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Author Topic: Restart (Love x ∞ Part II)  (Read 60418 times)

Offline ChiruChaCha

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Re: Restart (Love x ∞ Part II)
« Reply #220 on: September 23, 2007, 03:33:02 PM »
I have 2 things to say about this, both pretty foul but oh well: "HOLY CRAP" and "BIGGEST MINDFUCK EVERRRRRR"
Seriously, I think I need a diagram to get it right so let me do one and correct me if I'm wrong, please:

- 1st reality: Miki and Aya get to know each other in H!P and blah blah blah until the day Aya has to go to Italy. This is where Aya comes from.
- 2nd reality: Miki doesn't go to the audition thus she lives in Takikawa until Aya comes. This is where they are now(and where Miki comes from)
- 3rd reality: Miki and Aya get to know each other in H!P and blah blah blah, Miki gets to know Shouji, Aya forgives her, blah blah blah, until some point where Ochiai jumps from this reality to the second one. This is where Ochiai comes from.

So, if this is right, my question is, where are the people who had a familiar feeling towards Miki from? 1st reality, 3rd reality or a completely different one? Or they are not from other reality but just had the information put into their brains like Miki said?

As for the cheating issue, I think it's kinda unfair for Miki(although wtf Miki?! Your girlfriend asks you if you would cheat on her and you shrug? xD), but maybe Aya's going through all the "there's another me in some other reality" thing, or maybe she's thinking that if Miki cheated on her now she might not be able to forgive her. There must be a million things going through her head after their talk with Ochiai.

JFC, it's actually kind of good that you pictured Occhi like that because her character is supposed to be wise beyond her years.

Wow, I had pictured her kinda like a tarot card reader xD Well, not exactly, more elegant, but with long, somewhat greyish hair and that mysterious aura.
 
Hey, ChiruChaCha.  Please tell you you didn't predict perfectly what would happen.  That would scare me.  Sevii would have to call you god.

If I'm going to end it, Amarghetta, I'm going to end it with a bang.  So off I go to avoid menacingly shaken fists and to write more.

I wouldn't have guessed that in a million years, some idea of what the end of the story could be did cross my mind though, but I'm sure you'll ace up your sleeve somehow xD
« Last Edit: September 23, 2007, 06:44:54 PM by ChiruChaCha »

Offline JFC

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Re: Restart (Love x ∞ Part II)
« Reply #221 on: September 23, 2007, 04:46:07 PM »
^
So you're thinking that it's like, three different realities suddenly mixed and merged into one? Considering how Aya, Miki and Ochiai-san each have different memories of how things happened, it does kind of make sense.

Quote
So, if this is right, my question is, where are the people who had a familiar feeling towards Miki from? 1st reality, 3rd reality or a completely different one? Or they are not from other reality but just had the information put into their brains like Miki said?
My impression was that these people would be from the Miki's reality (i.e. the second one).  She never "made it big" with H!P yet they still had that feeling that they somehow knew her. In the other 2 realities Miki did make it to the auditions, so she would have been known to the public.

JPH!P :heart:'s Fushigidane, ChrNo, Jab & marimari. Always.

Offline ChiruChaCha

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Re: Restart (Love x ∞ Part II)
« Reply #222 on: September 23, 2007, 06:42:08 PM »
^
So you're thinking that it's like, three different realities suddenly mixed and merged into one? Considering how Aya, Miki and Ochiai-san each have different memories of how things happened, it does kind of make sense.


More or less, yeah, but I see it more as if Aya(from the 1st one) and Ochiai(from the 3rd one) jumped into the 2nd one, where Miki was. But I get the feeling I'm forgetting something in all these realities mess so we better wait to see if OTN points out something we forgot.


My impression was that these people would be from the Miki's reality (i.e. the second one).  She never "made it big" with H!P yet they still had that feeling that they somehow knew her. In the other 2 realities Miki did make it to the auditions, so she would have been known to the public.


Yeah, that's what I thought too, but I'm curious about how they get the familiar feeling.

Offline OTN1

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Re: Restart (Love x ∞ Part II)
« Reply #223 on: September 24, 2007, 09:29:18 AM »
Yep and the person responsible for those wires are none other than the evil author, OTN!!
Hahaha, wouldn't you just want to slap me if I included myself in these stories?

Your outline looks right, ChiruChaCha

...(although wtf Miki?! Your girlfriend asks you if you would cheat on her and you shrug? xD)...
That deserves a big fat LOL.  Oh, man.  That made me laugh so hard.  Just the way you mentioned it in a paranthetical aside.  :lol:  You're right.  Miki should have nodded and said "yes, I'd never do that!"

I think I described Occhi as a hippie-type person, so the tarot card reader image kind of fits for that, I think.


Offline OTN1

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Re: Restart (Love x ∞ Part II)
« Reply #224 on: September 24, 2007, 10:17:53 AM »
Chapter 24

The ice cream was rich and creamy.  We sat and ate for a few minutes without talking and simply enjoying the heavenly taste of chocolate rolling off our tongues.  At almost eight hundred yen, there was no choice but to enjoy every bite uninterrupted by conversation of any sort, pleasant or otherwise.

I ate about half of my ice cream without a single negative thought, but when I put my spoon down, I began to worry about what to tell Kuniko.  There was no doubt that she was going to question me.  I couldn't very well tell her that her world was being invaded by extra-dimensional people who remembered history differently.  I needed a good story, but not a lie.

Kuniko finished three quarters of her ice cream and then joined me in putting her spoon down.  She put her hands flat on the table and looked at me.  I knew what was coming.

"Let's start from the beginning.  What happened last week?"

I sighed.  It was going to be an interesting journey.

"And no cutting corners.  Last time I saw you, I was helping Aya-chan drag your delirious butt from in front of a train station where you'd slept in a snowstorm.  Now I know you're not the brightest girl in the world," she said, and I glared at her, "but that's a really stupid thing to do."

"I was confused and sick," I mumbled in my defence.

"Sick in the head?"

"No!" I snapped.  "I was upset and didn't want to go home, but I missed the last train that would get me out of there.  I wanted to wait till the morning, but I kind of... fell asleep..."

She was right.  It had been very stupid of me to do that.

"So why were you out there?  What kind of fight did you get into?"

Here we go...

"I got upset because, uh, Aya-chan had these expectations of me.  She was trying to... I don't know.  Project her expectations on me by leading me around and making me do things she thought would give me her ideal final result.

"What kind of expectations?"

"Um," I started, taking another breath, "what to do with my life.  Where to go.  What to become."

Kuniko nodded and urged me to go on.

"She thought I'd move here and become some famous celebrity like her.  Or something like that..."

Kuniko let out a dry chuckle.

"Anyway, I got a little angry because I overheard her talking about me to a friend on the phone."

"What kind of stuff did she say?" she asked, now completely engrossed in my story.

I pushed a piece of hair away from my eyes and checked the backs of my hands for no particular reason.  The overheard phone conversation with Shibata had been strange.  It had scared me, but not as much as it had scared me when I had been told the full story.

"Just, um, about the way I could've turned out if things had gone differently in my life.  Not important.  The point is that she pissed me off, I stormed off, I slept outside, and I got sick."

"But you guys settled everything, right?" Kuniko asked, looking a bit confused.

Who could blame her for being puzzled?  Dispute after dispute.  One settled, another started.  That one settled, and then on to the next one.  It was becoming clear that there was something special and highly dysfunctional between me and Aya.

"Yeah, she explained everything, and I listened for once.  We sorted it out.  But I was sick in bed until a couple of days ago."

Kuniko made a sound of surprise.

"And you're already eating rich chocolate ice cream?"

I looked down at my ice cream and then at her with a blank expression.

"Yeah.  So?"

What did it matter?

"Never mind," she brushed it off.  "Now tell me what happened today before you called me."

This would be the tricky one.

"It's hard to explain," I said hesitantly.

"Try me," Kuniko smiled.

"No, really.  You won't get it."

"No, really.  Try me."

"Kuni-chan, I can't explain it to you," I said firmly.

"And if you don't try, I'll leave right now and make you pick up the bill," she informed me in an equally hard voice.

"Fine," I said in a clipped, polite tone.  "You see, Aya-chan is from a different dimension where I'm a celebrity.  This morning we went to an acquaintance of hers, who also happens to be from an alternate dimension, but different from the one Aya-chan's from.  In this acquaintance's dimension, the Miki there was a very bad girl who cheated on Aya-chan.  It was even on the news, although that was because in her line of work, she wasn't allowed to have a boyfriend.  So when this world's Aya-chan found out about the other Miki betraying the other Aya-chan, she got upset with me, and she asked me to give her some time alone, which meant to get out of her face."

Kuniko looked at me with a concentrated expression, ate a spoonful of ice cream, and then pushed her bowl away so that she could lean forward.

"So that other dimension's Fujimoto is a metaphor for... Aya-chan's expectations?  And this acquaintance of hers is someone who planted the ideas in Aya-chan's head?"

Not quite, Kuni-chan.  Not quite.

"Kind of."

"And so now Aya-chan - with all these ideas in her head - doubts just how good a girl you are?"

That part was fairly accurate.

"Uh huh."

She thought it through.

"You know, you could've explained it to me without the fancy sci-fi metaphor.  What are you?  Some kind of geek?"

"You're the one who plays that Pokemon game on her DS for three hours a day," I bit back, and she reached out and stabbed her nails into my forearm.

"Sh!" she hissed with an alarmed expression on her face.  "Everybody doesn't need to know that!"

I winced in pain and then smirked.

"So Koda-kun was telling the truth."

Kuniko's jaw dropped.

"What?  That bastard!  That was mean, Fujimoto.  Really, really mean."

"Hey, he seems to know a lot about you.  Have you guys ever thought of-"

"Yes," Kuniko interrupted quickly.  "And we tried, but we're totally not made for each other like that.  He's totally like my brother."

I nodded, glad about the change of subject.

"Wait," I said slowly, a smile spreading across my lips.  "Could it be that Koda-kun is one of the guys that you've-"

"Yes!" Kuniko cried out forcefully to shut me up.  "And never ever mention that again.  I've tried to repress that memory.  Siblings shouldn't do that kind of thing together, and I learned that he and I shouldn't either."

My worries forgotten, I sat there with a sly smirk on my face.  Now this was good gossip.

"And don't you dare tell anyone.  So help me if you do," she threatened.

Since she had a lot she could hold against me, I decided not to push her too much.  Who knew when she could snap and go nuts from the amount of teasing I did.

"But what about that guy you were with up until now?  You met him at a club, you said."

Kuniko's attitude changed quickly from frighteningly menacing to stupidly cheerful.

"I think I've found a good one," she gushed.  "We fell into this comfortable zone all morning.  No awkwardness at all."

"Then why'd you say you weren't busy when I called?" I asked with a puzzled frown and a laugh.

"Well, I always have time for you!"

Oh please, I groaned in my head.

"That's because you haven't been able to harass me for a whole week, right?"

She shrugged.

"Pretty much."

I rolled my eyes. 

"So what's he like?"

"Tall, handsome, cool," she replied with a sparkle in her eye.

"I bet he's a real geek who's into trains, or something," I snickered.

Kuniko turned her nose up at me.

"Believe what you want."

I smiled warmly and made amends.

"He must be pretty cool if you don't even need to defend him."

"But weren't we talking about you?" Kuniko interrupted our line of conversation, giving me a pointed look.

Oh, yes.  We had been.  But I didn't want to talk about it anymore.  I was having a good time trying to forget that Aya now hated me for something I hadn't done and had never thought of doing.  The distraction was exactly what I needed.

"How long are you supposed to stay out of her hair?"

I snorted.

"Who knows.  An hour?  A week?  Forever?"

"It's not fair," Kuniko huffed angrily.  "You haven't done anything wrong."

She could say it a million times over, and all I would be able to do was agree a million times over.

I nodded.

"... have you?" she tagged on timidly.

"Of course not!" I exclaimed immediately, offended.  "I've done absolutely nothing even close to wrong.  It's all in her head.  She's a crazy lady."

"I'll say," Kuniko nodded.  "Do you want me to call her and reason with her?"

I shook my head vigorously as she pulled her cell phone out.

"It won't do any good."

And then her cell phone rang.  It made Kuniko almost jump up from her chair.  It made me blink, but hardly anything could rattle me anymore.  Not with my mind being inundated with stories of alternate universes and celebrity Mikis that slept around.

Kuniko looked at the display screen and then looked at me nervously.

"Um, it's her."

Aya was calling Kuniko.  Just great.  She knew how to trace me anywhere.  I was too predictable.

"I won't answer if you don't want me to," Kuniko offered.

"Nah, you'd better pick up."

It would accomplish nothing for Kuniko to ignore her.

"It might not be about me anyway," I added quickly.

Of course it was going to be about me.  The timing was right.  She was probably going to ask Kuniko if she knew where I was.  Then she probably would want to know if I'd told her anything, and then maybe try to glean some information about me.  About how I acted when I went out with my friends.  About anything suspicious I did.  Stupid questions.

"Hello?" Kuniko spoke into the phone.

She waited a few beats.

"Have I talked to Miki-chan?" she repeated the question back to Aya while looking at me for guidance.

I shook my head and mouthed the word "no".

"No, I have not," Kuniko said as though reading a script in an obvious and exaggerated way.

I shot her a glare and she tried to fix it.

"Is she out and about?  I'm so glad to hear she's better!  I was so worried!"

You're overdoing it, I groaned in my head.

She stopped talking and listened

"So why didn't you just call her directly?"

She adjusted her reaction so that she sounded authentically puzzled.  She listened some more.

"Oh."

She listened some more.

"I'm sure if you just call her-"

But she got cut off.  Aya spoke some more.

"Ah, that is true.  This is hot-headed Miki we're talking about," she laughed.

The traitor!  I slapped her on the arm and she let out a sound of pain that she quickly muffled, but not before it had been heard.

"Oh, no," she laughed nervously into the phone.  "Just bumped into a blunt object.  I'm okay."

I continued to stare at her with an expression that told her I was not amused.

"Yeah...  No, I'm sure you can...  Good idea to wait, but not too long.... Yup... Bye bye."

She hung up and I waited for her report impatiently.

"She wants to talk to you."

"And?" I asked in exasperation when she didn't say anything more.

"Why am I caught in the middle of this?  Ah!" Kuniko cried.

"Stop being foolish.  What'd she say?"

"She just told me that you two got into an argument and that she wants to talk to you.  Since you're so irascible, she figured she'd wait for you to cool down a bit."

"Oh wonderful," I ranted.  "She's the one who acted all unreasonably angry, and then I'm not allowed to be pissed off.  It's an unfair double standard, I tell you.  Don't you think?  When she calls I'm going to give her a piece of my mind."

I looked to Kuniko for support, but she had sat back in her chair and was holding her ice cream, eating the last bits slowly.

"Well?  Don't you think?"

Kuniko looked up at me.

"I think you just proven her right."

Gah!  I wanted to grab a plastic hammer and rap her and Aya on their respective heads with it.

"Why are you taking her side?  You're my friend!"

Kuniko started to hum a tune.

"I don't know you.  La la la la."

"Kuniko," I groaned.

"Never met this person before in my life," she said, speaking to a waiter who was walking by us.

He was too professional to look at us oddly, but I'm sure he was wondering how much whiskey we'd had before coming over to his shop for ice cream.

"Come on," I whined, dropping my anger and turning desperate.

"Fujimocchan, when she calls, just give her a chance, okay?"

She spoke so seriously that I stopped playing around and nodded, mirroring her seriousness.  While I nodded, though, I wondered why I was receiving the "be nice" lecture.  Was my temper really that bad?  I supposed storming off into heavy snowfall and sleeping outdoors in the cold was rash and demonstrated a kind of pride that could be dangerous to my health.  But I hadn't done anything violent.  I hadn't hit anybody.  I hadn't wished death upon anything.  Although I was feeling at the moment that I wouldn't mind if Aya got hit on the head repeatedly with that imaginary plastic hammer.

I ate the remains of my ice cream in the silence we'd created and wondered when Aya would call, what I'd say to her, and, most importantly, what she'd say to me.

"What do you want to do after this?"  Kuniko asked.  "Retail therapy?  It solves all problems!"

I shook my head.  I'd taken up enough of her day.  It was time for me to do some more thinking, not shopping.

"No.  Why don't you call your date back?  I think I'll take off on my own."

"You're not going to sleep in a malaria-infested ditch tonight, are you?"

She gave me a scathing look that told me I should know better.  But stupid Kuniko.  Everybody knew that we didn't have malaria in Japan.

"If you don't have a place to stay, I've got room at mine."

"No, I don't plan on staying outdoors again.  Thanks for the offer," I replied warmly.  "I'll let you know later."

I had learned my lesson.  Feeling that burning coldness again was not something I wanted to do.

We paid for our ice cream and left the restaurant, shivering as the chilly wind nipped at our ears and cheeks.

"Mail me if anything interesting happens," I said with a wink as I saw Kuniko writing an e-mail to her date.

She laughed.

"Same with you."

I thanked her again for taking time out of her schedule to see me, and we said goodbye and parted.  She headed in the direction of the station while I wandered down a busy street heading away from the hub of Shibuya.  On the way down the street, a tall woman standing in front of a ramen shop eyed me curiously.  She seemed to be waiting for someone.  I shuffled by quickly.  I wondered if the other Miki had known her.

I reached a crossroad after ten minutes and took the emptiest looking of the streets.  I walked down it and turned on to an even emptier street.  I found myself in an unfamiliar residential area, but I kept walking.  If I stopped, I'd get cold.  I continued for forty minutes through rows of streets I'd never been to before.  It was after I walked by a police box when my phone rang.  It was Aya sending me a message.

Is it all right to call you now?

Oh, how much I wanted to ignore her.  But I couldn't do that.  If anything, I needed a place to stay that night.  I could get that with this phone call. Then again, she could have been calling to kick me out completely.  In that case, there was nothing I could do anyway and may as well answer to find out if that was true.

I sighed and sent back a thumbs up emoticon.  My phone rang soon after that.

"Mmhm?" I asked when I picked up.

"I'm sorry," she said.

I kept walking, my pace slowing down as the silence between us grew longer.

"That's it?" I asked eventually.

Oops.  A little too rude.  Oh well.  She deserved it.

"I shouldn't have thought those things."

"Yeah, it was a little..." I trailed off.

"A lot.  A lot stupid and unreasonable," she finished for me.

I said nothing, meaning I agreed.

"Come home?" she asked.

I stopped walking, turned around in the direction of the place I imagined her to be in, and waited a beat before answering.

"Okay."

Another few beats went by during which we hung up without another word passed between us.  I began to walk back to the police box to check the map and find the nearest train station.

When I got back to the apartment, I rang the doorbell instead of opening it with the key I still had.  Aya let me in and hugged me, apologising for treating me like I'd done something wrong.  She said that it had been a shock, and learning that Ochiai was from a different world, too, had exacerbated her confusion.  She had needed some time to come to the terms with everything.

Of course I forgave her.  Maybe because I wasn't able to stay angry at her for long.  She cast a magic spell on me that weakened me in front of her.  Maybe because I was just plain stupid and didn't mind being hurt over and over again.  I took care to reassure her that I was smarter than the Miki of Ochiai's world and that I would never do something so careless and insensitive (if I was awake, but I didn't remind Aya about that).

One could not say that I wasn't relieved that I'd been cleared of all crimes.  But I wasn't completely at ease.  Would this happen again?  How many more times?  And with whom?  I wasn't just concerned about Aya, but also about everyone around me.  I would be so miserable if I got fired for something someone else did.  If I lost my friends for no good reason.

Down in my stomach, at the bottom of my heart, and at the back of my mind, I just didn't know how much more of it I could take.  This world.  This situation.  It was becoming too much for me, and my strength was starting to break.  I tried to remind myself about how I felt when Aya had told me about all her troubles, discovering her Miki didn't exist and putting her career on the line to go searching.  I tried to steel myself against all the strangeness and do like Aya had done by plunging forward into the unknown.  But I couldn't.  Not when she was being so unreliable.  Not when I'd given up life with my family to move to a city of strangers.  Even my closest friends couldn't help me because they didn't know my problems.  It sometimes felt like I had nobody I could trust implicitly.

I had no choice at the moment, however, but to keep on going and try to make sense of my life.  So with that in mind, I told Aya it was all okay and that I wouldn't hold this against her.  We tried to return to our normal lives, but something remained askew in my mind.  I wanted to fix it, but try as I might, I couldn't think of a way.  I would have to think a little harder.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2007, 10:51:31 AM by OTN1 »

Offline Novaforever

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Re: Restart (Love x ∞ Part II)
« Reply #225 on: September 24, 2007, 12:29:05 PM »
Awww Miki is such a pushover when it comes to Aya.  Aya could have a mood swing, accuse Miki of murder, get her sent to jail and then show up with a smile and say, "whoops my bad,"  and Miki would just come running back.  And it doesn't even matter what universe Miki is from either.

Also, don't take that idea and write a story where Miki goes to jail for murder.  Cause you would write something depressing like that!

Offline g4rfield

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Re: Restart (Love x ∞ Part II)
« Reply #226 on: September 24, 2007, 05:52:21 PM »

Down in my stomach, at the bottom of my heart, and at the back of my mind, I just didn't know how much more of it I could take.  This world.  This situation.  It was becoming too much for me, and my strength was starting to break.  I tried to remind myself about how I felt when Aya had told me about all her troubles, discovering her Miki didn't exist and putting her career on the line to go searching.  I tried to steel myself against all the strangeness and do like Aya had done by plunging forward into the unknown.  But I couldn't.  Not when she was being so unreliable.  Not when I'd given up life with my family to move to a city of strangers.  Even my closest friends couldn't help me because they didn't know my problems.  It sometimes felt like I had nobody I could trust implicitly.

Poor Miki! She must've feel lonely. At least Aya had Shibata who understands the situation, but Miki had no one. Well, telling Kuniko is one step forward IMO. Now, all she needs to do is convinced her that it wasn't a fancy sci-fi metaphor. I think Kuniko will be able to understand...after the initial freaking out I guess!  XD

I had no choice at the moment, however, but to keep on going and try to make sense of my life.  So with that in mind, I told Aya it was all okay and that I wouldn't hold this against her.  We tried to return to our normal lives, but something remained askew in my mind.  I wanted to fix it, but try as I might, I couldn't think of a way.  I would have to think a little harder.

Why do I have the feeling that a lot of angst are about to happen from here on?  :fainted: Cuz you wouldn't let things be stable for more than one chapter, that's why!  :frustrated: I might not be able to sense which way you're storyline gonna go, but I can sense the doom and gloom ahead....aaah dammit! I shouldn't jinx it, you would totally do it!  :banghead:

Offline ChiruChaCha

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Re: Restart (Love x ∞ Part II)
« Reply #227 on: September 25, 2007, 12:38:08 PM »
So how much until a black hole absorbs it all after a parallel universe paradox?(That's how the story ends, isn't it? xD)

Offline JFC

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Re: Restart (Love x ∞ Part II)
« Reply #228 on: September 26, 2007, 04:08:02 AM »
Quote
The ice cream was rich and creamy.  We sat and ate for a few minutes without talking and simply enjoying the heavenly taste of chocolate rolling off our tongues.  At almost eight hundred yen, there was no choice but to enjoy every bite uninterrupted by conversation of any sort, pleasant or otherwise.
800 Yen? Exactly how much ice cream are they eating here? :O



Quote
There was no doubt that she was going to question me.  I couldn't very well tell her that her world was being invaded by extra-dimensional people who remembered history differently.  I needed a good story, but not a lie.
Well, she could just simply say that she and Aya got into an argument and that Aya wanted "to be alone" for a while...but then Kuni-chan would likely try and find out what it was about/what was behind it in the first place. 



Quote
"Let's start from the beginning.  What happened last week?"

I sighed.  It was going to be an interesting journey.

"And no cutting corners.  Last time I saw you, I was helping Aya-chan drag your delirious butt from in front of a train station where you'd slept in a snowstorm.  Now I know you're not the brightest girl in the world," she said, and I glared at her, "but that's a really stupid thing to do."
Harsh words, but true. And remember Miki, Kuni-chan just says them because she cares about you.



Quote
"I got upset because, uh, Aya-chan had these expectations of me.  She was trying to... I don't know.  Project her expectations on me by leading me around and making me do things she thought would give me her ideal final result.

"What kind of expectations?"

"Um," I started, taking another breath, "what to do with my life.  Where to go.  What to become."
When you boil right down to it, from Miki's perspective, this is basically what's been troubling her ever since she moved to Tokyo.  As crazy as she is for Aya, she wants to live her life on her own terms, doing what SHE wants to do because SHE wants to do it. She doesn't want to be lead around on some type of leash and be made to fulfill other people's expectations.



Quote
"Now tell me what happened today before you called me."

This would be the tricky one.
That's putting it mildly. Can Miki really trust Kuni-chan enough to tell her the REAL truth?  One senses that she wants to, but is so scared that she won't because the story is just so outrageous.



Quote
"You see, Aya-chan is from a different dimension where I'm a celebrity.  This morning we went to an acquaintance of hers, who also happens to be from an alternate dimension, but different from the one Aya-chan's from.  In this acquaintance's dimension, the Miki there was a very bad girl who cheated on Aya-chan.  It was even on the news, although that was because in her line of work, she wasn't allowed to have a boyfriend.  So when this world's Aya-chan found out about the other Miki betraying the other Aya-chan, she got upset with me, and she asked me to give her some time alone, which meant to get out of her face."
Wow, Miki actually told the truth...and she managed to keep it all straight while she did it too.



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"So that other dimension's Fujimoto is a metaphor for... Aya-chan's expectations?  And this acquaintance of hers is someone who planted the ideas in Aya-chan's head?"

Not quite, Kuni-chan.  Not quite.


"Kind of."

"And so now Aya-chan - with all these ideas in her head - doubts just how good a girl you are?"

That part was fairly accurate.

"Uh huh."
Huh. Looks like Kuni-chan thinks that Miki couldn't tell her outright, and that so she instead did it in this "story".  Well...the important thing is that Kuni-chan knows the gist of what happened, regardless of what she thinks of the way Miki told her.



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"You know, you could've explained it to me without the fancy sci-fi metaphor.  What are you?  Some kind of geek?"
Considering how Kuni-chan was able to accurately interpret it so quickly, wouldn't that make her a geek too? :D



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"You're the one who plays that Pokemon game on her DS for three hours a day," I bit back, and she reached out and stabbed her nails into my forearm.

"Sh!" she hissed with an alarmed expression on her face.  "Everybody doesn't need to know that!"

I winced in pain and then smirked.

"So Koda-kun was telling the truth."

Kuniko's jaw dropped.

"What?  That bastard!  That was mean, Fujimoto.  Really, really mean."
BUSTED! XD



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"Hey, he seems to know a lot about you.  Have you guys ever thought of-"

"Yes," Kuniko interrupted quickly.  "And we tried, but we're totally not made for each other like that.  He's totally like my brother."

I nodded, glad about the change of subject.

"Wait," I said slowly, a smile spreading across my lips.  "Could it be that Koda-kun is one of the guys that you've-"

"Yes!" Kuniko cried out forcefully to shut me up.  "And never ever mention that again.  I've tried to repress that memory.  Siblings shouldn't do that kind of thing together, and I learned that he and I shouldn't either."
Kuni-chan hooked up with Koda? DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMN this is good shit Miki's finding out.  :kekeke:



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"But weren't we talking about you?" Kuniko interrupted our line of conversation, giving me a pointed look.

Oh, yes.  We had been.  But I didn't want to talk about it anymore.  I was having a good time trying to forget that Aya now hated me for something I hadn't done and had never thought of doing.  The distraction was exactly what I needed.
Yeah, mentally and emotionally the distraction is good for Miki. If she keeps brooding over this thing with Aya it's going to drive her nuts, especially since the issue right now is something that Miki can't really do anything about. It's something that Aya has to deal with herself,



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And then her cell phone rang.  It made Kuniko almost jump up from her chair.  It made me blink, but hardly anything could rattle me anymore.  Not with my mind being inundated with stories of alternate universes and celebrity Mikis that slept around.

Kuniko looked at the display screen and then looked at me nervously.

"Um, it's her."
Kuni-chan has a very special relationship going on with both Miki and Aya. Since (other than Shiba-chan) she's the only person who is friends with the both of them AND who knows what their relationship is really like...it makes sense that both would seek her out as a friendly ear.   Especially now with Aya having doubts about Miki, Kuni-chan seems like she'd be the perfect person to talk to in order to get advice or a second opinion, since she works with Miki and is probably the only other person to know her quirks and personality as well (if not better, in some ways) as Aya does.



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"She just told me that you two got into an argument and that she wants to talk to you.  Since you're so irascible, she figured she'd wait for you to cool down a bit."

"Oh wonderful," I ranted.  "She's the one who acted all unreasonably angry, and then I'm not allowed to be pissed off.  It's an unfair double standard, I tell you.  Don't you think?  When she calls I'm going to give her a piece of my mind."
Honestly, both of them are probably angry right now, but for different reasons.  But yelling at Aya the first chance she gets isn't going to help Miki one bit.



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"Fujimocchan, when she calls, just give her a chance, okay?"

She spoke so seriously that I stopped playing around and nodded, mirroring her seriousness.  While I nodded, though, I wondered why I was receiving the "be nice" lecture.  Was my temper really that bad?
It's not that Miki's temper is bad, but more that she's a passionate person. When she likes you, you know she likes you. When she's pissed off, you know she's pissed off. Combine that with the fact that she has a bit of a to "jump, then look", and it makes it hard to have a serious talk with her sometimes.  Kuni-chan's right. Miki needs to give Aya a chance to explain herself, and with any luck Miki just overreacted a bit.



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I thanked her again for taking time out of her schedule to see me, and we said goodbye and parted.  She headed in the direction of the station while I wandered down a busy street heading away from the hub of Shibuya.  On the way down the street, a tall woman standing in front of a ramen shop eyed me curiously.  She seemed to be waiting for someone.  I shuffled by quickly.  I wondered if the other Miki had known her.
Even if/when Miki and Aya have their little talk and come to an understanding...Miki will still have to deal with this "being sort of recognized" thing.  It's something that will still continue to weigh on her mind, particularly with what she and Aya knows about the career of "the other Miki."



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When I got back to the apartment, I rang the doorbell instead of opening it with the key I still had.
Ouch...it's like Miki doesn't feel like the apartment is "home" anymore. It's like she's gone back to how things were when she first moved to Tokyo and she was unsure if she was really welcome. I wonder if Aya picked up on that, did she notice that Miki rang the doorbell instead of just using her key? It's like she's asking for permission to come it. Does she need to ask that, Aya?



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Aya let me in and hugged me, apologising for treating me like I'd done something wrong.  She said that it had been a shock, and learning that Ochiai was from a different world, too, had exacerbated her confusion.  She had needed some time to come to the terms with everything.
So then, has she come to terms with it? Is this something that will continue to trouble Aya, or can she put this behind her? It was a different Miki, and a different Aya after all. 



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Of course I forgave her.  Maybe because I wasn't able to stay angry at her for long.  She cast a magic spell on me that weakened me in front of her.  Maybe because I was just plain stupid and didn't mind being hurt over and over again.  I took care to reassure her that I was smarter than the Miki of Ochiai's world and that I would never do something so careless and insensitive (if I was awake, but I didn't remind Aya about that).
Yeah, probably a good idea to not bring that last bit up again.



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One could not say that I wasn't relieved that I'd been cleared of all crimes.  But I wasn't completely at ease.  Would this happen again?  How many more times?  And with whom?  I wasn't just concerned about Aya, but also about everyone around me.  I would be so miserable if I got fired for something someone else did.  If I lost my friends for no good reason.
Miki almost sounds like she's questioning if she did the right thing in moving here to begin with.  If she had turned Aya down and stayed in Hokkaido, neither of them would have met Ochiai-san again and neither of them would have heard of what had happened with their "alternates" from her world.  Miki wouldn't have to be subjected to the lingering doubt and confusion that she feels when she sees people looking at/watching at her, and Aya likely would have eventually gotten on with her life and career as well.



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I had no choice at the moment, however, but to keep on going and try to make sense of my life.  So with that in mind, I told Aya it was all okay and that I wouldn't hold this against her.  We tried to return to our normal lives, but something remained askew in my mind.  I wanted to fix it, but try as I might, I couldn't think of a way.  I would have to think a little harder.
Question is, is this something that can be fixed? If not, do Miki and Aya have the strength to persevere and continue living their lives together?

JPH!P :heart:'s Fushigidane, ChrNo, Jab & marimari. Always.

Offline OTN1

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Re: Restart (Love x ∞ Part II)
« Reply #229 on: September 26, 2007, 11:53:42 AM »
800 Yen? Exactly how much ice cream are they eating here? :O
Hah, not nearly the amount one would imagine for that price.  Maybe it's Godiva.  Everyone deserves an overpriced gourmet treat once in a while.

...don't take that idea and write a story where Miki goes to jail for murder.  Cause you would write something depressing like that!
Haha, it's because of you and your idea that I've fallen behind in this story.  It was worth it, though.  It was nice to have some silly fun.

So how much until a black hole absorbs it all after a parallel universe paradox?(That's how the story ends, isn't it? xD)
And destroy the whole world?  I think I'll use this ending instead of mine.  Thank you for the idea.  It's like interactive writing.  (Hahaha, of course I'm just joking!)

Offline OTN1

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Re: Restart (Love x ∞ Part II)
« Reply #230 on: September 27, 2007, 11:25:11 AM »
Chapter 25

I went back to work with joy.  Anything to keep me busy and distracted was deemed okay by me.  For those few hours I could chat with whoever shared my shift at the convenience store, I forgot that the world was screwed up.  Even working at U-Con had become easier.  Ohashi and Kuniko the Lesser had taken to avoiding me, something I did not mind at all.  Katherine had also been coming by my desk to chat more often, and she started dragging me down to the studio for twenty or thirty minutes when we both had spare time, giving me dancing lessons and offering me encouraging words.

I went out with Kuniko and some other friends twice, but both times I was recognised by people in the club and was a bit put off because of it.  One man insisted that he'd met me somewhere before.  When he couldn't place it, he'd sat down in confusion and tried to figure it out.  I had almost wanted to comfort him and tell him the whole story, but of course that would have been a preposterous thing to do.

Kuniko started dating the guy she'd met at the club.  She was tight-lipped about details, though, although we had not had much time to talk.  That was fine by me.  I'd crack her soon enough.  Besides, she promised she'd bring him along to the next gathering, so I waited patiently for that day.

Aya pulled through for me with the cooking course, and through a friend of hers, she got me enrolled free of charge in a cooking class that was held on Tuesday nights.  I had never taken a lesson in cooking, and found it to be very strict.  I had a feeling that I did everything wrong and angered everyone.  However, after class, our teacher, a middle-aged man by the name of Arai, came and praised me for doing an excellent job on my first day when the class had started a month ago.  I heard afterwards that he rarely paid any compliments to anyone, so part of me felt smug and proud.  The other part felt like a compliment hadn't been necessary and I would have stayed in the class regardless.

I hadn't gone back to see Ochiai since our first meeting.  I honestly felt a little too nervous going back to see that woman.  She was nice and helpful, but her power scared me.  She seemed to know too much about everything.  Aya went to the café several times, but I made up excuses so that I wouldn't have to go. 

And as for Aya... She tread softly around me for those two weeks, being quite a bit nicer than she usually was, especially on my birthday.  I didn't get teased as much as before.  I didn't have to do her many pointless favours that usually annoyed me (like getting the salt for her when she was sitting more closely to it).  She smiled a lot, let me do what I wanted, and didn't complain.

I almost would have loved this new change in character, but there was something off about it.  First, I couldn't help but think about why she was acting so nicely.  It was obviously because she had offended me and was trying to make amends.  Second, I didn't like being treated like I was a precious doll.  I liked when I got teased or in trouble.  It bothered me to hell and back, but I loved to get attention from her.  Now I got a different kind of attention, and it seemed a little hollower than the kind I'd enjoyed before.  I also couldn't help but feel inside that I'd disappointed her a little.  I was following her own suggestion by taking a cooking course, but she must have wanted me to do something else.  Something more glamorous.  No matter how many times she reassured me that she just wanted me to be me and to be happy, a slight bitter taste lingered in my mouth from our previous confrontations.  As a result, I spent a lot of time out.

And then one day I woke up and decided that I had to do something about it all.  I was doing nothing but going about my life trying to avoid my problems and repress my worries, and they were starting to fester in my mind.  I was second guessing everything I was doing and doubting all my decisions.  Doubting everybody's words, whether of praise or not, to me.

I had nobody I could turn to, though.  I couldn't talk to Aya about it because she was part of the problem.  I couldn't talk to Kuniko about it because that would require me to explain that the "sci-fi metaphor" I'd used before was in fact reality.  I couldn't talk to Shibata about it because she was first and foremost Aya's friend, not mine.  That left only one person that I could go and see.  One person I didn't really want to see.

"I have to go to this meeting at eleven, but why don't you join me and Shiba-chan for lunch afterwards?  She just got back from Thailand," Aya called out from her bedroom, surprising me.

I was sitting at the computer and wasting time.  It was Tuesday and I had no work because I'd worked all through weekend.  I thought quickly.

"Oh, I can't," I replied as she walked out of the bedroom holding a pair of pyjamas to throw into the laundry basket.  "I've got to meet someone at lunch."

She didn't ask who and didn't suspect that the person I intended to meet didn't know I was going to meet her.  She went on to chat, telling me that she'd see me later, and then going on to talk about nail polish.  I waited for her to leave the apartment before getting dressed. 

At one-thirty, I left the apartment and wandered around outside.  I was slowly gathering the courage to go to the café, but it was taking a lot of effort.  An hour passed until I finally got up the nerve to get onto a train and head over.  I walked slowly and reached the front door, taking a deep gulp of air and pushing it open.

Apart from two men sitting at the far end of the room, there were no other customers.  The waitress greeted me and let me choose a place to sit.  I ordered a hot coffee and waited.  As I suspected, it didn't take long for Ochiai to become aware of my presence.  She came out from the kitchen as though she had some sort of sixth sense that let her know a Miki was nearby.  She walked over and sat across from me.

"Alone?" she asked.

I nodded.

"I see."

Doctor Ochiai had found her first piece of evidence that something was up.

"Aya-chan's busy," I filled her in.

"And you came here to enjoy our expensive coffee?"

I smiled at her particular sense of humour.  She spoke with a completely serious tone, but she was far too smart to actually believe that I was there for the coffee.

"And to talk," I said before she could say it herself.

"What can I do for you?"

She'd just become my personal counsellor.  My free psychiatrist.

"What should I do, Ochiai-san?  Things are getting worse," I said, the words tumbling out of my mouth all of a sudden contrary to all the short, clipped sentences I'd practiced in my mind earlier.  "Isn't there some way to reverse all of this?  Go back in time and stop the world from getting so messed up?"

Ochiai kept her expression neutral.

"You realise that if you erased the past four and a half months, it would mean you would never have met Matsuura-san, don't you?"

The thought had occurred to me.

"I know," I rasped out, scared that by saying those words I'd somehow forsaken Aya.  "But it's just not right.  I'm not happy with the way my life is unfolding.  I can't live with the pressure.  It's like I have to continually be on alert for something that's going jump out at me from behind a piece of furniture."

Ochiai stayed quiet.

"And then there's Aya-chan.  I mean, I'm not angry at her because I know she's a really good person, but I get into these situations where I feel so uncomfortable being myself because I don't want to disappoint her.  And even though she says she's not disappointed, I think she is sometimes.  There's nothing I'd like more than to just have a normal life with her in it, but it doesn't seem possible."

I quieted down, and we sat and looked at each other.

"I can't help you change things back to how they're supposed to be," Ochiai said.

That was it?  That was all her advice?

"But what do I do?  How do I get through this?  I think I'm going crazy."

She shook her head.

"I have no clue."

If Ochiai had no clue, how was I supposed to have one?

"The thing is that you're absolutely right, Fujimoto-san.  It shouldn't be like this.  Maybe whatever set it off will get fixed.  Maybe it won't.  We can only sit and wait."

"Yeah," I said in an unconvinced voice.

I sipped my coffee with her sitting there and thinking.

If things were fixed, then would people stop recognising me?  Would Aya stop comparing me to the other Miki?  Would our histories all become one again?  I just didn't see how that was possible.  If things were fixed, I'd never see her again.

Maybe taking off in the middle of the night would be a good idea.  Leave Tokyo.  Leave everything I knew and try to find the source of all my problems.  That would surely hurt less than the pain causes by what could potentially come.

I drained the last drops of my coffee and stood up.

"I have to go now," I said without any explanation.

Ochiai stood up quickly before I could rush off.

"If you just leave, she'll be upset, you know.  Don't disappear on her.  Don't just go back to your hometown or some other place.  Give the world some time.  A big place like this needs time."

I couldn't believe she'd read my mind like that. 

"I won't leave.  I'll give it time," I promised.

But I didn't know how much more time I could take.

I paid and left.  I didn't want to go back to the apartment in case Aya was there, so I went to the convenience store.  Kuniko and Koda were on duty.  Before I walked in, I could see them through the glass door chattering away at the front and laughing.

I wondered what it must have been like those few weeks after they'd tried hooking up.  It must have been awkward.  But I looked more closely at them and re-thought my position.  They got along so well that maybe there had been no awkwardness.  Maybe just a lot of temporary disgust and then a heartfelt agreement never to look at each other like that again.  I wanted to know if I was right.  But as strong as that desire was, I respected Kuniko's wish to not speak of her experience.

I pushed the door open and they straightened up when they heard the little chime announced my arrival.  Seeing it was me, they loosened up and greeted me.

"What are you doing here when you don't have to work?!" Kuniko cried out.

Koda nodded his head at me and then moved off to give us girls room to talk.

"I was bored and all my friends are busy," I declared in mock annoyance.

"Fine, then you can sit here and read out loud to me.  I have to finish reading a three-hundred page book by tomorrow so I can start working on my paper."

I scrunched my nose up.

"When I dropped out of school, I swore not to read another dry book again.  You're on your own."

Koda manoeuvred his way back to his previous position and into our conversation.  The three of us started talking about the trials and tribulations of school.  Customers came and went.  After a very busy period, I took my leave.  It was almost time to go to my cooking lesson.

I was the first to arrive at the kitchen that was our classroom.  I put my apron on, took my notebook out, and washed my hands, wondering what we were going to work on.

Inevitably, my thoughts turned to Aya, Ochiai, and then the other two versions of me.  One was a good girl.  The other had done something stupid but had been forgiven.  What was I compared to them?  Did I fall on the good or the bad side of the Miki evaluation system?

Maybe good.  I hadn't done anything too wrong besides my brief sleepwalking encounter.  But I also didn't amount to that much.  Maybe I could be a famous chef.  Since I estimated I had about a one percent chance of achieving that, though, I went with the train of thought that assumed I wouldn't make it big in the culinary arts.  That left me where?  University dropout who worked in a convenience store and an office and who lived in someone else's apartment, ate someone else's food, and took free cooking lessons that normally would have cost any student a fortune.  Nothing had changed from my life with my parents.  I was still a moocher, only now I was mooching off of Aya and her contacts, not my parents.  At least she was more fun to live with.

The first of the students started to filter in.  The mediocre ones always came first.  They were the ones obsessed with the need to improve their skills because they were right at the threshold where mediocre crossed into good, and they could taste the other side.  They thought that coming in earlier than everyone else would somehow help them cook better.  I wished someone would tell them that it didn't matter if you came two hours or two minutes before class.  As long as your power of concentration in the kitchen was solid, you would be able to do well.

I greeted them and watched them get ready.  They were like runners before a race, but instead of stretching and slapping their muscles to get the blood flowing, these folks were reviewing last week's lecture notes and trying to memorise obscure spice names with concentrated expressions.

Our teacher Arai walked in one minute before class started.  He looked exhausted, and I knew by the expression on his face that it was going to be a tough lesson.

"Today we're going to learn about pasta," he announced.

Some students looked pleased.  Some looked horrified.  I didn't care either way.  I liked pasta as much as I liked any other dish.  Anything would have satisfied me.

Arai began explaining the intricacies of boiling the perfect fettuccini, making the perfect sauce, and, as usual, lecturing us for fifteen minutes about presentation alone. 

"It's a bit of a backward method, but cook as if you're making plastic models for a store front," he told us.

That was backwards.  They were supposed to copy us, the chefs.  Not the other way around.  We weren't trying to recreate plastic models.

We had to form groups, each group having a different kind of pasta and sauce.  My group of four was saddled with a spicy eggplant tomato sauce.  To start, our group leader (a girl who should not have been leader because she could barely speak above a shy whisper) assigned us tasks.  I was in charge of the eggplant.  Chopping, dicing, slicing, and frying.

We discussed our method and then began.  I found my little space and started chopping, letting my mind wander as usual.

A few months ago, I'd been doing this in my hometown with Aya and Baachan.  We'd cooked in very close quarters and then enjoyed our meal together.  We usually talked when we cooked, but when I had to chop something, I disappeared from the world and let my mind drift.

What had I been thinking about those two months when I'd been at the cutting board?  I continued to chop as I went back in time in my mind.

School.  I'd been a bit worried about school.  I never complained about school, but it could sometimes be tough.  I understood the material, but there was so much to get through that sometimes I didn't think I could make it. 

I'd also been thinking about Hiroshi.  Back in the middle of November, he'd pulled this disappearing act on me.  Not that I cared too much.  I trusted him to be a good boy, but I had needed to talk to him about something that week, and he'd simply not been home.

I'd also been thinking about how nice it was to have Aya around.  Ever since Nakanoko had moved to Asahikawa at the beginning of last spring, things had been quiet in my life in my little town.  I had other friends, but none I liked to hang out with as much as I did with Nakanoko.  Aya filled that void in my life quite nicely.  I'd been able to show her around town and I'd realised that we could be best friends, too.  We had the ability to create conversation from nothing.  And if we had nothing to say to each other, it was okay.  Our silence was not uncomfortable.

I picked up an uncut eggplant.

But what now?  We lived together and everything went haywire.  Now silence made me squirm.  I felt that if I didn't fill that silence with something, everything would go wrong.  It almost had several times.

I shouldn't think like that, I thought to myself logically.  We're each doing the best we can under the circumstances.  There are bound to be some points of misunderstanding and miscommunication, but we can get through those.

But the other side of me didn't want to.

It's too difficult, that side whined.  I can't have my own life.  Not one that isn't in the shadow of someone who had such fame.

Funny.  Most people would have been worried about the Aya-type person in his or her life.  About living in her shadow, she being a superstar.  But no.  I didn't care about that.  I was concerned about living in the shadow of someone who never existed to me.

"Is there something distressing about that eggplant?" I heard Arai's voice drift into my ears.

I snapped out of my thoughts and realised I was standing at the counter still holding the uncut eggplant in my hand.  I didn't know how long I'd been frozen like that, but probably longer than was normal.  My group mates were staring at me, even Shy Girl the leader.

"No," I said quickly, putting the eggplant on the cutting board and starting to slice it up.

"Fujimoto-san, is there something bothering you?"

I put down my knife and stared down at the eggplant.  His voice was tight and controlled.  He was angry.

"No, Arai-sensei.  Nothing," I said.

I'd sooner spend an entire afternoon trying to teach Shy Girl how to yell than tell Arai my problems.

"Then please concentrate on your task.  A cooking group is only as good as its weakest member."

I kept my eyes down on the cutting board, and when he left, I was overwhelmed with humiliation.  To be called the weakest link in the chain wasn't exactly heart-warming.  I took my knife again and continued to chop, praying that everyone would stop staring at me.

They did, of course, and we managed to finish our eggplant and tomato sauce fettuccini dish within the given time.

Arai tried each of our dishes, but he wouldn't tell us which of the five groups' was the best.  I was learning that he liked to keep us on our toes like that.  We'd be so teeming with curiosity that we'd try harder and harder in hopes that we'd make something so delicious that Arai would simply have to comment on it to the entire class.

After finishing the tasting, we sat down for an hour lecture on our errors (and the few things we'd done correctly).  I zoned out again, and was interrupted by Arai yelling at me.  He had been asking a question about our eggplant technique.  Trying not to flush red, I asked him to repeat the question.  He did so irritably, and I pulled out an appropriate answer.  I tried to pay attention for the last portion of the class.

When everyone was leaving, Arai called me back to him.

"Are you uninterested in being here?" he asked me bluntly.

"No, sir, that's not it," I said quickly, shaking my head.

"Then please leave your distracting personal problems at the door when you come to my class."

I nodded.

"I know what it's like to be your age and just starting."

His tone had changed from cross to nostalgic.

"My age?" I asked curiously.

"Well, it's not a secret," he sighed, "but I don't usually go around advertising that I majored in physics and didn't start taking cooking lessons until I was twenty-five.  Some would say that's a bit late and too big of a jump of interests, but I think it's acceptable."

So he'd started late.  But he must've cooked since a young age.  I didn't want to ask, however, because I'd done enough to anger him.  Prying into his personal life might offend him.

"I've cooked since I was five," he said, providing me with the information I had been too reluctant to ask him for.  "With my family.  So when I first started classes, I thought they were a load of - well, you know."

I nodded and smiled at his words.

"My teachers were always so dispassionate.  No emotions allowed in the kitchen.  I complied and never brought my personal problems into the kitchen."

So that was where it was leading to.  Now he was going to lecture me about how he discovered it was a good idea to keep that detached attitude when cooking.  It was a contradiction to me because that's what cooking was for me - a way to connect emotionally with friends and family.  If I didn't have that, then what was the point?

"I learned amazing discipline at that school, but when I left to go into the real world of cooking, I realised I couldn't make it without feeling anything."

That was something I could agree with.

"What I'd learned in that class was that in order to gain that good discipline, I had to be logical.  Reasonable.  But to actually perfect the art side of it, I had to be passionate.  Angry, happy, sad, and everything in between."

I nodded.  I understood his story and his reasoning, but I wasn't sure what it had to do with me.  I'd brought my worries to class and he'd scolded me.

"So my special advice to you," he said with a smile, "is to listen to me and to realise what you are doing, but not to repress it."

I looked at him, incomprehension showing in my eyes, I hoped.

"You are the top student in this class.  I can tell after only three lessons.  You're mature enough to be passionate in the kitchen and get good results.  However, you must also learn how to manage your thoughts and worries so that they don't hinder you but help you.  Learn to channel it in the right way so that you don't stand there with an eggplant for two minutes looking like a fool."

I flushed, but nodded my head in understanding.

"I understand, Arai-sensei.  Thank you.  Next time I'll make sure to keep a better check on my problems."

He smiled warmly at me.

"Good.  Now get home.  It's late and you need rest."

I thanked him again and ran off to the apartment focusing on his face and words.  I could draw a lot of inspiration from this man.

When I got home, Aya had company over.  It was Shibata, and they were playing some sort of video game on the TV.  I frowned because it didn't fit the image I had of them.  Aya spared me a brief glance when she heard me walk in and then looked right back at the screen.

"Hi!  Good game," she said with alarming exactness as though she had allotted a certain amount of time and energy to greet me in order to return immediately to the important task of her game.

"Evening.  How are you?" Shibata chimed in as a mere perfunctory courtesy.

She didn't really want an answer.

"Dandy," I murmured half-heartedly.

I stood there waiting for them to say something else - ask me how my day was or explain the game - but they focused all of their attention on the game.  I went to Aya's room, dropped some of my things off, and then ventured back out into the living room.  The two were still engrossed and didn't seem to notice me.  Amused, I sat on the couch behind them and watched.

They each operated one character.  One looked like a Super Mario mushroom, and the other looked like a triangular chunk of green cheese with arms, legs, and big eyes.  They were going around shooting assorted animate and inanimate objects on the screen that would explode into multi-coloured stardust.  That they had to collect this stardust.  It looked fun to play.  Too bad there was no third controller.  Maybe if I expressed interest...

"It looks cool," I said.

Neither Aya nor Shibata made an attempt to respond.  All that could be heard in the room was the silly background music of the game punctuated by "oh!"s, "ah!"s, and "get him get him get him!"s from the two players.

"Hey, Aya-chan.  Are you the mushroom thingy or the deformed Sponge Bob?" I asked.

"It's a tree!" she snapped back, offended.

I pulled back in alarm and decided not to say anything more.

"It's a green piece of cheese," Shibata tossed out in a breathless voice.

They were far too into it.  I rested back, crossed my arms, and watched.  My last conscious thought was: That's not a tree.  It's a mushroom.  Definitely a mushroom.


I was pulled out of a dream by a voice calling my name.  At first, the giant mushroom chasing me started to speak in a low tone.

"Miki... Miki..."

Then the green Sponge Bob accompanying him spoke in a much more highly pitched voice.

"Miki!  Miki!"

Sponge Bob grabbed me by the legs and lifted me up.

The two voices melded into one very familiar one, and I opened my eyes, sucking in a deep breath of air.  Aya's face filled my vision, and I choked on my air in surprise.  I tried to jump up, and that's when I realised she was sitting on me.  As a result, I couldn't move.

"Have a nice nap?" Aya snickered at me, not moving.

I turned my head to look at the TV.  It was dark.  I looked for Shibata.  She wasn't in the room.

"Shiba-chan just went home," Aya informed me, reading the searching - perhaps nervous - look in my eyes.

"Oh," I said, my voice raspy with sleep.

I relaxed a bit.

"Did we bore you?"

I shook my head.  It didn't hurt to be polite sometimes.

"Liar.  I bet we did," she laughed.  "Sorry, but Shiba-chan just bought the game in Thailand and we got hooked this afternoon."

"Were you playing all afternoon?" I asked.

"Since we got back from lunch," she confirmed sheepishly.

"Aya," I groaned.  "You have no life."

"Yeah, but that's because you've been so distant the past few weeks," Aya said, starting off strongly defensive and ending quietly.

I sighed in exhaustion, fear, disappointment.  She was right.

"Yeah, well," I mumbled.  "It hasn't been easy for me."

The look on her face suggested she regretted having brought it up, and I tried to give her a reassuring look.  I pushed her off me and stretched out on the couch, patting the space beside me so that she'd join me.  She did.

"Sometimes I just feel lonely," I admitted, scared of what she'd think, what she'd say, and what she would only think and not say.

"Lonely?" she asked with a frown.  "You're not alone.  You've got me."

But that was exactly what the problem was.

"But still," I said, shifting uncomfortably.  "When stuff like before happens, I've got nobody."

Aya knew I was talking about what happened after our meeting with Ochiai.

"Yeah, okay," she conceded.  "But even when I'm acting like a superbitch from hell, you've got your other friends."

"That's still not enough.  I can't tell them the truth.  I've only really got you," I insisted.

First came the sympathetic look.  Then the worried look.  Then the guilty look. 

"I haven't been very nice to you, have I."

"No no no!" I cried in horror.  "You have.  I mean, there've been times when I've wanted to smack you, but the rest of the time you've been so good to me."

Silence dominated.  She closed her eyes.

"I'm just worried.  You're obviously not completely happy," she said.

How could I sit there and agree?  When I was in someone else's house, on someone else's couch.  I'd sound ungrateful.  Like I was incapable of looking on the bright side or showing a bit of respect.

"That's not true."

She opened an eye.

"It's not?" came her disbelieving reply.

I didn't try to lie again, and she closed her eye.

"Remember how much easier it was when we met?" I chuckled.

"Are you kidding me?" she muttered.

That's right.  It was tougher for her.  But still, it seemed that on the whole, it would have been easier to stay in Hokkaido.

"But if you want to go back, I won't stop you."

Frankly, to hear those words made me woozy.  My ears rang, or so I thought they did.  She'd let me go back.  She either no longer believed in me and wouldn't mind getting rid of me, or she loved me so much that the only important thing to her was my happiness and she was willing to let me go so I could find it.  It would have made everything easier if it had been the first one.  It was the second one, though, and as long as that remained true, there was no way I could leave without regret.

I shook my head, and then realising that her eyes were closed and that she couldn't see, I spoke.

"I won't."

She opened her eyes.

"So what do you want?" she asked.

She didn't sound testy or rude, impatient or expectant.  But she wanted to send me a message.  A message to tell me to figure out the answer, because I was the only person who could answer it.

She closed her eyes again, and I mulled over the question.  Five minutes passed.  Her breathing became slow.  She'd fallen asleep, probably mentally exhausted from playing that stupid game all afternoon.

"Aya?" I asked

No reply.

"Aya?" I asked a little more loudly.

Still no reply.

I sighed and closed my eyes.

"I don't know what I want," I said.

But, I'd sacrifice my own happiness for her, and she would do the same for me.  I'd stay here for her and she'd willingly let me go if I wasn't happy in this place.

We had passed the final test.

I let myself fall asleep.

Offline g4rfield

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Re: Restart (Love x ∞ Part II)
« Reply #231 on: September 27, 2007, 04:28:21 PM »
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I don't know what I want," I said.

But, I'd sacrifice my own happiness for her, and she would do the same for me.  I'd stay here for her and she'd willingly let me go if I wasn't happy in this place.

We had passed the final test.

Gosh, that last part, I really felt it. It's so emotional in its own right. But is it really the final hurdle? Somehow I couldn't believe it. Knowing Miki, some insecurity, negative thoughts, questioning her worth, will pop out sometime soon. Yes, she's trying to make it right now, but on the other hand she is smooching from Aya. She has to gain something form her work and cooking lesson to raise that self worth, otherwise she'd gone crazy worrying about it.

A well....it's just my 2 cents.

Offline JFC

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Re: Restart (Love x ∞ Part II)
« Reply #232 on: September 27, 2007, 06:18:17 PM »
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I went out with Kuniko and some other friends twice, but both times I was recognised by people in the club and was a bit put off because of it.  One man insisted that he'd met me somewhere before.  When he couldn't place it, he'd sat down in confusion and tried to figure it out.  I had almost wanted to comfort him and tell him the whole story, but of course that would have been a preposterous thing to do.
Yeah, it's one thing to have someone think that they recognize you from somewhere, but it's something completely different if they think that you're crazy.



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Aya pulled through for me with the cooking course, and through a friend of hers, she got me enrolled free of charge in a cooking class that was held on Tuesday nights.  I had never taken a lesson in cooking, and found it to be very strict.  I had a feeling that I did everything wrong and angered everyone.  However, after class, our teacher, a middle-aged man by the name of Arai, came and praised me for doing an excellent job on my first day when the class had started a month ago.  I heard afterwards that he rarely paid any compliments to anyone, so part of me felt smug and proud.  The other part felt like a compliment hadn't been necessary and I would have stayed in the class regardless.
Miki may have never had any formal training, but she still has the ability to turn out good product. Her experience working with Obaachan saw to that.  She might not do things "by the book", but no one ever said that cooking has to be done "by the book" to make good food.



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And as for Aya... She tread softly around me for those two weeks, being quite a bit nicer than she usually was

...

I almost would have loved this new change in character, but there was something off about it.  First, I couldn't help but think about why she was acting so nicely.  It was obviously because she had offended me and was trying to make amends.  Second, I didn't like being treated like I was a precious doll.  I liked when I got teased or in trouble.  It bothered me to hell and back, but I loved to get attention from her.  Now I got a different kind of attention, and it seemed a little hollower than the kind I'd enjoyed before.
While it's probably appreciated and all, a change in character of this magnitude would seem rather off to most people. It's nice that Aya wants to make up for the way she acted, there's just something about her current behaviour that's just fake/artificial, and she's oblivious to that fact.  Aya's acting like she has to walk on eggshells around Miki, but all that does is remind Miki that something's wrong/off. In the end Miki continues to have that anxiety, instead of being more relaxed/happy like how Aya had probably intended.



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No matter how many times she reassured me that she just wanted me to be me and to be happy, a slight bitter taste lingered in my mouth from our previous confrontations.  As a result, I spent a lot of time out.
Onoes...please don't say they're drifting apart. :cry:



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And then one day I woke up and decided that I had to do something about it all.  I was doing nothing but going about my life trying to avoid my problems and repress my worries, and they were starting to fester in my mind.  I was second guessing everything I was doing and doubting all my decisions.  Doubting everybody's words, whether of praise or not, to me.
That's really encouraging to hear, but what exactly does Miki plan on doing? :?



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I had nobody I could turn to, though.  I couldn't talk to Aya about it because she was part of the problem.  I couldn't talk to Kuniko about it because that would require me to explain that the "sci-fi metaphor" I'd used before was in fact reality.  I couldn't talk to Shibata about it because she was first and foremost Aya's friend, not mine.  That left only one person that I could go and see.  One person I didn't really want to see.

...

"I've got to meet someone at lunch."

She didn't ask who and didn't suspect that the person I intended to meet didn't know I was going to meet her.
The only person left that Miki can possibly talk to about this is Ochiai-san.  As much as it creeps Miki out that Ochiai-san knows certain things about her and Aya from "another reality", she still really is the only person, given the circumstances, that Miki can go to.  This is going to be really interesting, not to mention potentially really devastating. :O



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"What should I do, Ochiai-san?  Things are getting worse," I said, the words tumbling out of my mouth all of a sudden contrary to all the short, clipped sentences I'd practiced in my mind earlier.  "Isn't there some way to reverse all of this?  Go back in time and stop the world from getting so messed up?"
It's not surprising that Miki has thought this. It's common for people to say or wish that they could go back in time to fix a mistake or keep something from happening. In this particular case, Miki's world started changing the moment she met Aya. If Miki really wants to be able to go back to her old life, it would likely mean not having Aya in it.



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I'm not happy with the way my life is unfolding.  I can't live with the pressure.  It's like I have to continually be on alert for something that's going jump out at me from behind a piece of furniture."

Ochiai stayed quiet.

"And then there's Aya-chan.  I mean, I'm not angry at her because I know she's a really good person, but I get into these situations where I feel so uncomfortable being myself because I don't want to disappoint her.  And even though she says she's not disappointed, I think she is sometimes."
When Miki puts it this way, it sounds like she's living her life for others instead of for herself.  She thinks she has to live up to their expectations, the way that the "other Miki" was capable of doing.  It's like Miki's back home in Hokkaido, only now the people involved are different. Back then she was living her life to make her parents happy, that meant working and going to university. And while she was, for the most part, happy with her life, she wasn't doing it all for herself. She wasn't doing it all because it was what SHE wanted.  Now, instead of her parents, it's what Miki thinks Aya expects of her, as well as the knowledge of the "other Miki" that is driving her.  She's still not doing it completely for herself.



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"But what do I do?  How do I get through this?  I think I'm going crazy."

She shook her head.

"I have no clue."

If Ochiai had no clue, how was I supposed to have one?

"The thing is that you're absolutely right, Fujimoto-san.  It shouldn't be like this.  Maybe whatever set it off will get fixed.  Maybe it won't.  We can only sit and wait."
It's not fair at all that Miki's having to go through this, but like Ochiai-san said, it's not like the problem is something tangible that can actually be handled and fixed.  In the end, all we can do is continue to live our lives, hope for the best, and deal with any issues/problems if/when they arise.



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"If you just leave, she'll be upset, you know.  Don't disappear on her.  Don't just go back to your hometown or some other place.  Give the world some time.  A big place like this needs time."
Leaving would probably be the easiest way out, but then what about Aya? She's already lost Miki once. If Miki leaves, she'll have lost her again, but it will be in a more personally hurtful manner.  Can Miki leave and be able to live with herself knowing that?



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I can't have my own life.  Not one that isn't in the shadow of someone who had such fame.
This one sentence probably best describes what's bothering Miki.  She was perfectly content and had no doubts at all until she found out about the "other Miki" and heard of what she had been able to do.  She knows, "that could have been me" had a few things happened differently when she was younger.  It's one thing to think of "what could have been" when it's based on something that never happened before. Once, however, you based it on a comparison between one thing and another, then it's a totally different ballgame.



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"What I'd learned in that class was that in order to gain that good discipline, I had to be logical.  Reasonable.  But to actually perfect the art side of it, I had to be passionate.  Angry, happy, sad, and everything in between."

I nodded.  I understood his story and his reasoning, but I wasn't sure what it had to do with me.  I'd brought my worries to class and he'd scolded me.

"So my special advice to you," he said with a smile, "is to listen to me and to realise what you are doing, but not to repress it."

I looked at him, incomprehension showing in my eyes, I hoped.

"You are the top student in this class.  I can tell after only three lessons.  You're mature enough to be passionate in the kitchen and get good results.  However, you must also learn how to manage your thoughts and worries so that they don't hinder you but help you.  Learn to channel it in the right way so that you don't stand there with an eggplant for two minutes looking like a fool."
Fuckin' rights this is a great analogy for life and great advice to be giving Miki right now.  Miki's been holding herself back out of fear that she'll do something wrong, causing Aya or someone else to be disappointed in her.  What Arai-san is saying here is, "don't hold back".  Just because she knows these things about the "other Miki" doesn't mean that she has to try to live up to them herself.  If she dwells on it too long, she'll just be hurting herself because she won't be living up to what SHE can do now.



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When I got home, Aya had company over.  It was Shibata, and they were playing some sort of video game on the TV.  I frowned because it didn't fit the image I had of them.
Aya and Shiba-chan playing video games? An odd picture to say the least, even though it is pretty cute to visualize.   :D



Quote
"Sometimes I just feel lonely," I admitted, scared of what she'd think, what she'd say, and what she would only think and not say.

"Lonely?" she asked with a frown.  "You're not alone.  You've got me."

But that was exactly what the problem was.

"But still," I said, shifting uncomfortably.  "When stuff like before happens, I've got nobody."

Aya knew I was talking about what happened after our meeting with Ochiai.

"Yeah, okay," she conceded.  "But even when I'm acting like a superbitch from hell, you've got your other friends."

"That's still not enough.  I can't tell them the truth.  I've only really got you," I insisted.
This is probably the first time that Miki has told this to Aya, and in all likelihood Aya hadn't realized that Miki's life was difficult in this way.  She's the type of person who doesn't want to burden others with her own problems, as such Miki has become really good at internalizing her problems. While Aya could probably tell that Miki was upset, she never really knew the real reason why she was so.



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"Remember how much easier it was when we met?" I chuckled.

"Are you kidding me?" she muttered.

That's right.  It was tougher for her.  But still, it seemed that on the whole, it would have been easier to stay in Hokkaido.

"But if you want to go back, I won't stop you."
Aya realizes that leaving would likely put Miki at ease because then she wouldn't have to deal with these worries of living in anyone's shadow.  Back in Hokkaido she was simply Miki, not "Miki...the girl who could have been...".



Quote
"I don't know what I want," I said.

But, I'd sacrifice my own happiness for her, and she would do the same for me.  I'd stay here for her and she'd willingly let me go if I wasn't happy in this place.
I guess this answers that last question I had asked in my previous response here. Neither Miki nor Aya know what lies ahead, but they're willing to stick it out and find out together.  :love:

JPH!P :heart:'s Fushigidane, ChrNo, Jab & marimari. Always.

Offline Amarghetta

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Re: Restart (Love x ∞ Part II)
« Reply #233 on: September 27, 2007, 10:18:38 PM »
Quote
"Remember how much easier it was when we met?" I chuckled.

"Are you kidding me?" she muttered.

That's right.  It was tougher for her.  But still, it seemed that on the whole, it would have been easier to stay in Hokkaido.

"But if you want to go back, I won't stop you."
Aya realizes that leaving would likely put Miki at ease because then she wouldn't have to deal with these worries of living in anyone's shadow.  Back in Hokkaido she was simply Miki, not "Miki...the girl who could have been...".
Existentialism aside, she just needs to get laid... again.   XD

Offline JFC

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Re: Restart (Love x ∞ Part II)
« Reply #234 on: September 27, 2007, 11:57:29 PM »
Existentialism aside, she just needs to get laid... again.   XD
Hey OTN1, you hear that? Aya needs to turn on the romance and give Miki some rabu-rabu! :lol:

JPH!P :heart:'s Fushigidane, ChrNo, Jab & marimari. Always.

Offline g4rfield

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Re: Restart (Love x ∞ Part II)
« Reply #235 on: September 28, 2007, 12:02:44 AM »
Existentialism aside, she just needs to get laid... again.   XD
Hey OTN1, you hear that? Aya needs to turn on the romance and give Miki some rabu-rabu! :lol:

 :mon blowhorn: YES PLEASE!! Requesting for more rabu rabu! It's been a long time since the last time they got hot all over each other.  :mon lol:

Offline ChiruChaCha

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Re: Restart (Love x ∞ Part II)
« Reply #236 on: September 28, 2007, 01:48:29 PM »
But hey, it's not like Miki has to do everything different from the other Mikis. What if she's bound to become an idol too? Maybe the way of not being in the others shadow is outperforming them... But yeah, I know the issue is that she shouldn't have to be compared to anyone and all that stuff.

Offline OTN1

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Re: Restart (Love x ∞ Part II)
« Reply #237 on: September 28, 2007, 02:19:11 PM »
Yes, that's true, ChiruChaCha.  There's no need for her to deny the obvious tie that she does have with the other Miki, she should accept the possibility that she might be meant to be an idol, too.  The two do share the same childhood, according to Aya, and many similar traits.  But maybe that's just her stubbornness.  With the idea of "I'm my own person!" planted in her head, she becomes nothing but intolerant of any suggestion that she's similar to any other Miki.

(And while I haven't explored the possibility in this story, there could always be a tiny bit of jealousy involved, too.  She's jealous that the other Miki knew Aya a lot better and for a lot longer.  This came up a bit regarding Shibata being The Best Friend.  Miki wasn't raging jealous or anything, but there was a tinge of inevitable (and irrational) regret.  An "I wish I'd met Aya sooner" sort of thing.)

I see growing unrest.  Amarghetta, you've started a rabu rabu movement.

Offline Amarghetta

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Re: Restart (Love x ∞ Part II)
« Reply #238 on: September 28, 2007, 11:19:44 PM »
Amarghetta, you've started a rabu rabu movement.
So it seems, but that wasn't my intention.  I was just stating the obvious, or what appeared to be obvious to me. :lol:
I'd gladly transfer my rabu rabu leadership to JFC, who immediately took to the idea.  XD

« Last Edit: September 29, 2007, 12:06:13 AM by Amarghetta »

Offline JFC

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Re: Restart (Love x ∞ Part II)
« Reply #239 on: September 28, 2007, 11:24:38 PM »
Amarghetta, you've started a rabu rabu movement.
So it seems, but that wasn't my intention.  I was just stating the obvious, or what appeared to be obvious to me. :lol:
I'd glady transfer my rabu rabu leadership to JFC, who immediately took to the idea.  XD
Hey, remember that you were the one that brought it up first. XD

JPH!P :heart:'s Fushigidane, ChrNo, Jab & marimari. Always.

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