There's Weirdo's About
There's Weirdo's About
Leaning against the magnolia wall in an attempt to avoid the bustling rush of the Friday afternoon, verdant irises landed on one of the many posters which plastered the hallways of the university. A young man with a black and blonde trendy cut sported a large grin and held out a peace sign. He was apparently one of those ‘it’ guys, a member of one of those drama-esque Flower Four clubs. To her, however, he simply appeared to be a dullard.
‘What was his name again?’ Full, chapped lips opened slightly as the woman tried to recall. If she was to ask someone, she would be most likely bludgeoned to death by a hoard of his deranged fangirls. It wasn’t worth the risk.
Despite being indifferent to the matter which was the group of campus celebrities, if she were to just brush it off mid-contemplation, not being able to remember would drive her mad for the rest of the day. He was probably a conceited bastard with a bunch of weird, half-suppressed issues – So it was probably in her best interest to at least know his name in order to go in the opposite direction if she heard it.
A violent smack on her arm caused the tall female to snap back to the real world. Looking down, she was met by two women she wished she wasn’t familiar with. The taller of the pair, a brunette, glared for no reason other than to seem intimidating. The other, a petite blonde with stiff curls sung through grit teeth. “Ho-Zu-Ki-Cha-N~ have you fallen for our Prince of Sports?” She asked with condescendence before her tone quickly switched to a sickly sweet mewl. Flapping her hand matter of factly, she wobbled her head. “Of course you have; you’re not blind, are you?” Darkness suddenly shadowing her screwed up expression, the small woman snarled. “That doesn’t mean you can get any funny ideas about Taira San, though.”
“It’s not like he’d be interested in a person like her anyway.” The brunette friend let out a high pitched giggle while her friend nodded in agreement.
“I’m just warning her.” When all she got was the same blank stare she’d received when she first made her interruption, the small blonde tilted her head. “What’s that look about? Are you trying to pick a fight?” Stepping forward in an attempt to intimidate, she was halted when her chest met her victim’s. With such large gap still between them, the shorter girl glanced down. Brow twitching at her fellow blonde’s assets predominantly masked by an oversized cardigan, she scoffed with a point. “I mean it, Miss Piggy.” Out of nowhere, the bully purposely knocked the taller woman’s books out of her hands before she and her deranged friend sauntered off into the thinning crowd.
Eyes landing on her belongings by her feet, Hozuki blinked as the sound of the afternoon rush faded out. Fingers twitching, she chomped down on her on teeth. Heat rising from her feet and up to her head, bunker sirens rang between her ears. Trembling as she clenched her fist and relaxed it by her side repeatedly, the blonde sucked in a gust of air through her nose and huffed it out of her mouth. After a few repetitions of the panting and flexing like a crazy person, she forced herself to bend down and picked her stuff up.
Shooting to her feet, the blonde dropped her belongings and snapped around. Black shadow hanging over her face and her expression completely twisted into an ugly scowl, it was clear that she was on the verge of losing her temper. She was ready to bite the head off the person who had interrupted her despite knowing it could only be one person.
Like she had predicted, it was the man who had roped her into helping organize the upcoming sports event. He was the only person who paid her any notice that wasn’t a stuck up bitch out for her head - But even then, he still wanted something from her.
Stance wide and her fists clenched, Hozuki panted as she stared at the man wearing his trademark tweed suit.
Halting mid-step, the man who couldn’t have been much older than thirty held his hands up in defence. “A-Azumi Chan…?” Examining the state of his helper, the Professor glanced around to see if there was around to witness his apparently impending demise. “Why does your face look like a Hannya mask?”
Pricked by the thought, the girl slumped back. Straightening up, she smacked the back of her head twice with a lopsided grin. “Don’t mind me.”
Shaking his head as sweat rolled down his temple, the man mumbled. “That’s impossible....”
Returning to her usual demeanour, the student collected her books from the floor for the second time. “Kyoukan-”
“I told you to call me Hisao out of your schooling hours.” He flashed a small smile and gestured her over with his left hand as if she was a small child.
“Ando San-” As to not to show her lack of enthusiasm, Hozuki tried to at least not frown as she shuffled over to the Professor. “-I’m sorry but that’s the closest you’re going to get.” She really didn’t sound sorry at all.
Ando Hisao was a History Professor - Hozuki's, to be exact - and this year's teacher in charge of overseeing the Sports Festival. He was relatively good looking for his age if you weren't put off by the perma-stubble, Grandpa sweaters, and ridiculous ties. Beneath his blunt ways, he was probably the only person Hozuki was able to talk to without being side-eyed and judged.
“Ah…” Placing a hand behind his head, the man looked away in dismay. “Never mind that now.” He scooped his hand at her again but started walking before she had a chance to make a retort. “There’s a meeting concerning the special event.”
Walking side by side down the empty corridor, Hozuki glanced to the man beside her. “Say, Ando San…” He caught her side-way glance and gave a hum as he looked back to see where he was going. “Why even bother wearing a tie when it’s that far undone?”
Coughing a laugh at the random remark, the Professor ran a hand over the stubble on his chin. “It helps me fit in with the cool kids.”
Lids dropping halfway over her eyes, the blonde wafted her hand by her face. “No way,” she puckered her lips as she also looked ahead. “you just look unemployed with that suit and the offset of what I presume is supposed to be a beard.”
As if an arrow had shot through him, Ando clasped his chest. “I thought you were supposed to be a nice, quiet girl?” He pouted at remark, but his company remained still. He wasn’t even sure that she heard him until she made a strange sound.
“For a start, I hate that word: ‘nice’. It’s fucking despicable.” She spat her reply and the remark seemed even more vehement due to her husky tone. Rolling her neck, she shoved her books into the backpack hung over her shoulder. “Quiet…” she made another subdued grumble, as if she was contemplating. “…Not so much.”
“That pause was way too long.”
“What would you say if I told you that I’m in hiding?”
His head jerked to the side and his eyes widened. “Are you a hooker on the run from the mob?”
Frowning, the ashen woman turned her head slowly to look up at her company. “The fact that was the first thing that came to your mind makes me want to reconsider walking around an empty building with you.”
“I didn’t mean it like that.” He shook his hands wildly.
“You just asked one of your students if they were a hooker,” Facing forward, she placed a thoughtful finger to her lips. “…and involved with the mafia…Is there any other could be meant?”
“Okay, maybe the wording was a little rough-”
“Please keep at least an arm-span between us.” The blonde side stepped out of the way with a dull look on her face.
“Azumi Chan~ I didn't mea-”
Glancing to the hurt man, she wafted over her shoulder once. “I’m just messing with you.”
Shoulders slackening in sudden exhaustion from the bad joke, the man scowled. “I could lose my job if you’re not careful.”
“Muh, you can tell you’ve not had your bi-hourly fix.”
“The drink.” She made a tipping motion towards her mouth and the man stopped to stare. “What?” She gave his stricken expression a once over. “Did you think I wouldn’t notice?”
“How long have you known?”
“Since you collared me in the library.” She pulled a strange face and he mirrored it. “Every time you’re close to me, it makes me wanna stick a straw in my bag. I try to not drink during schooling hours, but when it radiates off a person-”
“You knew all along?” Frowning at his wide eyes and mouth ajar, the blonde nodded. “And you didn’t say anything?”
Hacking as if she was about to be sick, Hozuki held her left hand up with rigidity. “I don’t have anyone else here who talks to me like I’m an actual person. I’m not about to screw them over for something so trivial.” Shrugging her backpack down to her elbow, she unzipped the main compartment and stuck her hand in. “Especially when it would make me a hypocrite.” Pulling a flask meant for soup or coffee into the dim sunlight fading through the window beside them, the woman handed it over.
Accepting the container, Ando looked at the woman cracking the joints of her fingers out of habit. Unscrewing the metallic lid, a wall of pungency scraped at the inside of his nostrils. Choking a breath back into his lungs, he held the drink away as he squinted tears from his eyes. “What is it?!”
“It stinks to the high heavens, but it doesn’t really taste of anything,” She told flatly before turning back to him with an upheld index finger. “and it gets you wasted really quickly so-” She cut herself when she saw her Professor take at least seven deep chugs on the liquid. Blinking, she turned around and faced the wall beside her as she spoke dully. “I’ll call you a cab…”
“I’m oka-” A burst of heat rushed to his head. Instability hammered at his knees and his body buckled. Slamming the canteen on the window sill, the brunette’s eyes slid to his charge as he clung to the slight wooden frame. “What did you just give me?”
“A family recipe.” Watching the man hold onto the thin window frame as his bottom half trembled, the blonde’s left brow raised. “You’re traditionally supposed to sip it as a drink with things such as aniseed or cinnamon,” blinking at the man she knew could hold his alcohol, she tilted her head with a confused hum. “but we also use it in place of anaesthetic when used by itself.”
Grip sliding off the frame, the man’s body gave way. Landing in a heap on the floor, Ando mumbled incoherently. Hozuki was sure she saw his tongue hanging out of his mouth.
Crouching down, she gripped his right wrist. Pulling the weight across her shoulders as she sprung to her feet, the woman glanced left and right. “If somebody sees me doing this, I’m going to wait until you’re better, dope you with it again, and then throw you down an elevator shaft.” Lugging the weight into a more comfortable position, Hozuki took on the first step with caution. “Do you understand?”
“Hgnnnn~ I just need some fresh air…”
Thinking back to the beginning of the week, the female recalled how the Professor had roped her into helping him with the upcoming sports event. She had no interest in the matter, but she had agreed under a certain condition.
Sitting in the library, eating her lunch alone, a commotion caught her attention. It wasn’t like eavesdropping was a common thing for her, but the words “extra credit” and “money” had snagged her attention.
Placing her coffee down, the blonde peered around the corner of the bookcase that hid her her table. What she saw was one of the Professors leaning over the administration counter while his lower half flailing madly. The head librarian, who she knew to be a strict bitch from Hell, just ignored the fool in front of her while she typed away rapidly. This by itself was enough to pique Azumi’s attention.
Attempting to readjust herself, she misplaced her hand and knocked a book off the shelf. In that instance, the crazy man’s attention shot to where she was like some kind of hunting dog. Jumping back out of sight, she slapped a hand over her mouth. Mossy eyes went wide at her blunder. Hiding behind the row of books in hopes that she wouldn’t be found, the young woman glanced left and right for an escape.
Not ten seconds had passed when Azumi was literally face to face with the strange professor. Leaning in closer than necessary, pale blue eyes locked on cornered woman’s face. “You!”
“Yes?” She recoiled, her body became tense as she stepped back when he advanced for her.
“What’s your name?”
The woman's usual husky voice was several notes higher as she forced out her answer. “Hozuki Azumi.”
“That’s nice. Are you busy?” He weaved his head from left to right as he inspected her expression.
“Huh?” Hozuki was fast thinking this was starting to sound like an abrupt date offer from a delusional middle aged man.
“I need help.” He pinched the bridge of his nose dramatically and confessed.
“I can see that.” Hozuki didn’t pull punches.
It took a moment, but the man furrowed his brows at the underhanded remark. “Have you heard about this year's sports festival?”
Quickly losing what little interest she had, the female looked away. “I’m new and to be honest, I don’t really care about the superficial social gatherings.”
“Please? I’m not asking you to take part in the events, I just need some assistance with organizing it.” By this point, Ando was getting ready to fall on his knees and beg.
A moment of revelation hit the man when he assumed the woman hadn’t heard him mention the topic and he mentally congratulated himself. “I’ll pay you and you’ll receive extra credit.” He thought such a cheap deal would settle things.
The offer was starting to seem doable, but was a teacher really allowed to scout help and bribe students? “How much?” She didn’t care either way; if he wouldn’t tell, neither would she.
“Eh?” Not expecting the question, Ando rubbed the back of his head as he looked up. “500¥ an hour.”
“Denied.” Quickly turning on her heels, Hozuki picked up her backpack and began stuffing her papers in it.
Jumping out in front of his target, the Professor held his arms out wide in an attempt to stop the student from escaping. “Okay, okay - 590¥ an hour!”
Glancing over her shoulder, she made a thinking expression. “You think I can live off that? How do you expect me to pay my rent?”
“Rent?” His eyebrows rose.
Slumping her shoulders, the blonde rubbed the back of her head out of irritation. “I live on my own, and if I were to help out, I’d have to cut some hours from my real work.”
“I see. Then, 630¥ and an extra 150 for every form you get signed?” His expression contorted as he held his hands together in pleading.
“1200, and I want 300 for every sign.”
“Hah, are you insane?” He hacked.
“I have to earn a living, too.” The woman turned around and went back to collecting her belongings.
With no other option, the Professor gave in. “O-okay.”
A feeling of accomplishment washed over the student when she’d finally struck a worthwhile deal. “When do I start?”
Leisurely, Ando’s eyes drifted down to his watch like he had all the time in the world before his stance widened in shock. “Right now, let’s go.” Slipping the woman’s bag strap over his head and scraping up what was left of her lunch, he pushed Hozuki’s back as a sign to hurry up.
‘What did I get myself into?’ The blonde sighed inwardly at the troublesome thought as she crossed the empty foyer with the extra weight hanging from her shoulder. She had been working for Ando for a few days now and still hadn’t been to one of those all-important meetings that he had mentioned. She was thankful, really. If you hadn’t noticed by now, she wasn’t exactly the social butterfly, and what was one of the highest on her most hated list was making useless small talk with inept people. Still, even though she disliked the notion, it was bringing in money, and that was more important than her picky preferences.
Making it out into the fresh air of the late Spring afternoon, the blonde turned to her left as soon as she had pushed open the barely used fire exit door. Dropping Ando down on the steps at the back of the building, the woman heaved a breath into her lungs. Turning her back on the man who kept swaying from side to side, she plucked a cigarette from her cardigan pocket.
Peering back over her shoulder, the woman hummed. “What?”
“Make sure…” His words trailed off.
Rolling her eyes at the state of her company, she rested her hand on her hip. “I’m going to get you a drink. Do you think you can stay here until I come back?” When Ando’s head flopped forward in an attempt to nod – or at least, she presumed it was a nod – the woman huffed out a breath. Opening the door, she squeezed past and ventured back into the dim building.
With both hands behind her head as she walked down the silent corridor, verdant eyes scanned the interior glowing with light from the golden hour. This was the first time she had ever seen the building after four o’clock; it had a completely different feel. It was almost eerie how there were so many shadows despite her being the only one in sight. It was too quiet, also. She was so used to the bustling halls filled with the conversation of her peers. Now though, all she could hear was the ticking of the clock in the main foyer and the faint muffles of a small group passing by the outside of the building.
Eyes landing on a vending machine, she picked up her pace. Sticking her hand into her bag, she fished out her wallet. She stared at the rows of little stickers stating ¥200, and into the almost bare compartment in her palm. Begrudgingly placing four ¥50 coins into the slot, the blonde almost wept. Hand trembling at the fact she had to use the last of her money on somebody else, Hozuki prodded button for the citrus water and watched the coil turn. And then stop.
“Hah?” She gawked at the bottle stuck on the middle shelf. Rage welling in her, she grabbed either side of the machine. Snarling, she had every intention of beating the crap out of it. Although, when she actually put her weight into the attack, she merely bounced off it. Staggering back, chest heaving and eyes wild, she stared at the hindrance. Mind overclocking, she tried to think of a way around the problem.
Refusing to be outdone by an inanimate object, she was ready to go for round two when a laugh sounded from behind her. Spinning around immediately, her eyes landed on the tall figure stood a couple of yards to her left. Startled by the lurker, Hozuki held her hands up as if she wasn’t vandalizing school property.
Stepping forward and into the light spilling through the window, a young man with soft silver hair pinned back on one side stared back at the woman. Piercings in his ears and a smirk on his pretty lips, the newcomer advanced for her.
Towering over her by a little more than a head, the male said nothing as he seemed to be looking into her mind. “I-I wasn’t…” She trailed off when he had stopped toe to toe with her. Unsure of what was happening, panic seeped past the unfamiliar scent clouding her.
Placing his hand on the vending machine beside her head, the stranger’s lilac irises bore down on hers. “Are you done? You’re in the way.” His tone was rough, and the way the words rolled from his mouth made him seem even more like a thug than his attire. “Did you hear me?” Expression twisting slightly, he asked.
Dumbfounded, she blinked up at the face close to hers. Nodding, she simply side-stepped out of the way. With that, the Hozuki watched the man pull his wallet from his trouser pocket. Eyes rolling into Yen signs at the flush of paper money stuffed into the main compartment, the woman’s heart sunk when she recalled her own balance.
Placing the correct amount into the slot, he pressed the button for the kiwi soda. Just like what had happened with Hozuki, his drink lodged in the metal coil. But unlike the woman, the ashen male did not fly off the handle at the happening.
One palm pushing the top of the machine backwards, Hozuki’s eyes shot to the gap growing between the bottom of the machine and the floor. Just about to hit the hindrance with the other hand, a blearing rock tune seeped through the male’s dark jeans. Retrieving his cell phone from his pocket with one hand, he answered and placed it between his ear and his shoulder. “Ouh,” his gruff tone cut through the stale air. “no, I’ll be there in about twenty minutes.” Pulling his now free hand back, he smacked the metal side to the right thrice. “Tell him he better not be short this month, or else I’m taking more than his girlfriend as compensation this time.”
Horrified by the words – and maybe even more-so at the cold attitude which accompanied them – Hozuki tensed up.
Finishing up with a flippant curse and a boyish laugh, the man ended the call and returned the device to his pocket. Giving a final smack to the side of the vender, he dropped the front to the ground. The sound of tumbling cut through the stale air and the containers fell into the compartment at the bottom.
Collecting the drinks which had dropped down, the stranger turned around. Eyes landing on the blonde still stood there, his brow raised. “This was yours, wasn’t it?” He looked at the lime coloured label of the bottle in his left hand.
Clicking his tongue off his teeth, the man cocked his head. “Do you have a speaking disability, or somethin’?”
Bristling, Hozuki frowned. “I do not.” Her voice shot out as coarse as usual.
Chuckling at the curt reply, the stranger tossed the bottle to the woman in an underarm motion. “Were you never taught not to walk around on your own after dark?”
She hadn’t been taught that. After all, she had lived a mostly sheltered life. When she lived with her family, she could and would wander around the gardens and woodland of her estate until dawn, and it wouldn’t make a difference. Shaking her head, she saw his expression drop.
Rubbing the back of his head, his brows furrowed. “Jus’ ‘cause this is a school, don’t mean that it’s safe for you to be wandering around by yourself.” Pointing around as the orange hues morphed into purples, he wobbled his head. “There are weirdo’s about.”
A single word fell from her lips, “Clearly,” and as soon as it did, she tensed in hopes that the remark had gone over his head. Unfortunately, it did not. “I didn’t mean to be rude.”
Coughing a laugh, he shrugged. “At least you’re not fawning.”
The space between his brows creased and he tilted his chin up. “Are you a transfer, or somethin’?”
Sorting a laugh, he popped the lid of the can in his hand. “Whatever.” Throwing his hand up in farewell, he turned around and began walking away. “Just make sure you get out of here before it gets too late. ‘Kay?”
Watching his back as he walked away, Hozuki tilted her head in confusion. Just as he rounded the corner, a wall of recollection hit her. ‘Ando-’ “Oh Shit!” Spinning around, she pelted down the hallway.
Updated: 15th April 216 - 18:08
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