Another confession. Another stupid boy trying to waste my time. Another idiot.
I yawned rudely as Juntarou poured out his heart and soul to me; about the six months he had watched me from afar, how he finally worked up the nerve to tell me all these things, and how he hoped that I would receive him as I had in his fantasies. As much as I wanted to laugh in his face, I held my tongue. My restraint surprised even me; I was a cruel woman, after all
"I don't see you in that light, Juntarou. Maybe someone else?"
Laughs and "I told you so!'s" filtered throughout the room as I turned away from Juntarou.
"Under a minute! That's a new record!" one boy laughed.
Had I rejected people so much that there was a record? I shrugged the thought away; like it really mattered. I wasn't hurt. I didn't tell anyone to confess their feelings to me. Why should I care? I was becoming harsher and harsher by the day. I wasn't even sure why. I had no time to waste on that anyways; something more important was going to happen today. Something I had longed to happen for a long time. He had invited me to see him today.
Mizuki hopped on the top of my desk and smiled. She was the total opposite of me; so girly and frilly, full of spunk and happiness. Sometimes it made me sick, but I dealt with it. Even ice queens need friends. I chose have only one. Why Mizuki? I dunno; we have nothing in common. PrOtoubly just because she was the only girl who wasn't afraid to be friends with me. I was kind of standoffish and unpredictable. Maybe that's it.
I looked up at her, annoyed.
"Didn't I tell you to say my whole name, Mizuki-san?"
"Oh, come on, Leiko-chan! We're friends! You don't need to call me 'san',"she giggled, her blonde curls bouncing as she responded.
"Get your butt of my desk; I have to sleep on this thing," I sighed back. She giggled again. Uggh.
"Ok, ok," she slid off the seat and assumed a leaning position on the desktop. "Better?" she questioned.
"Yeah, yeah, whatever..."
She leaned in closer to me.
"So, you're still going to see him today, right?" She looked genuinely concerned for me. Couln't understand why.
"Yeah, not that I really want to see that man,"I sighed. "He never cared before now."
Mizuki only half-giggled this time.
"Y'know, if I were 16 and hadn't seen someone as special as my dad since I was 8, I'd have more enthusiasm."
"He's not that important to me," I replied nonchalantly. In truth, I had never told a bigger lie.
I missed my dad more than anything. He was always busy in some other country, working on some big scientific project. My dad was one of the premier scientist in Japan; he was always being invited to some corporation, so he never really had time to waste on me and mom. I kinda resented it, but not as much as I missed him. That part always won.
"You don't have to play all tough around me, Leiko-chan,"Mizuki smiled.
"I know," I smiled back,"I'm just in character right now."
The day couldn't have taken any longer. Time is a cruel mistress; she speeds up when you want her not to and passes slowly when she knows it'll torture you. It's a good thing Time has her limitations. Without them, life would surely be even more painful.
Mizuki was all smiles as we left school. If anyone knew what was going on, they would've thought that she was the one off to see her long lost dad.
"Leiko-chan," she started, grasping my hands firmly in hers. I had never noticed how much larger my hands were than hers. I was secretly envious of her delicateness, but I was never going to give her the satisfaction of telling her that.
"What?" I said annoyed. "If you don't quit holding me here, I'll be late." She giggled again.
"Just try to have fun with him," she said, her face turning serious. Serious was an expression that rarely graced Mizuki's face. "And please, try not to have that loveable little attitude of yours, ok?"
"Fine," I said. In truth, I had already promised myself that, just today, I would once again become the sweet little girl I had been when he left me eight years ago.
"Good," Mizuki grinned. "Be nice, Lei-chi."She hugged me. I stood stiffly, then loosened up and hugged her back.
"Thanks, Mizuki-san," I replied as I turned away. I was on my way; thee reunion was about to commence.
One subway ticket later, I found myself outside the corporate towers my dad had asked me to meet me at. I wondered why he had chosen a government building to meet me at; then again, he had always been an unconventional person. I pulled out the crumpled letter dad had sent me in the mail and glanced at it again. One line still had me confused:
Please, don't mention anything to your mother. Let's keep this between us.
Were they having marital issues or something? What would they have to fight over if they hadn't seen each other in years. I shook my head, forcing the thought out. I was just stalling. The truth was, I was scared to see him again.
I forced myself to walk into the building. A swarm of successful business people in business suits and heels with hair slicked back walked past. They looked at me with an uppity look. I glared back and headed to the secretary.
"Hi," I said,my attitude not yet in check.
The secretary looked at me as if to say "you're wastin' my time, kid".
"Um, we don't like to have delinquents hanging around in our lobby."
"Delinquent?" I looked down at myself. It was true that I wasn't wearing my uniform correctly. I had sewn a patch that said "Miyavi" onto my blazer, my tie was draped around my neck, my shirt wasn't buttoned all the way or tucked in and I was wearing a pair of red and black striped socks instead of the traditional white, but that didn't matter because it matched the uniform.
"What do you want? I don't have time to waste on kids like you," she smirked smugly.
"Oh, I'm sure answering phones, filing papers, and running out to get your boss coffee must be such difficult work that you can't spend another second doing something else." She looked at me angrily but that didn't matter to me. "I'm here to see Nihara Shounei. Renouned scientist, yadda yadda."
"Floor twenty-one, conference room 21F." She rolled her eyes as she said this. I was satisfied; she seemed fairly annoyed. "I'll announce your arrival, miss..." she looked up at me for my name.
"Nihara Leiko," I replied,turning toward the elevator.
The elevator ride seemed longer than necessary, due to nerves. My hands shook like crazy. All the fears I had rose to the surface.
What if its bad news? What if he doesn't like me? What if... what if I don't make him proud?
DING! The elevator opened, interrupting my reverie. I stepped out hesitantly.
NO! I forced myself. You can't be this afraid. Not now.
With newly derived confidence, I walked into the conference room. There he was, but, there were more men with him. As soon as I entered, he stood up.
He came over and hugged me.
"You've grown so much," he said, lifting a lock of my electric blue hair. "Although, I don't remember this being this color before."
"Its called 'hair-dye', dad," I said. Then I remembered what I had promised Mizuki and myself.
"I'm sorry," I bowed. He lifted my head.
"Don't do that," he said. "If I had been here to spend time with you before, this wouldn't have happened.
"Well," I blushed,"you're here now."
"Not exactly," he smiled sheepishly." You see, I invited you here because I'm conducting an experiment. I wanted you to test it for me."
"I see," I sighed. It was too good to be true; he was just using me for what he really loved: science.
He pulled out a peach, a plum, and an apple.
"I want you to keep one of these, and give the other two to people that you trust. Keep them on your person and never let them out of your sight for to long. When they ripen, I want you to bring them back."
I turned the fruits over in my hand.
"These look kinda ripe already," I replied.
He smiled back at me." Trust me. When these ripen, you'll know." Then he motioned for me to leave.
I looked back at him, saddened. He wasn't really interested in seeing me.
"Don't eat them," he said.
"I'm not an idiot," I responded. I didn't even care if my attitude was emerging again; I was too hurt to care. I ran out of the building on the verge of tears. What was it that mad his stupid job more important than me and mom? I was just as good as any stupid experiment. Then it dawned on me: I was the experiment now. I looked down at the fruits I clutched in my hand.
I can't let this experiment fail, I told myself. Its my ticket back into dad's heart.