*A/N: I'm really, really, really fucking sorry guys. It's been way too long. Feel free to reprimand me in the reviews. Concerning this story, I have a lot of dots to connect but not the pencil to do it. I told you guys I had severe writer's block...I still do. I vaguely know where I want this story to go, but it's not enough. However, you guys deserve an update, I owe it to you. So I sincerely thank whoever is still reading this (somewhat) forsaken story, and whoever has decided to stick with me. You have my sincere gratitude. P.S. From now on I'll be writing in a limited omniscient POV.
The shrill noise of the telephone pierced the quiet of the Sakamoto household, waking Arina in the process.
She glared in the general vicinity of the source of the sound (it was in front of her). She'd been doing her math homework when she'd had an impromptu nap. Raising her head from the desk, she winced when she felt a cramp in her neck and reached for the phone to see the Higarashi home number flashing. Arina sighed irritably, and answered, "What?"
An incoherent string of words sounded through the phone, causing Arina to hold it away from her ear. "Ayumi, you woke me up for this crap, so speak clearly!"
The inarticulate Ayumi took several deep breaths, making Arina impatiently tap her fingers on the wooden desk. The next words that came through Ayumi's mouth stilled them. "Haruhi is a girl!"
"WHAT?!" Arina yelled.
"I found out this afternoon when I arrived late to the host club," Ayumi said, rushed, "I made cookies for him—her—in home ec. and wanted to give them to him, no, her, but when I walked in I saw Haruhi in a dress and laughed because at first I thought it was cosplay, right, but then I saw that there was more girl clothes on the love seats and that there was underwear! For girls, Arina! Haruhi has boobs!"
"What happened after that?" Arina prompted.
"I ran away, and now I'm in the bathroom," Ayumi said, her voice increasing in pitch.
"What do you want me to do, Ayumi?" She said, exasperatedly.
"Come here! Now! I sent Akihiko," she whispered, panicking.
As if on cue, the doorbell rang. When Arina looked outside her window, there was the limousine.
"Damn it, Ayumi," Arina muttered under her breath. Although Ayumi had said bathroom, she didn't specify which. Arina was left to meander around the halls, trying to find her cousin.
First, she'd looked in the closest bathroom to Music Room 3, but upon inspection, turned up empty. Every bathroom kept turning up empty and frankly, Arina was quite peeved.
She sighed, annoyed as another bathroom came up empty. She walked out, only to bump into someone. She turned red and bowed, muttering an apology. When she looked up, it was one of the Hitachiin twins. Shoot. This is exactly what she'd been trying to avoid after learning she had a crush on Hikaru...hopefully it wasn't him.
His face took on a delighted expression. "Sakamoto-san! It's alright, don't worry about it."
Arina smiled tightly and was about to leave when whichever twin he was grabbed her arm. She turned even redder. Damn it.
"Higarashi's your friend, right? Do you know where she is?" He asked.
Well, crap. Another thing Ayumi hadn't mentioned—the Host Club hunting down her ass. Arina's imagination conjured up Ayumi having to go under witness protection to evade Ohtori, who could probably besmirch her and her family, and Haninozuka and Morinozuka, who could—
Oh. He'd been calling her. Right. Arina was sure she looked like a tomato by now. She let her hair fall in her face and answered, "No, I'm looking for her, actually."
"Oh. I see. Let's look for her together then!"
Crap. Arina panicked. She didn't know how to get out of this situation. The only choice was to be passive, and go along with him. So she went.
"Do you have any idea where she could be?" He asked.
"...Bathrooms or libraries." She replied.
They walked in relative silence aside from the seemingly marcato sound of their shoes on the floor. Arina felt uncomfortable. She could feel the twin staring at her. He knew he was making her uncomfortable and he smiled. Damn Ayumi for getting her into this situation.
"Hey, do you know which twin I am?"
Arina looked at him, bemused. She had no idea why he would ask that, or why he was concerned about whether or not she knew. She shook her head.
Maybe it was her imagination, but she thought she saw his grin falter imperceptibly. "I'm Hikaru, but whatever. Most people don't know the difference anyway."
The bitterness in his tone was unmistakeable. Arina felt as though she'd failed some kind of test. "I'm sorry."
"It's fine," Hikaru said with a strained smile, "it's more fun this way anyway. Keeps people on their toes."
Suddenly, Hikaru's cellphone vibrated in his pocket, and he went to answer it. Arina was grateful for the interruption. The conversation was headed for a path that Arina wasn't keen on taking.
"Hello?...Kyoya-senpai, what is it?...ah. Be there in a bit...bye." Hikaru hung up on Ohtori. "They found your friend. Do you want to come with me to get her?"
Arina could only nod.
Once they reached Music Room 3, Arina saw Ayumi sitting on a love seat, squirming and looking extremely uncomfortable under the gaze of Kaoru, Haninozuka (who was eating the cookies Arina assumed Ayumi made), and Morinozuka. Suoh looked to be arguing with Ohtori while Fujioka was exasperatedly trying to calm him down ("Mommy! What are we going to do?! We have failed to protect our daughter!" "Tamaki-senpai, it's fine.").
When Ohtori spotted them, he said, "Ah, Hikaru," causing the rest of the Host Club to turn to them, making Arina blush. Kaoru raised an eyebrow at Hikaru, who shrugged. "Sakamoto-san, if you'd be kind enough to sit down beside Higarashi-san."
She nodded mutely, and hastily made her way over to Ayumi, making sure to glare at her. Ayumi, for her part, had the decency to look ashamed.
"Today, Higarashi-san has discovered a secret," Ohtori began, "and by association, I assume Sakamoto-san has knowledge of this secret as well." He paused, looking at Arina pointedly. She nodded. "Can we trust you two to keep this secret?"
"Yes, I promise we won't tell anyone!" Ayumi said quickly. Arina nodded in agreement.
"Yes, I'm sure. I took the liberty of digging through any information about you two that presented adequate coercion qualities." Ohtori smiled at them, and it sent a shiver down Arina's spine. Crap. What did he find out about them? "I find it interesting, Higarashi-san, that in middle school, you had a secret boyfriend, even though your parents have already arranged for you to get married to Yamamoto, Hideki once you are of age. Quite scandalous. I think the Yamamoto family would find it interesting as well, wouldn't you agree?"
Ayumi blanched, and Arina looked at her, shocked. She had never known about this. She thought about what Ohtori might have on her and paled.
"Sakamoto-san," He turned his devious smile on her and Arina gulped. "I couldn't find any information worth coercing you about. You have a clean record, so for that, I congratulate you. But know that if you do tell anyone about the secret, then Higarashi-san's secret will be revealed in exchange. Understood?"
"Believe me when I say that I will know if you decide to utter a single word concerning Haruhi's secret. I have my ways."
"Understood," Ayumi squeaked. Arina held back a laugh.
"Good. You may be on your way, then."
Suoh and the Hitachiins were whispering amongst themselves. Arina swore she heard, "Kyoya is so scary..."
Ayumi stood up quickly, speed-walking out the door.
"Bye bye!" Haninozuka said, cheerfully.
Arina realized Ayumi basically ditched her and walked hastily to the door. Just when she made it outside, someone grabbed her by her elbow. She turned around and saw it was one of the Hitachiins and turned red. "...Hikaru?" She guessed.
"Yeah!" He smiled, and Arina gave a small one in return. "Just wanted you to know that Kyoya's not trying to be scary. It's his—our—way of protecting Haruhi. We all care about her."
"That's sweet," she said. She thought it was really nice of them all. Maybe she was wrong about them. "See you, Sulu."
Hikaru gave her the cutest confused face she'd seen (she would deny she ever thought that). "Sulu?"
"It's a Stark Trek reference. There's a character named Hikaru Sulu. It'll be kind of like an inside joke between us. If I say it I'll know it's you."
He laughed. "Alright."
They stood there for a few more beats before Arina broke the silence. "Is that all...?"
"Oh! Yeah, sorry. I'll see you around."
Arina gave a small smile again, and turned to walk away. She bit on her lip to stop the smile from growing.
Hikaru walked back into the club room with a hint of a smile on his lips and walked over to his brother, who raised an eyebrow. "What?" Hikaru asked self consciously.
"You like her?" Kaoru asked.
"What? I just think she's interesting and nice," he said defensively.
Kaoru suppressed a laugh. His brother has always been slow about understanding his own feelings. Kaoru always had to point them out to him for him. "If you don't like her now, then I think this is the start of it."
Hikaru turned red. "I..."
Kaoru snickered, and left his twin to his own devices.
*A/N: Wow. This is the most I've written in a while, which is pretty sad because this chapter is only 1.5K. Anyway, I do not know when the next chapter will be, so for that I'm sorry. It definitely won't be until after June, as it's exam week for me, and in early July I'm going on vacation. So bear with me, and thank you all for reading, reviewing, alerting and favouriting.