- Hiro -
Hiro awoke to the morning sunlight flashing down upon her sleepy eyes. She covered them with an arm and rolled over onto her side. She sighed contentedly at the warmth her bed covers provided her. Just as she was about to sink back into oblivion, her source of heat was whipped away, leaving her shivering in the cold winter morning.
“Wake up now or you’ll be late for school today,” her mother snapped, tugging at Hiro’s arm in order for her to get out of bed.
Hiro moaned and lifted herself into a sitting position. She rubbed her eyes with a closed fist and yawned.
“Now!” her mother yelled into her ears.
She jumped in surprise and staggered out of bed, stammering, “Okay, okay!”
She dragged her legs over to the bathroom to brush her teeth and wash her face. She stared, sleepy-eyed, into the mirror and patted her cheeks to wake herself up even more. She shook her head at the failed attempt and returned to her room to change into her spare school uniform.
Rushing down the stairs, she called, “Is my breakfast and lunch ready mom?”
“Come and get it,” her mother returned.
She barged into the kitchen, grabbed her lunch and stuffed it into her sling backpack, then reached for her breakfast. She bit into her buttered toast, chewed quickly, then said, “Bye, mom, I’ll see you later.”
As she ran out the door, her mother yelled, “I’ll be gone for a few weeks!”
But it was too late, Hiro was already gone.
She arrived at the classroom seconds before the bell rang to start class. She took her seat in the back of the class by the window and pulled out her notebook and pen.
“Good morning class, today, we’re going to take notes on the History of…” the teacher’s voice droned.
Hiro stared silently forward, but didn’t even bother to process the words. All she did was copy what was on the board. Her hand never stopped moving as she transferred what was in front of her onto her paper.
When the lunch bell rang, she sat back, satisfied with her notes. The group of haughty girls in her class started their usual routine of swarming over the President, but as usual, he rejected their lunch invitations politely and walked away. She watched on silently as she always did, but this time, she smirked at the girls’ rejection for the nth time.
One of the girls noticed and barreled her way towards Hiro. “What are you looking at? Wipe that horrendous smirk off your face. Just because you’re close to the President doesn’t mean that he actually likes you. Don’t get your hopes up, because, in the end, they’ll just be stomped to the ground by us. If you even think about it, remember that you’re competing with us, the top beauties in this class.”
The girl in front of Hiro snickered and chuckled to herself, her body shaking with silent laughter.
“What’s so funny?” demanded the leader of the “so-called beauty group”.
The girl in front of Hiro shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly, but continued to laugh in her strange and quiet way.
The leader grabbed the front of the girl’s shirt and jerked her out of the seat. Hiro stood up quickly and yanked the leader’s arm from the girl’s shirt, separating the two.
“Now hold on! Fighting is not permitted on campus,” she warned, lowering her voice.
“That girl is being disrespectful to her superiors,” the leader snapped, smoothing back her hair in a cool and lax way.
“Students are able to voice their opinions. If she thinks you’re so called beauty group is a joke and laughable, then she has the right to do so,” Hiro reproached, menacingly. “If you have a problem with that, take it up with the principal.”
The leader narrowed her eyes in contempt and snarled.
“I will remember this day, the day you took the side of a commoner and not the rich and beautiful me. The principal shall hear about this,” she threatened, turning swiftly on her heels and leaving the room.
“The situation is over,” Hiro announced. “Return to what you were doing before or leave us alone.”
The remaining students quickly left the room, leaving Hiro and the girl behind.
Hiro sighed and said, “They probably went to spread some misleading gossip. Anyways, are you alright? You’re not hurt are you?”
The girl shook her head and sat back into her seat. Hiro sank into the desk beside the girl’s. “You’re awfully quiet after what just happened,” she commented.
The girl looked at Hiro and smiled sadly. She pointed to her throat and waved her hands in dejection.
Hiro stared and pondered for a moment before gasping, “I’m so sorry! I didn’t know!”
The girl took Hiro’s hand and began to write on her palm.
“It’s fine. I’d rather people think I’m too shy to speak, or something like that.”
“But why would you do that?” Hiro questioned. “Don’t you get lonely sometimes? Or bullied?”
The hand wrote, “The same would happen if I told everybody. Besides, being alone is better than being scorned.”
Hiro nodded her head in slow agreement and said, “I guess you’re right.”
“Thanks for helping me and potentially saving my life,” the hand wrote.
“No problem, that’s my job as the Student Council Vice President,” she said smugly.
“You’re the Vice President?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Oh, you must be a really busy person. Paperwork must be over piling in your office,” the girl wrote, smiling in sympathy.
“It is, but our members are very diligent, sometimes. The President is a very hardworking person. I guess, in a way, he motivates us to finish the documents faster,” she told the girl. “Oh! Where are my manners, I haven’t even told you my name yet. It’s Hiroyuki, but please, call me Hiro.”
The girl’s fingers moved swiftly over Hiro’s palm, spelling out, “My name is-”
“Are you alright Hiro?!” a voice shouted, barging into the room surprising both of the girls.
Hiro turned around and saw the President standing there breathless.
She nodded her head and explained, “I straightened out the situation. Things should be fine now.”
He came up to her and grabbed her shoulders, shaking her ferociously.
“I’m glad you’re okay, but things are not okay! Sashen told her father about the incident, who is now reproaching the principal because of your actions.”
Hiro stared at him blankly and said, “Well, that was fast. I’ll manage somehow.”
He returned her look and gave an exasperated sigh.
“No you won’t! He’ll suspend you, maybe even expel you! You, my friend, you are not going to be okay. You’re up against one of the richest supporters of this school! It’s like you against an army of over a thousand soldiers, clad with mass weapons of destruction! There’s no chance-”
Hiro shoved her hand over his mouth, cutting off his words. “I’ve never heard you speak so much and so fast before,” she commented. “I thank you, but I’ll deal with the situation at hand by myself. There’s no need in getting you and her,” she motioned to the girl, “Into this mess.”
She felt a tug at her hand and looked at the girl. She was writing something on a piece of paper that said, “I’ll be by your side. Someone’s got to teach those people that they can’t rule over us anymore.”
“I respect and understand what you’re trying to say, but that isn’t the way to solve this right now, I’m sorry,” she apologized.
The girl and the President both rose to add more in their protest, but were interrupted when the door to the classroom slammed open and Sashen strutted in.
“I told you of what was to happen, and now it has. The principal is requesting that you go see him, immediately.”
Hiro stood up tall and straight, her head held high. She turned to look at her two companions and smiled, reassuring.
“I’ll come back, most definitely.”
The girl scribbled quickly on the paper and held it up for Hiro to see.
“You sound like you’re going to die.”
The President demanded, “I’m coming with you Hiro. As President of the Student Council, and as your leader, I cannot allow you to go alone!”
Sashen smiled with evil sweetness and purred, “Oh, but dear President, my father asked and specifically requested that he sees her and only her. If you were to show up along her side, who knows what my father would do.”
Hiro agreed, saying, “She’s right. What’s the harm in meeting him and explaining things to him?”
And so saying, she turned and quickly left the room before another argument could hold her back. Sashen smirked and turned to follow Hiro out of the room. Together, and with Sashen’s gang trailing behind, they made their way to the principal’s office.
“You are very brave to go by yourself. You should’ve taken the President’s offer,” Sashen snickered.
“I am not like you. I don’t need someone to back me up. I don’t need to depend on others like you do with your father,” Hiro returned, coolly.
Sashen grunted, annoyed, but she couldn’t respond with a good reproach. They had reached the principal’s office and Hiro rapped on the wooden door. She waited patiently to be let in, her heart thumping rapidly in her chest.
The door opened and Hiro walked in, followed only by Sashen. The room would’ve been very bright had it not been for the fact that a heavy curtain barricaded the lights’ entry into the room. It significantly dimmed the room into what it was now.
“Have a seat, Miss Hiroyuki,” an icy voice ordered.
“I preferred to be called Hiro, sir,” she answered, but sat down into the chair nonetheless.
“It doesn’t matter what you want to be called. What matters is what you told and did to my daughter,” he snapped, his hands slammed upon the desk with a thundering clap.
Hiro sat stonily and gazed around the room. She spied a small form huddling in the corner farthest from Sashen’s father. Hiro smirked and thought that she would’ve done the very same had she not been trying to act cool and composed.
“Wipe that smile off your face,” he snarled.
The smile disappeared from her face and all was left was a vacant expression.
“What is there to talk of, sir?” she asked. “Your daughter was the start of it all.”
“And how?” he asked, interrupting his daughter’s words without even a care.
“This school has given the students the right to speak our mind if we wanted to, correct sir?” she questioned.
“That’s right. And what of it?” he inquired, his icy tone becoming icier.
“A fellow classmate of ours expressed herself, which is what she has the right to do, and yet your daughter dared to strike out at the classmate. I ask you sir, is your daughter’s actions right? Or isn’t it offending this school’s motto?”
Sashen’s father hovered over the desk and pondered her questions.
“You are right, so it seems. My daughter would indeed be disregarding and staining the school’s motto.”
“But! This doesn’t mean you are free to go, Hiro,” he added, a triumphant smile appeared on his face. “Though it was your job to stop the fight, it doesn’t give you the right to be rude to my daughter.”
“I wasn’t being rude, if I may say so sir,” she explained. “I was merely telling your daughter the school’s rules in a tone that would make her understand. I’m sure you would’ve used the same tone in which to direct your daughter.”
“Only I am permitted to use such tones to her, you are not,” he snapped.
“If I remember correctly, another of our mottos is to treat each other, no matter the background, as equals. If she thinks she is a noble, then so am I. Isn’t that right?”
Sashen’s father sighed and responded, “I like your wit. You are very determined to win, aren’t you?”
“I am not determined in anything I do. I am merely answering your questions. That is all,” she answered.
“Enough! You may leave. I have something to discuss with the principal,” he said, turning his back to them.
Hiro stood up, bowed, and retreated from the room, squinting her eyes at the sudden light from the doorway. She looked around her and noticed the President and the mute girl standing aside, waiting for her. She walked over to them and waved.
The girl took her hand and scribbled, “Are you alright?”
The President took her other hand and clasped it tightly, ranting, “How’d it go? Did they expel you? I need you to be with me to set the other members in the Student Council straight!”
Hiro smiled and said, “I’m fine. I was actually complimented by Sashen’s dad.”
The two in front of her paused and stared at her in disbelief.
As they opened their mouths to press her, a voice cut through and snapped, “I won’t forget this day!”
Hiro turned around and stared at Sashen, who folded her arms and cocked her head in a proud fashion.
“I’ll make sure you regret messing with me. I’ll take away everything that you hold dear. I’ll make sure you suffer! I’ll make-”
“Try all you want. There is nothing that I hold a strong love to,” Hiro responded, chilly. “There are things that I cherish, but because I don’t want to lose them, I don’t associate myself with them.”
Sashen narrowed her eyes in extreme hate, but bit her tongue and turned around.
She looked over her shoulder one last time and said, “But when the time comes and you really do love something, I’ll be there to take it from you.”
As Hiro watched her walk away, she muttered to herself, “I’d like to see you try.”
She turned back around to face the President and the mute girl, who inquired, “What happened?”
“Nothing really happened, don’t worry about it. I just said what I thought should be said and he let me go after complimenting me,” she answered, shrugging her shoulders.
The girl took her hand and wrote, “I don’t think it was that simple.”
Hiro sighed and continued, “You’re right, it was very stressful trying to retain the same facial expression. My heart was all fluttering and I was super nervous.”
The hand wrote, “It must’ve been so nerve wrecking!”
“It was at some point,” she admitted. “But I guess eventually my anger took over my other feelings and I started to defend what I did with a pissed off attitude.”
The president shook her shoulders firmly and pressed, “So you’re still going to attend school right?”
She nodded her head and said, “Aren’t we late to class? C’mon. Let’s get going.”
The girl clung to her hand and followed her and the President as they departed for the classroom.