I tried to avoid OOC. And I don't really know where this is going. I had an inspiration and went with it. So far, it has no plot. Enjoy!

Van was standing behind the counter, yawning. As Wal-Mart goes, it's never exactly empty, but today was particularly slow. For the moment, his isle was empty, no customers. He didn't mind working like this, even though his parents had been obscenely rich and left him all their money. His only complaint was the fact it was customer service. Besides dealing with a whole bunch of strangers every day, he didn't care the wage wasn't high or that he had to work at all. His parents had made sure he wasn't spoiled.

Van had a cheap nametag and a blue vest. It felt rather stiff, but he knew as the day wore on, he'd get used to it. He looked around, rather bored. He watched a group of teenagers from town walk in, hoping they wouldn't recognize him, although he didn't really care what people thought about him; he was rich and could buy friends if he ever found the need one. After a moment of thinking, he hoped they would recognize him. Maybe they would tell everyone and girls would think he was a loser for working at Wal-Mart of all places and leave him alone.

He was handsome. He had black hair, wine colored eyes, hard muscle, and a little on the tall side. Add that to a mountain of cash and suddenly he has a million girls throwing themselves at his feet. That's only what girls wanted from him; looks and money.

Don't get him wrong; he'd tried dating a lot of those girls, but they always asked him to buy this or that for them and they always tried to get him in bed. Of course, he had a bad reputation. He was cheap, didn't buy his girlfriends anything above ten dollars, and he was also old-fashioned in a way that meant he wasn't losing his virginity until he got married, or at least fell in love. He wasn't in love with any of those girls.

A rude attitude also added onto his "bad" reputation. That didn't mean shit, though. It only meant that he was mysterious and bad-ass. The only thing that was actually detracting from his personality in the girl's eyes was that he was cheap, even though he was rich. What they didn't understand was that he was rich because he was cheap. This day and age, those two things come hand in hand very often.

But he hadn't had to deal with these girls all summer, locking himself in his parent's mansion, only going out to work, and occasionally buy food. He wasn't looking forward to high school. Junior year, whoopee. He sighed, bored out of his mind. He didn't like thinking about next week.

Movement at the end of his isle caught his attention. He watched the girl pile food and food and more food on the belt. She smiled up at him uncertainly and continued. Silently, he got to work, scanning the bread, milk, eggs, cereal… What did this skinny, honey-haired girl need with all this food? He didn't spare her a second glance. Not until he heard a light cough, meant to get his attention.

"Hi," she said, a little shyly, but happily. He grunted in response. See what he meant about being rude? She continued, not looking the slightest bit discouraged, "This is my first time shopping out by myself. My dad always talked to the cashier, and so does my mom. My dad passed away recently, so I figured I'd try to do what he always did, you know? Kind of to remember him. He was always so happy, and he always made everyone laugh, brightening their day…" She went on, babbling.

Van interrupted roughly, "Four hundred twenty-three dollars and two cents."

The girl blinked at him, "Oh, dear, that's a lot." She opened her purse and rummaged through it. He took in the girl for a moment; short honey-blond hair, slender legs, short shorts, tank top. Pretty, definitely pretty. But she kept babbling.

"Isn't it obvious I'm not interested, woman?" he snapped, interrupting her again, "Why do you keep talking to me?" She swiped a credit card, looked up, and smiled at him as cheerfully as if he had told her she looked gorgeous.

She tilted her head happily. "I was hoping I could make your day brighter, like my dad. If you don't want me to talk, just say so." He continued bagging her things, and she silently placed them in her cart. Suddenly, Van missed her pointless babble. He almost felt bad that he had snapped at her because he was in a bad mood. What kept him from really feeling bad was the cheerful smile on her face. It hadn't hurt her feelings at all. She seemed just as happy in silence. Still, Van felt the urge to apologize and ask her to continue talking about her deceased father, even though it was annoying as hell.

Instead, he asked awkwardly, "What's all this food for?"

She looked up at him and smiled wider, "Charity. For kids and old people who can't do things themselves because of something out of their control. Why?"

"I didn't think it was for you," he mumbled, "That much is obvious because you're so skinny. I was just curious." And I wanted to hear you talk again he added in his head. What he didn't understand was why. She was just another girl. "Do you go to school around here?" he asked.

She sighed, "I just moved here, so yeah. I'm going to the one right in town. I'm a junior now."

Van licked his lips a little nervously, "Oh. What school are you going to again?"

"I don't remember its name," she admitted sheepishly, "I just got in."

"The private one right outside town?" he asked hopefully.

She shook her head, "No, the public one in town. Why, is that where you go?"

No! he thought That's where I don't go! I don't want another girl in my class… "Uh," he mumbled, not answering, "What classes do you have?" Don't say any of my classes, please!

She looked up thoughtfully, "Chemistry, Calculus, Drawing and Design, and Creative Writing. I don't remember anymore. Why? What are you taking?"

He gulped, "Oh." Before he found an appropriate response in his head, another woman with kids hanging on all her limbs approached and began piling her things on the conveyor belt. He apologized to the girl, and she smiled and left. Before she left the building, he wondered what her name was. So he went on a whim. "Sorry, ma'am, I'll be right with you." He turned and ran after the girl, who was now in the parking lot. He caught up with her and grabbed her shoulder. She turned a surprised gaze to his determined one.

"What's your name?" he asked.

She smiled widely, "Hitomi. I'll see you around, Van." He blinked after her. What was that about? He frowned at himself. Why had he felt so determined to get her name? Was he expecting resistance? No, he wasn't. With a confused sigh, he went back inside to his surprised customer.

Hitomi couldn't have been more surprised that he went after her only to ask her for her name. She whistled tunelessly as she walked inside her house. Her mom greeted her by the door, giving her a hug.

"You seem to be in a good mood," she commented.

Hitomi shrugged, "Helping people always makes me happy. And… I kind of met someone today."

Her mom smiled, looking very much like Hitomi, "I'm so glad you and Mamouru came here with me. It's been so lonely without your father." She sighed dreamily, "Mamouru looks so much like him, doesn't he?"

Hitomi pulled out of her mother's hands, "He does. I'm going to my room, okay? Shout if you need help with dinner." Her mother watched her climb the stairs to her room and took a deep breath.

Hitomi lay down on her bed. She liked and disliked her room. The walls were a bright sky blue and her sheets on her bed deep blue with cloud patterns. Her dresser was quaint and humble, and her closet small. She had a laptop on a desk beside the door. She liked the humble simplicity, but wished she had a little more leg-room. Not that she was complaining. Mamouru needed his room for all his equipment; amps, guitars, drums, and the piano. Hitomi wondered briefly which instrument he actually played. She'd heard him banging on the drums, and heard a few strums on the guitar, but none of it she really considered music.

She inhaled deeply, going over her day in her head. She woke up, took a shower, got dressed, and headed to the church. She wasn't religious, but they were always kind people with some sort of charity going on. She was delighted to find out their plans and went to Wal-Mart for food. Her search was successful, and she met that wonderful boy… Van de Fanel. What a name. She reviewed their interactions in her head…

Hitomi walked along, looking for an open isle where she wouldn't be in anyone's way. Her cart would take a while to unload and load again. She went down an open isle and placed her things on the belt. Finally, she looked up at the cashier. Handsome, young. She couldn't help but smile. He looked so glum.

That's where she started babbling while he worked. She really wasn't paying attention to what she said, hoping that a cheerful smile and a conversation would brighten his day.

"Four hundred twenty-three dollars and two cents," he informed her, rather rudely. Having already noticed his bad mood, she didn't let his rudeness get to her.

"Oh, dear, that's a lot," she murmured before continuing her story, while looking for her credit card. She knew she brought it with her.

"Isn't it obvious I'm not interested, woman?" Van interrupted, "Why do you keep talking to me?"

She smiled, thinking the answer was obvious, "I was hoping I could make your day brighter, like my dad. If you don't want me to talk, just say so." So he didn't want to talk. Okay. If it was just annoying him, then it wasn't helping his mood. She would let him sulk if that's what he wanted.

"What's all this food for?" Van asked, looking frustrated.

She answered, just glad he wasn't silently sulking again, "Charity. For kids and old people who can't do things themselves because of something out of their control. Why?"

He blushed, "I didn't think it was for you. That much is obvious because you're so skinny. I was just curious." She wanted to laugh at him. Not to be mean, but because he seemed so… She couldn't think of a word to describe it. He went on to ask her about school, which amused her. Did she look that young? Or was he just assuming she was in school just because he was because he's a teenager that thinks the world revolves around him? In any case, she enjoyed answering his questions until he spotted someone waiting in line.

"Sorry, I have a customer," he mumbled before giving his attention away. She shrugged it off and left. Hitomi had almost reached her car when she heard fast footsteps behind her, not thinking anything of it. She stifled a yelp when a hand touched her shoulder. She turned to see Van panting, looking determined. He was getting what he wanted, and for a moment that frightened her. What did he want? Her fear left when he whispered, "What's your name?" She felt flattered. She didn't usually think this way about guys, but he was a hunk and he was asking her name.

"Hitomi. I'll see you around, Van," she said, departing. She couldn't get his intense expression out of her head when she drove away. What was it that pulled her line of thought toward him? His eyes? His raven black hair? Or maybe just how endearing it was that he ran after her just to ask her name?

Hitomi was brought back to reality to a sharp knocking at her door.

"Come in!" she called. Mamouru opened her door.

"Mom says you met a guy," he said, crossing his arms.

Hitomi laughed, "Mamouru! He's a teenager working at Wal-Mart. I barely know him. I doubt I'll see him ever again, unless I go back to that cheap store."

Something got Mamouru's attention, "What was his name?"

"Van de Fanel," she answered, "Why?"

Mamouru's eyebrows furrowed, "Oh. Don't you recognize him from somewhere?"

She shook her head, "No."

"He's some rich kid," Mamouru informed her, "Girls trip over him all the time."

"How do you know? We just got here," she said, exasperated.

He shrugged, "I met some people, asked around. Meeting one girl from school was enough to let me know he's trouble. Mysterious, rich, but works at Wal-Mart. He's a weirdo."

She frowned, "He seemed so sad."

Mamouru shrugged, "I don't see why. He has girls, money he could live off of for the rest of his life, and even a job if that doesn't work out. Why would anyone who has all of that be unhappy?"

Hitomi thought for a moment before answering, "Maybe he doesn't have any friends." Mamouru snorted.

"Right. Anyway, I think you should stay away from him," he said firmly, then added, "And mom sent me up here to get your for dinner."

Hitomi rolled her eyes, "You should have told me that first. It's probably cold by now." Mamouru shrugged and the siblings went downstairs to eat in silence with their darling mother.

Upon hitting the last step on the stairs, Hitomi addressed her mom, "I never said it was a guy."

"Good morning!" Hitomi greeted the cashier. Today she was at Wal-Mart on an errand for her mother.

The bored-looking woman nodded, "Hey." Hitomi looked around, a little disappointed.

"Has Van been around?" she asked.

The woman looked at her, a little startled, "No. He doesn't work here anymore. Some say he quit, some say he was fired. No one knows but the boss, and he doesn't like talking about stuff like that. Why? I have his number, I can call and tell him-,"

"No!" Hitomi interrupted eyes wide, and then blushed, looking at the ground, "I'm sorry. No. Don't tell him anything. I was just wondering."

The woman shrugged, "Alright. I say he quit because school is starting."

"That doesn't make sense," said another employee, a man, approaching them, "The boss would just change his schedule, then. He goes to school right in town, and he doesn't live too far away. The boss fired him for running after that girl and leaving a customer unattended." Hitomi fretted that she was the reason he was fired, but changed her line of thought quickly.

"He goes to school in town?" Hitomi asked, "The public school?"

The woman nodded, "Yeah. But I've seen how often he works. If he works half as hard at school as he does here, then he'll need to quit for enough time to work on school things. I swear, until he quit, the boy practically lived here."

The man shook his head, "I still think he was fired. There's still a few days left until school starts." Hitomi bit her lip. Maybe she would have a class with him. That would be… great, if she intended to be his friend. The two employees continued with their debate. It made Hitomi wonder why it was such a huge topic. People got hired, fired, and quit every day. Why should Van matter so much?

"I need to go," Hitomi interrupted, "Can we hurry, please?" The woman look startled again, but continued scanning her things while talking. Hitomi left as soon as she could, wondering why she was so light-headed. She couldn't drive like this. She sat in her car after putting her cart back and leaned her head back.

Inside, the woman and man exchanged a look.

"A woman asking about Van," the woman thought aloud, sounding amused.

The man chuckled, "Wouldn't be a first."

Van stretched on his couch in the living room, watching boring, pointless television. He glowered at the screen. He hated the bright lights and cheerful smiles he saw everywhere. Maybe food network wasn't the place to go if he didn't like those things, but he enjoyed watching what food they made and how they described their food.

His cell phone buzzed. He groaned, dreading it was another girl asking him out. He was going to ignore it, but something caught his eye. It was the married woman from Wal-Mart. She had been pleasant and not the least bit interested in him. He opened it and read the text: A girl asked about u 2day. Didnt catch her name. Ask her out she seemed nice.

He rolled his eyes, thinking he should have known better. Despite himself, he hit the reply button. He typed: I don't care. A lot of girls ask about me. Then he erased it. He thought for a moment. Did she have short, honey-blond hair? Satisfied with his response, he sent it. Not much later, the reply said: Ya. U no her? He thought again. What did this girl want with him? She didn't seem like the other girls who wanted his money, but… She made him suspicious. So he answered: Met her once. She was a weirdo; wouldn't stop talking. She does seem nice, but I know better than to judge a book by its cover. The woman from work didn't reply. So he enjoyed his television show. In the back of his mind, he wondered what she wanted from him and why she went asking questions about him.

Van closed the door to his mansion and climbed into his shabby Chevy truck. It wasn't shabby, actually. It was a nice truck, but it looked shabby because it was dirty and the blue paint was wearing off. He threw his backpack into the passenger seat and revved the engine. He almost wanted to smile at the sound. Instead, he grimaced and went to school.

Hitomi kissed her mom on the cheek and waved, then closed the door. She took a deep breath, smelling the early morning air. She walked through town, enjoying the sounds of birds and ignoring the cars rushing by. People were so impatient.

Looking both ways, she crossed the street to school. Her first day. This was going to be great. And if it wasn't, then… oh well. She'd have to get used to it. She entered the building, smiling at everyone she passed. Some of them just blushed and kept moving, some pretended not to see her, some laughed at her, some smiled back, some greeted her, and some sneered at her.

One person flipped her off, but mysteriously tripped when she turned the corner. Obviously, Hitomi was innocent. Van, however, pretended he didn't do anything and kept walking. It was amusing to him that Hitomi didn't notice him two feet behind her.

Van was glad he didn't have his first class with Hitomi. Then he realized it was more likely she'd be in another of his classes and he was worried. The first day was the first day; a lot of talking, speeches, laughs, introductions, games to learn each other's names, and going over rules.

Van found he wasn't very lucky during his next class. He entered, glad he didn't see her. He found a seat in the back, hoping no one would notice him. Naturally, one girl spotted him and after one squeak of a syllable, he was surrounded by five girls. He sighed, ignoring their cries and questions. More and more came forward to see, and screamed when they saw him.

Hitomi walked through the door of her Chemistry class, immediately greeted by a scream. She looked, alarmed, to see a girl, or ten of them, standing around a desk, chattering and gawking. Mildly curious, but not enough to check it out while the girls were standing there in her way, she sat down in the back. She didn't like to be visible the very first day. She rolled her eyes at some more squealing girls. Whatever they were looking at, she was certain she didn't want any part of it.

The bell rang and the giggling girls either left hurriedly or sat down, never straying far from that one desk. Hitomi already had the seat next to it, so she could wait to see what it was. Finally, everyone sat down. Her eyes popped out of her head upon seeing Van de Fanel, sitting casually leaned back, looking grumpy or in pain, she couldn't tell which, with a dark button-up shirt and jeans. His backpack was on the floor beside him. Slowly, his gaze turned to hers. They stared at each other for a moment.

"Mindy says you were looking for me," he said, slowly.

She recovered and nodded, "Yeah. I was just wondering if we could be friends. You seemed so grumpy; I just couldn't help but think there had to be a reason."

He stared into her eyes, his expression unreadable, "Friends?" She nodded dumbly. "Just friends?" he asked, emphasizing the word 'just.' She nodded again. He looked thoughtful for a minute, "I'll think about it." He turned to the teacher, who then started class.

Van was glad he could keep his cool like that. Were her eyes that green the last time he saw her? Surely not. He should have noticed. They were stunning. He didn't dare sneak a glance toward her.

To be honest, he was considering being her friend. Rather, her being his. He wasn't worried about what she'd think of him, but he was worried she would turn out to be like everyone else. Well, not exactly like everyone else. No one in the world had eyes like hers. They beckoned him, pleaded him. It wasn't the first time he'd seen those kinds of luring eyes, but this was different. She wasn't trying to get him into bed; she was trying to get him to open up. For some reason, that was even more terrifying, not that he would ever admit the idea of sex scared him.

What was the harm of being her friend? She could betray him. Oh, yes, she could betray him. She could use him. She could break him. What were the benefits if she didn't do those things? Were those benefits worth the risk? He had to think. Really, he sensed something different about her than other people. Maybe it was the fact she was working for charity when they first met. What kind of person would be actively involved with charity and then go back-stab a friend? Maybe a schizophrenic. She seemed perfectly healthy in the mental department.

It really came down to if he could trust her. Only experience and time would tell. What could he do? He could wait, say he's still thinking. That wouldn't get him anywhere. He could say no, but he'd never find out if she's what she seems, and his curiosity burned in his stomach. He could say yes, and she would either break him or help him. He didn't need help, did he? No, he didn't. That left no change or breaking him. The logical choice: say no. He couldn't bring himself to tell her, though. Every time he turned to her while the teacher wasn't looking, his throat would freeze. So that left one choice: tell her he's thinking about it every time she asked until they were out of high school. Right. Or until he could gather the courage to say no. That seemed reasonable. So he kept his gaze on the teacher until the bell rang. He packed his things quickly, but not quick enough.

"Van?" Hitomi asked. He turned to her and raised an eyebrow. She smiled, "I'm not giving up. I can take a hint. You won't be my friend, I know. But I'm going to push you until you break." With that, she up and left. He stared at her, dumbfounded. What a girl. At the same time, he was certain he was more stubborn than she was. She'd break first. He would make sure to be particularly rude to her.

So began the race.