the cut.
"Damn…" I muttered. "Yes, but it will reopen like this occasionally." I said, louder.
"Oh dear… how long has it been? Like three weeks? It should be pretty much healed by now… after everyone gets settled I'll take a look at it." She was such a mother to everyone she met, but it was never really annoying. I just faintly nodded and adverted my eyes.
"Lets see… four boys and four girls… there are two guest rooms at the other end of the hall that would fit four to a room, is that sufficient?" she asked Shibuya-san.
"Yes, that should be fine."
"Yeah, thank you Lynn-san!" said Mai-san happily, but with a steely glare at Naru-chan who seemed to not notice.
"It's fine, oh call me Arisu, please, there are too many Lynn-sans in this house at the moment."
"Okay Arisu-san it is then." Mai-san said, we walked down the hall and split up by gender, the boys room was first then ours.
"Wow, this house is so big, I'll bet this room is almost as big as my apartment…" said Mai-san.
"I'll take this one." Said Hara-san from the upper left corner of the room, she sat on the edge of the bed. Mai-san looked slightly angry at her declaration, then seemed to brush it off and went over to the bed in the corner below Hara-san's.
"I guess this one is okay…" I looked at Matsuzaki-san and nodded my head, inclining for her to choose the last of the two beds.
"Thank you Tsukino-san, you at least respect your elders. Unlike some people…" she said glaring daggers at a certain two occupants of the room. Hara-san huphmed and put her kimono sleeve over her mouth. Mai-san just looked guilty.
'… Wow, they get along great don't they, like a group of sisters?' Said Lydia-san sarcastically.
"… Your welcome, please call me Andrea, we may be co-workers but I don't like to be called by my last name much." She nodded and went over to the bed in the corner across from Hara-san; I took the last bed and sat down. My scars; more accurately Lydia-san's hurt, and they were getting worse as seconds passed. I unzipped my black sweat-shirt, revealing a white long sleeve shirt. I pushed it up until I could easily access my wound. I began to unravel my bandage; I scrunched it up and set it beside me, the secondary gauze pad was completely red, it was dripping with blood.
"Andrea-san! That's a lot of blood… are you light-headed at all?" asked Matsuzaki-san worriedly. I didn't give any indication that I'd heard, it was getting harder to think with how much pain I was in.
"Now then Tsukino-san, I'll take a look at that cut… my word! That looks bad." Said my mother from the doorway. She ran in front of me and took my bleeding hand in hers; she took off the gauze pad.
Pain pulsed through me. My breathing was coming in shallow breaths and my heart rate was speeding up. My senses were dulling, all except for the pain.
"I'm… Sorry… I can't keep consciousness… much longer…" I said slowly.
"Hurry, help me get her onto the bed!" said a distant voice. I felt my spirit fall backward out of my body.
It was like those dreams I kept having, except I was floating above Lydia-san's body. I noticed that her spirit was not on the dream plane with me. My/her body's eyes opened, the left one was the normal dulled green, but the other was Lydia-san's… That's it! Her body must have pushed me out because I didn't belong, I was an intruder and her body's spiritual defenses must have pushed me out… or so I thought.
"Andrea!" she yelled.
"…Are you Alexis Tsukino?" asked Hara-san.
"What…? No I'm not… god damnit father what did you do!" she yelled angrily. I floated down beside Mai-san who looked confused as hell.
"She said Andrea…. Isn't that her name…? Or maybe not, but if she's not Andrea than who is she?" I heard Mai-san ask herself. Mai-san looked tired then; all of a sudden she fell to the floor with a thunk. Matsuzaki-san noticed this
"Who are you?" I heard a voice ask me. I turned around; it was Mai-san!
"… Alexzandria… Lynn…" I said.