- Joint Challenge
- A deep breath of relief.
- It tasted bitter as I drew it, but as I exhaled, I couldn't feel anything but the sensation of reprieve.
- Here it was. My new home. Our new home. A new beginning, a fresh start. A clean slate. It felt like all the things that had happened in the past had been wiped away. I placed my hands on my hips as I looked to the tall roof stretching across the walls that would house our new memories.
- Looking over my shoulder, I saw Akira's crimson eyes peering through the side mirror to make ensure the hauling truck was lined up properly so that we could start carrying things into the house.
- Yep. A house. A big-ass house.
- We had all pitched together to get this house. Of course, it was a huge undertaking for a handful of highschool graduates like us... but we had the financial backings to do it. It'd cost us each a little more than a single person's worth in rent and we'd have a room for each of us.
- Six bedrooms, the basement converted into a dual bedroom for Kenji and I. 'A MOTHER FUCKIN' MAN-CAVE, CRIPPLE DICK! THIS WILL BE GLORIOUS', were Kenji's words. Originally there was only four rooms, but with six months of construction thanks to Jigoro, Mutou, my own father, Lilly's dad and Kenji, we had managed to portion out three more with more than a little bit of elbow grease.
- If it weren't for Lilly and Shizune's parents having money to throw around and connections with real estate agents, we probably wouldn't have had this kind of chance. In fifteen years, this place would be legally ours. No more mortgage. And guess who the deed was signed to?
- Hanako. Ikezawa.
- I suppressed a small laugh. We decided it'd be the best decision, because she'd be the most fair and scared to upset her ring of friends that she had gathered. I couldn't imagine the timid and caring girl ever slighting anyone. She didn't want to lose any of us, her newly found friends.
- I wonder if I could be the one to thank for that?
- I mean, I had become close to each of these girls over my first and last year at Yamaku. Lilly and Hanako, Shizune and Misha, Emi and Rin. I had drawn them out of their own circles and introduced them to one another. Helped mend broken ties in the case of Lilly and Shizune and even introduced new friends, like Hanako to Rin and Misha to Emi.
- We were all damn happy. Each of us had our own grins on our faces.
- Yamaku sort of felt like a home, but it was missing something. It might've been the compassion that this new home was going to provide for us. For all the people we had found who were willing to accept one another, there were always those who seemed willing to scorn us for no reason.
- But that was all in the past. I turned around, seeing the entire entourage behind me. Some had driven with Akira in the truck, others in their own cars and vehicles. "Ready for this, guys?"
- Each of them nodded, Emi leaping into the air, pumping her fist. "More than ever!" Rin nodded distantly, that peculiar smile on her lips and a glow behind those faint green eyes. Hanako nodded. "Y-yep." Lilly had her cane between her folded hands. "Of course, Hisao."
- That just left Kenji, Shizune and Misha.
- Kenji was chewing a stubbed cigar, wearing nothing but a wife-beater underneath the dark green blazer we used to wear at Yamaku. Misha signs as I speak to Shizune, who closes her eyes confidently, signing back to her. The trademark glasses adjustment and a 'Wahaha!' from Misha.
- "More than ever! And if we set up our rooms faster than you and Kenji, you'll have to play a penalty game~" I grin at their bravado and even Kenji buys into the challenge.
- "Like fuckin' hell we'll let you two beat us! We're the last vestiges of hu-MAN-ity, damn it! We won't fall to some pink drill-head and the deaf girl who wears glasses. Why the hell are you even wearing glasses? Are you going blind too? Dayum, the stork beat you with a two by four before he dropped you on Jigoro's head, huh?"
- Misha signs as she listens and Shizune decks him in the chest. We all laugh and he glares at her angrily for a moment, instead of retaliating he deigns to light the remainder of his cigar.
- "P-please d-don't smoke that inside the h-house, Kenji." He glances to her as he exhales a plume of smoke. "Yeah yeah, whatever ba-" Then he pauses as Hanako pouts at him. She knows what she's going to say and her eyes are telling him its hurtful. I think he was going for bacon or some variant, but then it clicks. "-dass. Badass. Badass landlord. Badass bro landlord. Yeah." He's trying, at least.
- It was one of our conditions for giving him the perfect cover to hide from the feminists. 'What feminist would expect an anti-feminist to be hiding in a group of women? It's perfect, because all of these girls are our spies, Hisao. We've got this shit under lock and key.'
- Either way, we all pulled open the hauling truck. Most of the house had already been furnished, but it was just lacking our personal things and such to add the finishing touch to it. Although most of the adults offered to help us move the last of our stuff in, we all politely declined.
- This was our new place, we wanted to put the finishing touches on it ourselves.
- Kenji and I started dragging out some of the heavier things like dressers and armoires, while the others opted for lighter things. Emi was surprisingly strong, able to carry some things that probably weighed more than her. Lilly and Hanako worked together to carry things and Misha and Shizune both carried things on their own as well. I guess all that festival work put some muscle on them, heh.
- I turned towards Rin, who was looking a bit down. "What's up Rin?"
- She glances towards me a little forlornly, her expression reminding me of fog on an early morning. Impossible to see through.
- "It's not really what's up, Hisao. If things were up, none of us could get the furniture inside." I nodded slowly. "Sometimes I wonder what it'd be like if I could levitate things. You know, with my mind. Or maybe something else. Telepathy is kind of overused. Maybe if my tongue had telepathic powers? That'd be more interesting, I think..."
- I arch an eyebrow at her. I think I understand where she's going with this, as odd as it is.
- I turn to the truck, finding a somewhat light bag. Turning back to her, I extend it. "Open."
- "Open what?" I point to her mouth. "Huh?"
- "I know you want to be a part of this as much as anyone else. Here's something for you to carry, it'd be a big help if you could." She smirks a little, closing her eyes.
- "I'm going to make a big painting for the living room. Lips and luggage." She laughs as she clenches the handle with her teeth, taking care not to bite my fingers. "Not too heavy, right?" She shakes her head.
- "Nawt heffy enuff." She informs me, turning towards the front door to bring the bag inside.
- I smile as Kenji and I start lugging the dressers and such into the building. Soon our new home would be complete.
- Everything's been moved into the house and we're all sitting in the living room, on one of the new couches as everything lays scattered around, not yet settled in the wake of the chaos that was getting the last of everything in.
- Lilly is laughing, telling anecdotes about where she works as a barista and serves us some iced tea to quench our thirsts. I sip my glass and place it down, not saying anything while everyone laughs and enjoys the atmosphere of our home.
- "I'll be right back." I say, standing up and walking out of the building. Some of them inquire as to what I'm up to, but I ignore them as I exit the front door. The real estate agent hadn't taken the sign down that proudly displayed 'SOLD' on it.
- Valley & Golde, the name of the two owners who ran the agency was displayed above the smaller text reading 'Real Estate', with the logo being soft valley filled with golden clovers.
- I pulled it out of the ground, rummaging around outside in the toolbox we had brought for a hammer and a nail.
- I walk into the house and grin at all the confused faces that greet me when I walk in with a hammer, nail and sign.
- "Wahaha! What are you doing Shicchan?" Misha asks. Shizune and everyone else looks just as curious. I turn away from them and look at the space over the small fireplace we have inset into the wall. Carefully, I line up the nail with the top of the sign and the wall where I know there's a stud.
- With a few deliberate swings, the nail sinks into the wall. I'll put a frame around it one day, maybe Rin can paint directly on it. We'll make it ours, for sure. This was a symbol for all of us; of our victory and finally finding a place we felt we were accepted in. Where life could improve, rather than stagnate.
- "There we go. Welcome home, everyone."
mehkanik Feb 16th, 2012 1,172 Never
Not a member of Pastebin yet? Sign Up, it unlocks many cool features!
RAW Paste Data