- Hiro -
She flicked her hair to the side and looked up from her work, stretching out her sore arms as she glanced around the room. The members of the student council sat at different corners of the room, scribbling ferociously into binders and folders in order to meet the dead line tomorrow. She sank back into her chair and looked over to the President.
“Pres.” she announced, startling him out of his concentration. “I think we should give these guys a break.”
He looked up at her and sighed, nodding his head in agreement. “Everyone, we’re done for the day. Whatever you haven’t finished just leave it here for me to finish up later.”
The other members rushed to the table and piled their late assignments onto the table, exclaiming their praise and thanks. As they walked out the door, they turned around and cried, “Thanks Vice. You’re the best, a life saver!”
“Hey. Let’s go karaoke!” someone whispered. “I heard there was a great deal near-”
“If you have time to karaoke, stay here and finish your late work!” she interrupted, slamming her hands on the desk and standing up abruptly. Her eyes gleamed evilly as she stared the quadruplet down.
“Aw, c’mon Vice! Give us a break,” one complained.
“Yeah, we’ve already worked so hard today!” another moaned.
“Those documents were insane and inhumane punishments! Give us this one time off please?” the third pleaded.
“C’mon Pres., tell her to let us go! We were actually good and dedicated workers today,” the last persuaded.
The President sighed and buried his head in his hands and rubbed his eyes with stiff fingers. He peeked at the Vice and stared at her face, pondering the predicament.
“It’s Vice’s choice,” he concluded.
“Hear that?” she claimed, her eyes taking on a mischievous twinkle. She continued, a bit sarcastically, “But because you all did such a good job today, you can go. But promise me this: next time you fail to meet the next deadline, you better work your butts off, understand? Or you will suffer considerable consequences.”
“Yes ma’am! Thank you so much!” they cried as they wrestled to get through the door first.
As the four members left, the Vice President and the President were left alone in complete silence. She stared at the closed door and pursed her lips in thought. The President stood up and stacked the files together and turned toward her.
“You’re going to stay to finish up those documents?” she asked, returning his look.
“Yes! Someone’s got to finish it right?” he asked, giving her a small smile.
“You’re a good President,” she commented, returning his smile with a smirk of her own. “Keep up the good work! Oh! There’s something I have to finish. Do you think I could leave early for today as well?”
“Yes! Of course! Thank you for your work today!” he exclaimed, bowing his thanks.
“No problem, I should be thanking you. You do the most work around here! Well, see you later Pres,” she said, lifting her sling bag over her shoulder.
She walked to the door, opened it, and as she was about to walk out she looked over her shoulder and added, “I think you’re a really cool guy Pres. See you later!” She closed the door behind her and left the President alone.
He stared at the work load before him and sank into his chair with despair. He picked up his discarded pen and resumed his work without a single thought more.
As he left the school building, he noticed a figure sitting on the front steps and leaning against the stair railing. He walked over cautiously and started back in surprise as he realized the figure was the Vice President.
“Hey! Vice! Wake up! What are you still doing here at this time?” he asked as her eyelids fluttered open in surprise.
“President? You’re done with the work?” she asked, surprised to see him in front of her.
“What are you doing here still?” he repeated. “I thought you went home long ago!”
“I had to help the librarian finish sorting out some of the books that were returned recently. I figured I’d wait here for you so we could walk home together,” she explained, rubbing her eyes with her fingers. “I guess you worked on it later than I thought you would.”
He stared at her disbelief.
“What?” she said. “It’s dangerous to walk home by yourself you know.”
“No,” he answered. “It was dangerous for you to just sit here like that. Here let me help you up!”
He offered her his hand and pulled her up to standing position. She brushed the dirt from her skirt with quick flicks of her hand and thanked him.
“Well, since you’re still here, I’ll walk you home,” he offered. “Where do you live?”
“Just around the corner a little ways,” she answered, smiling broadly.
He returned her smile with a small one of his own and said, “That’s good, I live in that direction as well.”
As they walked quietly out of the school’s premise, she asked, “Did you manage to finish all the documents?”
“No,” he said, his head drooping as though in shame. “I was getting tired. I have a few more to go, so I just took it with me to finish later when I get home.”
“Oh, I see. Is there something I can help you with?” she offered, giving him her hand.
He brushed her hands away gently and said, “Nah, it’s okay. I can finish it later.”
“Are you sure? You already finished two-thirds the paper work. Let me help you! Even if it’s a little bit, I want to be able to contribute to this Student Council even more.”
He kept quiet and walked forward, only looking straight ahead. She fell silent and followed him as they turned a corner towards her neighborhood. Abruptly, her cell phone rang and startled the two of them.
“Sorry, but, can I take this?” she asked.
“Sure, I don’t mind,” he answered, looking away.
“Thank you,” she whispered as she flipped her phone open and pressed it to her ear. “Hello?”
“WHERE ARE YOU?!” a piercing voice blasted through the speakers.
The President looked at her in surprise and noticed that she held the cellphone an arm’s length away from her ear. The voice continued to rattle on as she gave him a remorseful look and bobbed her head in apology.
“ARE YOU THERE?” the voice called out in fury.
“I’m here mother. I’m on my way home. Don’t worry!” she cooed, soothingly.
“ALL ALONE? BY YOURSELF? HOW DARE YOU!” the voice snapped.
“My friend is walking me home mom. Calm down, please!”
“IS YOUR FRIEND A GUY OR A GIRL?!” the voice interrogated.
“It’s a guy mom. Don’t worry! I’ll be fine,” she answered, patiently.
“A guy huh?” the voice paused before asking nosily, “Is he cute?”
“Yes mom. He is,” she answered bluntly, smacking her forehead with her free hand.
She glanced sidelong at the President and saw a deep, red blush creep upon his cheeks. He turned away hurriedly and rushed forward so that his back was to her.
“Mom, you made him blush!” she reprimanded in mock horror.
“Show him to me! Invite him to a late dinner as a thank you for taking you home,” the voice commanded.
“No! Anyways, we’re here now. Come out and see him for yourself!” she snapped, her mother’s endless prattling finally getting on her nerves. “We’re here,” she announced, closing her phone with a small clack.
The president stopped and turned around, his head parallel to the ground beneath his shuffling feet. She placed her hands on the gate and paused. She tilted her head and looked at him in concern.
“Are you all right?” she asked, worriment creasing upon her forehead.
“Yes, I’m fine. It’s just that, no one’s talked about me in that way before. I guess my emotions got to me and fuddled up my mind,” he stuttered, looking everywhere but at her.
As she opened her mouth to speak, the door opened and the same voice in the receiver spoke aloud, “So that’s him?”
The Vice President rolled her eyes and said, “Yes, Mom, that’s him. Can you leave him alone please?”
“I just wanted to invite him to a late dinner,” her mom answered, walking to the gate and opening it. “Ask your mom if it’s okay.”
“Um…” he started, looking around. “I’m sure it’ll be fine.”
He stared at the neighboring house for a while.
“Then what are you waiting for? Come on in!” she exclaimed.
He jolted in surprise and allowed for her to guide the two of them into the house.
“Can I use your phone to call my mom?” he asked, when he had taken off his shoes and placed his bag down beside it.
“Yeah, it’s right behind you on the table,” the Vice President said, nodding in the direction of the phone.
As he dialed the numbers, she took off her shoes and deposited her bag beside the table on which the phone resided atop. She followed her mom into the kitchen and set up the table for three people. As the President walked into the kitchen, her mom brought out plates filled with meat and rice galore and placed it down on the table. They sat down and began to feast upon the food.
“So what is your name young man?” her mom asked.
“Just call him President,” the Vice President answered, shrugging her shoulders nonchalantly.
“Isn’t that just a title? He has a-”
“My name is-”
“I call him President, because it’s much easier to remember,” she interrupted the both of them and continued to stuff rice and meat into her mouth. “You should do the same mom, it’s much easier.”
“Wait, you don’t even want to know his name? How long have y’all known each other?” her mom asked, bewildered.
“Four years. We were both selected freshman year to be Student Council members of our class. To be honest, I don’t her name either,” he said, looking away in embarrassment.
“Hiro,” she interrupted her mother before she could’ve said anything. “My name’s Hiro, President.”
“Hiro? Isn’t that kind of boyish?”
“Hiroyuki!” her mother groaned in despair. “Why do you insist on giving people only half of your name? Do you not like the name I gave you?”
“It’s not that I don’t like it, I just like the name Hiro more,” she reasoned.
“I like it too, it’s simple,” he agreed, nodding his head in affirmation. “It sounds like ‘hero’ as well. I think it’s pretty cool.”
The mother and daughter duo looked at him with eyes wide open.
“Did I say something wrong?” he asked, his cheeks gaining a slight pinkish tone.
Hiro’s mother pulled her close and whispered, “He’s a winner. I like him. Are you dating him?”
She nearly choked on the food she was in the process of swallowing as the absurd idea sank into her mind. “There’s no way mom, he’s like my boss, it’ll be so weird,” she mumbled, spilling food from her mouth onto the tablecloth.
She extracted herself from her mother’s grip and returned to her previous position and continued to munch on her meal.
“Um, did I do something wrong?” he asked, shyly, looking at the two of them with concern.
“No, you didn’t,” exclaimed both mother and daughter.
Hiro quickly swallowed her food and said, “Since you’re here, let’s finish those last few documents before you go home. I’m here to help, so let’s get it done.”
He nodded his head, hesitantly, and stood to get his backpack. She followed him and stood beside him as he opened up his backpack and took out several large binders packed full with sheaves of paper.
“Only a few left? This is a whole week’s load of work!” she exclaimed in disbelief.
“If you help me, we can finish this and start on next month’s management,” he claimed, handing her one of the many binders.
“Let’s go to my room where my mom won’t prowl around behind us,” she told him, eyeing her mother warily.
She led the way up the stairs and turned a corner toward her room. She nudged the door open with her foot and walked inside.
“We can sit on the floor here and work on these documents,” she said, pointing at a low table.
He sat down and placed the binders atop the table and opened the top one. He began scribbling and Hiro followed suit. They sat in silence writing and filling out the empty spaces that the rest of the Student Council members hadn’t filled in. After a few hours, the pair had completed every single one of the late binders.
“Phew. Looks like we finally managed to finish these paper works,” Hiro sighed in relief.
“Yea,” he agreed. “I’ll submit these first thing tomorrow.”
They both went quiet and sat there awkwardly. “I should be heading home,” he said, standing up.
“Ah, yes! I’ll see your tomorrow President!” she exclaimed, standing up as well. “I’ll walk you to the door.”
Hiro helped him put the binders back into the backpack and led the way down the stairs to the front door. She held it open for him to walk through and followed behind, closing the door after them.
“I’ll walk with you to your home,” she offered, opening the gate.
“Why would you do that? Cause then I would have to walk you back because it’s dangerous for you to walk around this late at night,” he inquired, raising an eyebrow at her suggestion.
“But it’s dangerous for you as well,” she insisted.
“I definitely live close to here. I recognize this street. I should be fine. Don’t worry,” he reassured, patting her on the back. “Thanks for today, you were of really great help.”
She smiled and replied, “No problem. As the Vice President, it’s my duty to help you.”
He smirked, turned to leave, and said, “See you tomorrow.”
She leaned against the gate and watched his fleeting shadow. As she turned to leave, she saw him pass through the gates of the one story house right next to hers.
“HUH?!” she yelled in disbelief.
She heard footsteps racing towards her as she stood there in mute astonishment.
“What’s wrong?” his voice called to her as he shook her anxiously. “Are you okay?”
“You… you live right next to me?” she asked in shock.
“Well, I guess I do,” he answered, scratching his head sheepishly.
“You didn’t even notice?”
“I did, I just didn’t want to say anything,” he answered, chuckling slightly.
She shook her head in bewilderment. “Wow,” she said. “Just wow.”
“If you’re okay, I need to get home. I opened the door, saw my mom, and then heard you scream. I didn’t even have time to greet her because I rushed over to see if you were okay.”
“Should I come over and apologize for bothering her and you?”
“There’s no need. I’m sure she’ll understand if I explain to her,” he assured her, nodding his head.
“Okay. Sorry for troubling you! I’ll see you tomorrow,” she said, guiltily.
He bobbed his head in agreement and turned to leave. She watched him for a while then she herself turned into her own house. She entered her house and closed the door softly as her mom appeared through the entrance to the kitchen.
“He left already?” her mother asked, slightly disappointed.
“Yeah,” she said. “Apparently he lives right next to us.”
“Really?” her mother pressed, her interest peaked again. “Now you have a full opportunity to make him your boyfriend!”
Hiro stared at her, annoyed, “Not going to happen, mom.”
“Hey. You never know. You say that now, but then you’ll be dating him in the next week.”
She sighed and mumbled, “Most likely not. I hardly know the guy. He’s my ‘boss’ too, so there’s no way that can happen. Plus, he’s kind of popular with the girls in our class. My looks can’t even compare theirs.”
“The excuses you’re giving! You may not look as good as those girls, but you have Student Council time with him. Use those times to get to know him,” her mom insisted.
“Mom, please. We have constant work to fill out. If we even had to finish the work at home, there’s no way I can waste time talking to him just to get to know him.”
“Hmph. You just don’t want to talk to him,” her mother sniffed.
“Mom,” she sighed. “I’ll give it a try when Student Council work isn’t so stifling, okay?”
“Good,” her mother agreed, nodding her head and turning around, returning to where she just was.
Hiro shrugged her shoulders and climbed up to the second floor to her room. She opened up the window in her room and looked down at the house across from hers. There he was, standing in his room while looking at something on the desk before the window. She kept still and continued to watch until he finally looked up and noticed her.
She waved at him and smiled brightly. He returned her wave and smiled back at her. The door opened behind him suddenly and a woman appeared. He turned around quickly to address the woman. Hiro took this moment to close her window and draw the curtain across, pretending to organize her things as her mother walked into her room.
“Sleeping now? No homework that needs to be done?” her mother asked, frowning slightly.
“Yes. I’m tired from today’s activities. Good night mother,” she said, giving her mother a slight peck on the cheek, before climbing into bed and pulling the covers over her head.
“You aren’t going to change out of your uniform?” the mother asked, anxious.
“I’m too tired, mom, I’ll wear the spare one to school tomorrow. Good night and sweet dreams, mama!”
Her mother stood for a moment and looked at her daughter’s curled form upon the bed and sighed. She turned and left, closing the door behind her. Hiro bolted up straight in bed and was about to call for her mother when the door reopened.
“I forgot,” her mother said, pulling the door all the way open.
As the light from the hallway spilled in, Hiro sighed with relief and whispered, “Thanks mom,” sinking back down into the comfort of her bed.
Her mother stared worriedly at her, but said nothing and quickly left, dialing a number on her cellphone as she went.