The Story Of Shiraishi Mai
If Ikuta Erika has piano Shiraishi Mai had softball.
She doesn’t remember what her reason for playing in the first place but ever since she was introduced to the bat, the glove, and the ball, she was hooked.
She was often jealous of her young step-sister who seems to be able to do anything while the only thing that she could proudly say she’s good at is cooking which doesn’t actually have any effects since her father hires a certified chef to cook for them. Thus is why she was really happy when she realized that she is incredibly good in softball, within her short time of joining the school team she had climb up from substitute to the ace pitcher.
They had their share of wins as well as losses but one thing for sure Shiraishi was indeed enjoying every second of her time.
She was only a first-grade middle-high schooler when she managed to bring her team to win the national match. Back then she had stayed up late to wait for her father to come home so she could show him the picture of her holding up the big trophy. That’s something that she always did whenever she won something and just every other day her father would nod while saying “congratulation dear, it’s good to have a hobby but don’t forget about your studies okay?”
Then the teenager would nod proudly as she asks her father to see her next match which will be replied with a simple, “let’s see what I can do.”
He had never come.
However, she has her little sister who had never missed the chance to see every single match she had even though the young girl doesn’t actually have much spare time left from balancing her advanced studies and piano lessons. That’s why Shiraishi herself also tries to support her as much as she can.
In her family, there’s an unwritten rule where the school should always go first, followed by business related events and finally their hobby related activity or as she put it something that’s not academic related. Not only the company, their own family also often held events, be it charity or some high-class dinner with other important figures- they seem to have held them all. Furthermore, if this kind of event ever held outside their school hours it is a must for either Shiraishi or Ikuta to be present.
Ikuta is often in a tough position since usually this kind of thing is held on the evening when 90% of piano competition take place, this is where Shiraishi comes in. She is always present whenever the younger girl couldn’t, even though if someone asks she would not hesitate to say that she actually prefer locking herself inside her own room than spending a mere second in the event.
Nonetheless, her love for the softball turns upside down she tried to bring the second national trophy for her team. It was mostly her fault, she was too fixated on the trophy that she forgot to actually take care of herself. She wasn’t listening when her coach told them to get a rest from 2 days before the match, resulting herself to broke down from exhaustion on the day of the match.
She had to spend a few days in the hospital bed after that and that’s actually the first time she had ever spent the night at the hospital. Her opinion on this matter was that the hospital bed is really uncomfortable, not to mention she’s quite scared of the building atmosphere, so she was pretty much hating every second of her time there.
On the next day her teammates, as well as her coach, had come to visit her. At first, she was really happy to see them because no one tells her anything about the result of their last match but her excitement didn’t last long because unfortunately, they lost the match.
Upon hearing the news Shiraishi apologized for her negligence while in turn, her teammates tried to convince her that their loss wasn’t her fault and they could still try to win the game next year. Her father who was also there successfully worsen the situation by horribly yelled at her coach and accused him responsible for what’s happening to her, he wasn’t even listening when she tried to explain that it was all her own fault.
Shiraishi Mai felt nothing but terrible.
After that accident, she decided quit the softball team and started to distance herself from her former teammates, but she made a lot of new friends whom mostly comes from the same family background as hers and tried to live her life easily like them. It was quite fun. However, at tough times she still found herself back in her backyard and swing her old bat to relax her mind.
Around the first month of her last middle school year, her father had brought her to see a stage play that was directed by his old friend. She originally was someone who thinks that stage play is lame, yet in just a few minutes from when the play start her opinion of it change drastically. She became curious, on how the actors seem to be able to keep their mistakes low, how they need to stick to the script yet make it as natural as it could be, how on the stage they need to be someone else that probably have a totally opposite personality from their selves.
After the play ends she was allowed to go to the backstage and before she knows it she had already asked so many questions straight to the play director. It was probably a little bit too many than normal because the man raised his eyebrows in surprise, totally wasn’t expecting that kind of interest to come from someone who’s not even 15 years old, heir of a big company, no less. Seeing this the man offered her to attend a summer stage acting class, she quickly looked at her father asking for his permission.
“It’s fine as long as you don’t neglect your other duties,” he said and that was enough to make her happy enough to the point of giving her father a shoulder massage once they are back home.
On the stage, Shiraishi Mai found something to be passionate about. Something that she could put both mind and heart into it. She might be one of the high school cliques that will get some of the people clucked their tongue in disagreement whenever they see her but once she stepped into the theater building she had become completely someone else.
This is also what led Shiraishi to start giving more effort on her studies. She might not be Erika who manages to leap several years on school, but she could at least stop skipping her classes and pay more attention to the lessons which successfully helps her grade to climb up and stay among the top 5 on every single exam.
Back then, she realized that being a top scorer does have some perks, like how it becomes much easier for her to flirt with a girl in a study session or how easy she could excuse herself from a family event with exam preparation reason. Not to mention that once she finally gets together with Nishino, the girl sometimes mentions how she adored her strength to balance hard work on studies and stage performances and that pretty much help boosting Shiraishi’s pride.
There’s also another reason for Shiraishi to suddenly considered high grade as something important.
Ever since she was young her father already planned to have her studying at overseas university, preferably in the United States- this is the reason he always tells her to prioritize her studies. Back then she didn’t dare to turn down her father hopes on continuing her studies on the field that could actually benefit her to succeed Nogizaka. However, she also realized that maybe if she’s smart enough she could be enrolled in a prestigious performing arts academy while balancing the business studies and her father would totally have nothing against that.
For a moment she did.
But after several terms passed it started to become a problem for her. In the morning till late afternoon she’d be studying in university. Then she’d quickly move to the academy till a little bit past midnight since they always have a play to practice after class. After that, despite her body screaming in need of rest and her eyes could barely stay opened she still need to do her homework and studies the play script. She basically has no time left to rest.
So after several months contemplating her options, she decided to take a risk and left the university to focus on the performing arts only. Of course, her father was beyond angry, he even stopped giving her financial support. However, Shiraishi wasn’t giving up, she moved to a much smaller apartment and try to earn some money by her own with part time jobs while depending on scholarship for tuition.
Nevertheless, it’s even harder than she thought it would be.
“DAMN IT!” she cursed as she crunches the paper on her hand into a ball. She leans her back on the cold brick wall, slowly slides down until her bottom touches the cold pavement of the city. Her hands reached the phone on her jeans pocket.
There’s several missed calls and also one new message that she could probably guess from who without even needing to open it. However paying attention to them is not her purpose right now, she quickly went to the contact list and scroll through it before without any second thought press the call button.
After her two unsuccessful attempts, her call is finally getting answered.
‘Shiraishi~ what a surprise! For what do I have the honor to receive this call?’
“Stop playing dumb, I’ve seen the cast of our next play.”
‘Ah about that…’ the way the guy voice trailed away at the end managed to hit Shiraishi right on the nerve.
“I did every single thing that you want me to, yet this is what I GOT?” she started to increase her volume, “YOU PROMISE ME THE LEAD, REMEMBER? I DON’T EVEN GET A PROMINENT ROLE.”
‘Ssh~ ssh~ Shiraishi you’re going to kill my eardrum. Look, something happened. We probably need to talk about this in person instead of the phone.’
“I don’t want your bullshit reason,” she fumed before ending the call.
Shiraishi hugs her knees in order to calm herself from frustration. The thing is, she needs to get a lead role or at least the main antagonist in order to have the academy continue her scholarship. She already did every single thing that she could, even to the point of trying to pull some strings from behind.
However, none of them work.
Her phone rings- disrupting her from her thought. She glanced at the screen and contemplates for a moment before decided to answer it.
“I’m giving you 20 seconds to explain,” she muttered.
‘Right. I swear I already nominated your name for the lead role, but it got rejected. I tried to switch you into other roles, but it always got rejected. They say that for some reasons you’re not allowed to get a major part for now. Look, you might need to talk to the head of the program. This is fishy, I think. Because everyone knows that you’ve been getting major roles all this time and from my professional opinion I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t do it this time. I’m really sorry, okay? But they left me with no choice.’
Shiraishi sighed, trying not to think about one particular reason for that to happen.
“Thanks, I’ll be fine,” she said as she hangs up once more.
After several minutes sitting in silence, she decided to stand up and enter the door beside her, stepping into the Japanese restaurant where she works part-time. The clock has gone past 11PM which means that it’s already the time for them to close the business for the day, Shiraishi looked around to make sure that there are no guests left before turning off several lights in the room and turn ‘we’re open’ sign into ‘sorry, we’re close’.
“Shiraishi-san? You’re still here?” came a woman voice from behind her, “I told you that you don’t need to work until so late on weekdays, didn’t I?”
“It’s fine, Shinuichi-san. Nowadays, I need all the extra money that I can get,” she smiled bitterly as she started to close the blind in the room, “and also, if I may, can I get extra work hours? To tell the truth, my savings are not enough to cover school tuition next term.”
Shiraishi looked the older woman who is looking at her with mouth parted open. Shiraishi herself knows that her part-time working hours is already longer than what her academy permits, but she couldn’t help but hope that the restaurant manager could somewhat help her more.
“I can’t give you more work hours. However, I can promote you to the kitchen. I noticed that you cook very well, so maybe that could suit you. It also pays more than being a waitress. What do you think?”
“It will be great. Thank you very much, I’ll do my best,” Shiraishi said while bowing several times to show the older woman her gratefulness.
“No need to do that, Shiraishi-san, you’ve been a great help around here.” The woman shook her off as she intently checked the cashier monitor, “now, let’s get this done so we could go home, shall we?”
At night the restaurant have 3 waiters and 2 other person who only does cleaning and this number doesn’t include the people who work in the kitchen, so when it comes to wrapping it up and closing the place they could do it quickly. In less than 15 minutes Shiraishi had already changed and hung her uniform on the clothes hanger. She didn’t say anything other than a polite ‘see you tomorrow’ to the other coworkers before stepping out from the building.
The walk from her workplace to the small flat that she’s renting takes around 30 minutes, it could be faster if she takes the subway, but it has been around a month since she realized that saving subway cost will do her good.
While walking her eyes sticks to her phone screen, staring at the red sign near her sister skype account picture, she sighed before trying to dial it.
Of course, no answer.
She was considering what she should type in the chat box when a call comes in. She inspects the contact for a moment before sliding her finger on the answer button. It’s not from her sister but also someone else that she needs to talk with.
Her girlfriend, Nishino Nanase.
“I’m still on the way back home, so I can’t do video call right now, will this be okay?” She speaks before the caller could say anything.
‘It’s okay. Well, I went to your house this morning,’ the caller admitted.
“Was Erika there?”
‘She was. We had breakfast together. We didn’t really talk much, she was preparing for a class quiz,’ both of them stay silence for a short moment before the one in Tokyo talked again, ‘have you- talked to her after that?’
“I haven’t- She is not answering my calls nor read the chats that I’ve sent. Did you try to talk to her about what happened?” Shiraishi free hand rubbed her temple, realizing that her problem with her sister is probably also one of the causes of her constant headache.
‘I did… She said for the moment she doesn’t want to think about the competition,’ Shiraishi could tell by her slower pace of speaking that the other is also worried, ‘Maiyan, what is going on?’
Shiraishi stays silence, not knowing how to answer the question.
She basically has promised to come back to Japan for a few days this week. Her family is having their annual business partnership gathering event that her father couldn’t attend because he’s overseeing an urgent project overseas while her sister is having a piano competition on the exact same day, which is why the task of being the host of the dinner lands into her hands. However, with how tight her finance she couldn’t afford a two-way ticket and she realized that there’s a possibility for her father to try stopping her from leaving Japan because even right now she’s sort of hiding from the man in order to keep herself away from being dragged back to her hometown.
So with Ikuta knowing nothing about her current condition she told the girl that she couldn’t go back to Japan for a while. Of course, her sister was startled, she has never canceled her plan that sudden before. Their conversation get even more heated when Ikuta tried to change her mind, that ended up with Shiraishi being mad and basically tell Ikuta to grow up and stop throwing everything she couldn’t do to her hands. Hearing that Ikuta said a curt apology and hang up, despite the really polite words that she was using, it’s not hard to tell the young girl was really upset.
Two days after that Shiraishi finally realized that her sister is supposed to be competing for the national championship which trophy has been inside Ikuta's dreams ever since she was barely 10. That was the first the young prodigy had finally gotten a chance to participate and because of her the girl couldn’t even attend the championship, let alone winning it.
To tell the truth, just like her sister, Nishino doesn’t know anything that’s happening in Shiraishi’s life, not even a thing about how she had quit the university. She had known even from before they were dating that Nishino capability of handling stress is a little bit below average and Shiraishi thinks that her girlfriend has already a lot in her hands since being an animation student means that she’s always in a constant struggle to finish her assignment before the deadline. That’s why she tried to hide everything from her.
‘Maiyan? Are you still there?’ Nishino asked, realizing that she’s been quite for several minutes.
“I- I…” she stammered before regaining herself to continue, “I also owe Nanase an apology. I am sorry I can’t be beside you today. Happy anniversary, even though we can’t be physically together right now, knowing that Nanase is there for me is enough. Thank you for everything. I love you”
‘Happy anniversary. I also need to thank Maiyan for everything too. Thank you for trying to understand me. I love you,’ Nishino said before continuing, ‘but Maiyan seems to be in a trouble lately and I couldn’t help but feel worried. I’m not going to push you to tell me what’s going on, but you should at least tell Erika-chan.’
“Nanase, can we… talk about something else?” She asked as she for a moment looked up at the starless sky.
‘Okay, what do you want to talk about?’
She thinks about it for a moment, her eyes go back to the night sky before finally saying, “I was looking for a star in case you want to make a wish but too bad there’s none tonight.”
‘Maiyan, I don’t think it could work like that,’ her soft chuckles reached Shiraishi’s ear, ‘it also supposed to be a falling star.’
“Then, what do you want to commemorate our 3rd year?”
‘I don’t know… Do you have anything in mind? I want to get something for us too.’
“Mmm… Actually, a few months ago I check out some rings on a jewelry store, I haven’t bought anything since I want to confirm the design with you first. Since our anniversary is coming so I thought maybe right now is the right time to decide. What do you think?”
‘That will be good…’
Shiraishi’s mouth curled into a smile trying to imagine that her girlfriend is probably blushing right now, “I’ll send you some pictures after this, do tell me what you like the most, okay?”
After that, they talk a lot, from what is happening in the anime that Nishino always following to Shiraishi trying to explain the whole plot of Hamlet that will be performed in the next academy stage play. She tried to speak as if everything is normal, trying to consider the conversation a quick and easy gate away from her problems.
When Nishino finally hang up because she needs to get ready for class Shiraishi realized it she’s already a few steps away from the 6 stories square building where she’s living right now. The light before the entrance is blinking every several seconds, a real prove of how stingy her landlord is when it comes to the building expenses. But there’s something that different tonight, since her place it’s quite on the outskirts of the city where most people is having a problem to pay for their everyday life usually there will be no car parked on the road in front of the building, unless some broken old cars that someone bought with a thought that it’ll be easy to fix it personally. However, right on the street in front of the building where she lives she finds a pitch black sedan with the familiar tree pointed star logo.
She frowns when she walked passed it, thinking about how out of place it looks with the surroundings.
Without no particular reason, she started to walk faster and entered the building. Something inside her is saying that something is not right yet she couldn’t point it out. Her steps seem to have gotten heavier as she climbs the creaking wooden stairs to the 4th floor where she lives. She quickly stepped closer to the door at the end of the corridor while her hands are rummaging her bag to find her key.
She halted when failed to turn the key on the door, her heart beating faster upon the realization that the door is already unlocked, she holds her breath as her hand slowly turning the doorknob open.
The lights that she was sure was turned off before she left the place is now on, but she doesn’t have time to wonder about the strange thing because on her small bed sat the man that she doesn’t want to see the most.
Her own father.
“What are you doing here?” Her tone came out harsh and unwelcoming. She frowns at another guy that dressed in black who leaned on the room wall.
“Visiting my missing daughter and see how’s she doing, what else do you think?”
“Okay. I’m fine. See?” she snapped as she put down her bag next to the television table, “I will be much better if my father doesn’t meddle with my life to the point of trying to get me expelled from school.”
“And what exactly are you doing in that school? THIS!?” her father thrown several photographs to the floor in front of him. His voice is so loud that the daughter started to get worried he’ll disturb the neighbors.
Shiraishi Mai kneels down to inspect the photographs. She’s inside every single of it and what makes it a problem is that she wasn’t alone. Shiraishi froze when her hand lays on one photograph that clearly shows a man leading her inside a townhouse that clearly not where she lives.
“A-Are you trying to blackmail me with these?” she stammered.
“Mai, I have never quite understood your way of thinking. From generation to generation, our family has always tried to improve the company, so we could pass it on to our children. Just like me, working as hard as I could to be able to pass it on to you. But you… chose this kind of life?”
“THAT WOULD HAVE NEVER HAPPENED IF YOU JUST LET ME DO WHAT I WANT,” she snapped looking at the man with eyes full of anger before averting her gaze away. She tried to regain herself before continue speaking in lower volume, “I was never having a hard time before and now I am- to the point of me needing to do that.”
“Stop being too naïve, child. This kind of thing is common in the field you’re meddling right now,” the man rubbed the bridge of his nose, “it’s not too late. I talked to the head of the program in the university, they’ll let you enroll again next term.”
“Why can’t you just stop forcing what do you want on me? I am sorry, but I am not Erika who can balance what she love to do while taking care of the company. I also don't want to be you who always working all the time to the point of having no spare time for your daughters. I don’t want to be you who never have time to take care of anything else besides work to the point of having my mother left because she couldn’t take it anymore and Erika’s mother died because you was never there to notice that she was battling a severe illness.”
“I’m so glad to see you doing well, father. However, it’s already quite late at night and I have no wish to see you anymore, so please leave before I called the police.” She said as she walked to open the door.
“You’ll understand it eventually. You know how to find me once you do,” her father gave her a long sharp look before finally stepped out of the studio type flat, he was definitely stomping his foot in anger as he walked away with the other guy tailing behind him.
After they are finally out of sight, Shiraishi slammed her door shut and locked it. She walked back to where the photograph was scattered around the floor to gather them in her hands. She made sure that she’s already holding every single photo before turning the stove in order to create a fire.
One by one she burns the photograph into ashes. She realized that most likely there are more that her father has, but still her hands are itching to get rid of every single piece that she could find. However, when the last one has finally joined the remains of the other she’s still feeling as horrible as she was the first time she saw the photos.
Shiraishi hates it. She hates that she’s not as smart as her step sister. She hates that she couldn’t be what she want to be. She hates that her father was right- she is too naïve.
She lay down on her bed, hugging the flat pillow as hard as she can before sticking her face on to it and scream as hard as she can. She did over and over again until her throat felt sore but that doesn’t help at all. She’s hurting emotionally and couldn’t find anything that could help to relieve the pain.
Maybe it will be better if she couldn’t feel anything at all. Maybe her life could finally work that way, no remorse nor care about things that she has done. That way maybe she could just do whatever she wants without caring about what other’s think or she could just do whatever those people wants because she herself doesn’t have any passion for something.
As crazy as it sounds somehow she thinks that it will be perfect for her.
~To Be Continued~
Finally updated. It took almost a month isn't it? I'm so sorry for that
So this chapter tells a backstory of Maiyan and it was totally longer than I had expected, in future chapter I think I'm going to write a backstory Nanase too, but I'm kind of still rearranging several parts of the plot. This chapter is really heavy that I'm afraid it will get boring, but it needs to be told soo... Because it's longer so I probably makes more mistakes than usual, please forgive me
Thanks for reading and I'm sorry for making some of you worried because the late update
On the other hand Maiyan is getting a PB next year asdhsakjdksajdksasa
We're going back to the past in this chapter, we'll find out about present time Maiyan in next chapter
Naachan confession make me giggling. If there's no person in my side, I'll scream like a crazy people
Please do scream like a crazy people once you're alone
Thanks for reading wakaten:
First of all I'm so sorry for this long update, I hope this one will suffice
awww naachan, i never expected you to be this romantic...
Whenever I see Nanase mousou I got this vibe that she's actually a romantic
even more than Maiyan
some of them worried about naachan (this is purely only Waka RIGHT)
Yep, that's Waka being Waka
Thanks for reading amachan48:
and then, the next problem. It seems since Mai "wake up from her dead" she has never actually meet with Erika, right??
I guess there will be a dramatic scene when Mai and Erika finally meet each other >...< it's just, we know Erika used to really love her onee-chan so much.
but then again, even before the accident Mai and Erika was already in the not talking to each other terms. i think these two miss each other so much >...<
Yep she's never actually meets Ikuchan, since Iku never goes past the observation room. In this chapter you'll see what happened between Erika and Mai, please do tell me about what do you think
. They'll be reunited eventually, but I can't say when
Thank you for reading C:
I have no words for her except I wanna scream “Maiyan, you lucky bastard!”
Ugh, the situation is getting worse. Government, just stay away!
Did I mention how I love that WakaRei are like parents to Naachan?
Maiyan is indeed a lucky bastard
the government are not staying away because just like every one else they want Maiyan
That's what I'm trying to write, tho... Because I'm all up for wakarei family with naachan as their child
There really should be a sub-unit with WakaNanaRei. Preferably with PV like Mukuchi na Lion too
Let's get them petitions ready
Thanks for reading