Sorry for the delay! I'd pretty much given up on this story, but I felt it was unfair to my readers, even if there aren't a lot. Anyway, I hope you don't hate this chapter too much. I've kind of lost the flow to this story, but hopefully it'll get better. :3
When I woke up the next morning, it was to the sound of birdsong outside. I immediately found this strange, seeing as I should have been hearing the sounds of that blonde-haired girl preparing for school with giggling and humming and the whoosh of a hairdryer. I stood up and started to do my morning stretches. During this, I glanced towards the top bunk of the bed and saw that the blonde-haired girl wasn't in there. I raised an eyebrow, wondering where she could be. But I was soon distracted by my daily morning routine and was, in an hour's time, ready for school. There was an hour and a half left until we were called for breakfast, so I sat on the bed and started looking through my suitcase. I didn't want to disturb those who might still be sleeping by playing music, so I decided to read a book instead. Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu stood in white bold font through the dark red cover of the book, which I started reading with vigour, as I have wanted to start reading this for a while. By the time I was halfway through, it was ten minutes before breakfast was supposed to start. I made a last minute check that I had everything I needed, and then picked up my school bag which I had bought a few months ago. It was meant to match the top half of my uniform, white with a bow on the front, as well as carry all my books, and it did both well. Placing Carmilla carefully into my bag, I made my way downstairs to the dining hall.
Most of the students were already there, having been too eager to sleep in. I looked around for the blonde-haired girl who I shared my room with and thought absentmindedly that I should have asked her for her name. I spotted her with a group of girls I met on the first day, who all waved to me as I entered the room. However, the blonde-haired girl didn't wave to me. In fact, she wasn't looking or speaking to anyone, choosing instead to poke at her scrambled eggs with a fork and trying to force a grin off her face, her cheeks a brighter shade of pink than ever before. Waving at the other girls and smiling at the sight of her trying to hide her enthusiasm, I walked over to the group and sat down next to the blonde-haired girl.
"Excited for your first day?"
She obviously hadn't heard me sit next to her, for she jumped slightly in her seat and let out a surprised squeak. When she turned towards me, she remembered who I was and visibly relaxed, though she still seemed a bit nervous.
"Yeah! Super excited!" She proceeded to giggle, but then stopped herself halfway through with a look of realisation on her face.
"Wait! I never asked what your name was. Sorry about that" she pleaded, pouting in apology.
I chuckled at her nervousness before telling her that my name was Akahana Himura.
She grinned, stuck out her hand in a surprisingly western gesture and exclaimed her introduction.
"My name is Chikako Wakahisa. Pretty, right?"
I nodded, which earned another giggle from Chikako. A few minutes later, everyone had finished their breakfast and we were given timetables. I knew a few girls in each class, so it didn't turn out that badly for me. I was slightly worried about Chikako, though. She was in different classes than me, except for Art. She looked up from the timetable and, seeing my concerned frown, shot me a confident smile. I worried about her a bit less, and we made our separate ways to our classes.
On that day, my timetable went like this: Science, Maths, History, Art and Music. However, the only lessons that held any kind of importance on that day were Art and Music.
When I made my way into the art classroom, the bright yellow of Chikako's hair was the first thing that caught my attention. I stood next to her at the front of the class and we greeted each other, chattering about how our first day had been so far. She exclaimed excitably that during her Textiles class, the Zuka Club had entered the classroom and watched over the students with critical eyes, occasionally smiling at a few of them. I remembered reading about their unorthodox methods of recruiting new members for the Zuka Club, and came to the conclusion that that was what they were doing. I mentioned my suspicions, and she seemed even more excited than before. She forced herself to settle down when the teacher came into the classroom, but was still grinning to herself.
The teacher announced that, since it was our first day and this was an Art lesson, it should be a time to be creative, so we could do anything we liked, showing us where the sculpting tools and the paintbrushes and canvases and all the other equipment we might need was. Chikako jumped towards the paints immediately, mixing colours gleefully. I was more cautious, but eventually decided on sculpting. As this was an arts boarding school that only taught the basic of academic subjects, Art was compulsory, which was the only fault I had with the school, seeing as I wasn't an art person. I did enjoy looking at paintings, but when I was making them, there were always these little flaws that I couldn't help disliking and, eventually, the painting would end up in the bin. I was acceptable at Woodwork, so I got out a chunk of wood and some sculpting tools. Seeing as I only had an hour to complete this, I decided on creating something small: a common garden finch. I decided against using paint, as brown was a finch's usual colour and I would probably ruin it by painting over it.
By the end of the class, I had just finished and the teacher praised my skill in sculpting while pointing out things I could improve, which I had previously noticed but hadn't had time to perfect. When the teacher went over to Chikako, we were all in shock at her creation.
There was a woman sitting in a simple light pink dress, with a ribbon tied at the front of the dress. She was sitting in a bed of white lilies, all identical, with grass covering the rest of the ground. But it wasn't just that. The vividity of the colours, the way the woman's long light brown hair was leaping with the summer breeze, the laughter in her dark brown eyes...it was perfect, more beautiful than anything or anyone in this world could possibly be. Soon, everyone in the class was clapping for the painting, including myself, while the teacher was near in tears. However, Chikako wasn't looking at any of us, or even her creation. She was staring with a look of ecstasy towards the doorway, where the members of the Zuka Club were standing casually, smirking to themselves. The other girls, noticing this, stopped their applauding and tried to pounce on the Zuka Club, but the teacher held them back and they walked out. Before they did so, Benio looked back and waved at Chikako, still smirking.
I walked with Chikako out of the classroom, but it was obviously that she was conscious of nothing around her, knowing nothing but the Zuka Club. I walked her to her classroom, which she stumbled into with a breathless "Thanks" before going to my own classroom, where I had Music.
In that lesson, the teacher was a bit stricter than the Art teacher; instead of letting us do whatever we wanted to, we were made to do vocalising and breathing exercises for a while, then the whole class was made to sing Do You Hear The People Sing from Les Miserables. While I had no objections, many others did, shouting objections such as "I've never even heard of this song!", "This doesn't suit my vocal range!" and the usual cry of "Can't we choose our own song?!"Most of these complaints were met with a stern glare from the teacher that was enough to turn a person to ice.
At the end of the lesson, the teacher clarified that the reason she did that was to see how we could react to a completely random song being thrust upon us. "The measure of a singer is the measure of their vocal range", she lectured, in a strong French accent, "but the measure of a performer is the measure of their improvisation." Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the Zuka Club standing in the doorway yet again. However, this time, none of the girls dared to attempt to jump on them, for fear of what this sharp mistress would do and, by the time she was done talking, class had ended and they were gone.
When I entered my dorm room, Chikako wasn't there yet. I was curious, but decided to leave the questioning until she came back. I walked to the desk near the front of the room and started working on the History homework that had been assigned to me. By the time Chikako walked in, it was near 7pm. Seeing as the school day had ended at 4pm, and I hadn't seen her at dinner, I was curious as to where she had been, and was about to question her when I saw that she was in floods of tears. After half an hour of her blubbering on my shoulder, I managed to calm her down enough for her to tell me what had happened.
After her last lesson, one of the members of the Benibara Fan Club was waiting outside for her, fixing her with a jealous glare before announcing that Benio wanted to see her and to follow her. She walked briskly off, and Chikako was panting as she scurried after her, stuck between being intimidated by this messenger and excited that she was going to speak to Benio. Soon, she settled on being excited, her cheeks a bright red as she skipped after the fan club member, who looked back to her every now and then with a look of distaste. Before she was ready, she was in Benio's room. It was just as luxurious as you'd imagine, with a dark red California king bed imported from America and expensive tapestries and paintings decorating the light red walls. Benio stepped out of the shadows in a black nightgown, a glass of red wine in her hand, smirking at Chikako.
"Good evening, young maiden."
Blushing, Chikako stepped forward and said "Hi" softly, looking down at the floor. She heard a chuckle from Benio, and before she knew Benio had even moved, she was grasping her chin gently and lifting it.
"Don't be shy" she whispered in a husky voice. "You are just as beautiful as your paintings."
Chikako, who had been feeling apprehensive, perked up at this.
"You like my painting?"
A deep throaty chuckle from Benio answered that, as did her "Yes, I do."
"I have a proposition for you, Chikako."
"What is it?" she asked, tilting her head to the side in confusion.
"To become my lover. It would be nothing serious; I am not one for...long-term relationships. But I can promise you that it would be sublime while it lasted. Will you agree to my request?"
"Good. While you are too young for us to partake in any...carnal knowledge, I feel we will both enjoy the company of one another."
At this point, I was confused. If Chikako agreed to be with Benio, then why was she crying about it? I asked her about this, and she stood up and exclaimed.
"Because I am love with Chizuru Maihara!"
*insert dramatic music here*
Don't worry; I'll sort out this whole love...square? Whatever it is. I hope you enjoyed this chapter. I think it went rather well, personally. :3
Whatever your opinion is, be sure to leave me a review! :D