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Author Topic: Our Story (Nogizaka46)/Moonlight Studios (NanaMai)  (Read 657 times)

Offline discofrisco

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Our Story (Nogizaka46)/Moonlight Studios (NanaMai)
« on: January 12, 2018, 09:32:16 AM »
Message to reader:
Hello, this is my first post in the fan fiction section and I'm still relatively new to Nogizaka46.
This is just a one-shot but hey, a person can dream about what goes on in Nogizaka46.  :D The lack of Nogi fanfics made me sad so I'll contribute some when I'm not stuck with writer's block.
Hope you enjoy this though it may seem rushed.








It’s been several years since our management decided to push Nishino and me.

Me, namely Shiraishi Mai.

There was an odd feeling of self-consciousness when we first got to know each other, due to the fan’s demands. We became the face of our group, which was built solely on our appearances. Anyone could tell that she was cute and I was beautiful.

The self-awareness that we both had upon meeting each other for the first time during the audition for Nogizaka46 was unbelievably tense. We never spoke a word to each other, but instead talked with others to avoid each other.

Perhaps, I was more carefree than the others including Nishino herself. I was confident that they (the same management as AKB48 and our official rival) were seeking for girls that were attractive and quick to pull in so-called fans that were willing to shell in money for girls they never seen or even heard of before.

I struggled even before joining Nogizaka46. Girls and me, we never got along. Well, not all the girls I knew were bad. I just generally disliked the ones that hated me for my appearance alone. It’s not my fault that I stood out like a sore thumb. I decided to leave behind the place I lived all my life called Gunma, and wanted to start afresh. I wanted to find a place where I could truly call home.

I was used to the stares that I got from people whenever I was outside as a teen, hanging around in the school corridors, the streets, anywhere. But I usually ended up getting scolded for standing out, making other girls jealous and even had secret admirers from both genders.

Ikoma Rina was the original push and ace of our group, but we both knew that wasn't true. It was both me and her. The management tried to convince us that wasn't the case, but it was. We both knew the reality, so we struggled together. We gave each other advice, working to make sure we were doing the right things as the representative and faces of our group.

But the appearance and rise of Nishino Nanase surprised me the most. After a few months in, Nishino was getting closer to the top. Closer to Ikoma. Closer to me. I didn't want her to intrude on the special relationship between me and Ikoma.

I was scared, because I thought she could read me well. I had only heard of her experiences from another member about being isolated on purpose in the past. But I decided to take her on. I didn't want to open up, but I realized that these thoughts might have gone the same for her. This tension between us would never settle down if we kept on avoiding each other.

I was older than her, so being rude to someone younger than me would be looked down upon, vice versa. So, I decided to reach out and learn to trust.

“Nishino,” I called out a few days after my resolution in the waiting room of ours for NogiDoko, but the girl ignored me.

She was avoiding eye contact with me, knowing that I knew she clearly heard me. At this moment, I really wanted to befriend her.

So I tried again.

“Naachan.”

Would using her nickname bring us closer? I wondered, but the girl looked at me for a brief second before running away to another member and pretended that I’d never even said a word.

I frowned to myself. Maybe this approach wasn't working, I thought. Did she hate me? I haven’t done anything wrong yet.

I tried again, this time with a stronger resolve. I cornered her in the waiting room, while everyone else was busy. I sat next to her and tried to start up a conversation which was extremely awkward. We were the only members who didn't interact with each other, unlike the other members that Nishino herself got along with.

“Naachan. Do you like sweets?”

She knew where I was hinting with this, so she quietly nodded and finally said, “Yes.”

It was very quiet after that, because I was stupefied at that moment. Do I invite her out to eat or not? I didn't want to put pressure on her. I was afraid that she would run off again, and continue this game of cat and mouse. Was I really scary to her?

This girl was more harder to talk with than I originally thought. So I decided to make her my target for our ‘inquiries about ______ member’ segment.

-

Her face was priceless when I had my question go up after Hashimoto’s. The people in-charge of our surveys asked me to add more about Nishino, so I made it about her inability to make physical contact with me. I couldn't reveal the fact that we weren't on speaking terms.

“Why are you scared of Shiraishi?” The Bananaman MCs asked.

“She’s…” Nishino awkwardly spoke, raising her hand up as if she were making an elevation motion, “Like up there, you know?”

The MCs quickly responded, agreeing as if most people would.

“Ah, I get it. She’s beautiful,” one of the MCs said.

“I feel like she would get mad if I touched her,” Nishino added, hinting something towards me as I was taken aback.

So she saw me that way. Someone out of her reach. I overestimated her thinking, believing in the notion that the things we experienced, would make us think in similar ways. Her way of thinking was completely different from mine. I should have realized this from the start.

I fought back. She ran away.

-

“Naachan,” I asked, surprising Nishino as I took a hold of her arm after that day, where we held our segments inquiries.

“I’m not scary,” I quietly said, hoping that the girl wouldn't run away, when she turned to see me and gasped in surprise. It was like she read my mind when I looked at her, she had nodded as if she understood where I was coming from.

“I want to get to know you better,” I said, hoping that this opportunity would allow Nishino to reach out to me, “So let’s talk more.”

We were in a group that was clawing for survival and the goal of defeating AKB48. That meant we needed to get along for teamwork to grow among our members.

“Okay,” she said, “I also want to get along with Maiyan.” A small smile.

I couldn't tell what she was thinking as she gave me that expression. What a mystery. I was overconfident about knowing the members well, but in reality I knew less than what I was assuming with my own eyes.

I made a fool out of myself by acting arrogant. How embarrassing.

I could only nod and smile back, before watching Nishino walk away.

-

It was only a few weeks later, that Akimoto Manatsu returned from her hiatus and pushed back Nishino from fukujin for the 3rd single.

It was rough for her, I knew. Her eyes threatened to tear up as Akimoto stepped into the studio, taking the spot that was supposed to be Nishino’s.

It was understandable, so I began to tease Akimoto on purpose by acting angry at her from time to time. She didn't seem to mind, as the other members usually didn't interact with her, and seemed to side with Nishino when they were in the waiting room.

I was aware of the tension between Nishino and Akimoto and wanted to loosen it up, though it shouldn't be any of my business to. Neither of them wanted to step over the others’ boundary.

-

It was obvious that Nishino was having a hard time. I wasn't sure how to feel when she told the others, especially Takayama, that she went back home but came back the next day.

It was frustrating, but the only thing I could do when we were in the waiting room, was to listen to her.

This girl rarely spoke and only through her actions. The way she cleaned up after the other members. It wasn't her job to, but I noticed that she was the type of person to enjoy outdoor events. She had a fascination for oddities and animals, including reptiles and snakes. Indeed, she was completely different from me.

I decided to invite her out for at a coffee shop after a few days later. It was out of the blue, but I wanted to also support her in a way like the other members.

-

‘Maiyan, where are you?’

I received her text and looked around on the second floor, before finding her awkwardly standing outside of the shop in the streets.

I could understand her confusion if she couldn't spot me, I had taken the table near the back with high end folding screens. It was good for private talks. I got up onto my feet and gestured to the waiter that I was still going to stay here.

“Naachan!” I waved to her, outside of the balcony. She looked around and spotted me, a expression of surprise was evident on her face. I couldn't help but smile. I was hopeful that we would become closer after today.

As she trailed behind me and sat down across me in the shop, she looked at me with furrowed eyebrows.

“When did you get here?” She asked, examining the shop’s exterior design. I hoped it was comfortable enough for her to relax. It was one of my favorite coffee shops after all.

“Not that long ago,” I lied.

I had been here since the shop opened up, hoping to get good seats. The owner was surprised, but understood as I allowed myself inside and found the perfect spot for us, but mostly for Nishino. I had a feeling that she didn't like being stared at.

“Have you eaten yet?”

She nodded.

“Ahh, I see. So you ate without telling me?” I pretended to sulk a little, hoping that it would make her laugh.

To my dismay, she was flustered as if she felt bad instead.

“I was kidding, Naachan.” I couldn't tease this girl so easily, I remembered. She really was a good girl.

I liked her, because she didn't hide anything at all. She was good at hiding her true expressions at times though.

I wanted to peek inside her and get a glimpse of how she saw the world. Mine was dull. Black and white. But for her, I imagined that she sees everything in vivid colors. A lively, beautiful world seen through those dark brown eyes.

She quietly took out her sketchbook after I ordered a coffee and for her, a glass of water.

She was modest at spending and never asked more than she needed.

I had the urge of wanting to spoil her. I knew she wasn't poor nor rich. Just average.

Average. What a word. Everything would be simple if everyone was average. Of course, that wasn't possible.

I watched her sketch quietly, she was drawing quite seriously that I had to steal a glimpse of what it was.

A round two legged thing with heavy eye bags and darkly shaded in pupils. I often thought those eyes resembled hers.

Nishino always had a habit of drawing her self creation character, Doiya-san.

Sometimes, I wondered what it meant. Drawing it meant that her mind was just being absentminded or maybe she was stressed out.

“Naachan,” I said out of the blue.

She flinched in surprise as I had broken the deep silence between us.

“Y-Yes?”

“Am I hard to approach?”

I didn't want to put her on the spot, but rather wanted to hear what she thought of me.

“No,” she shook her head, “I think you’re…open minded. A good listener.”

I wanted to laugh a little as she was trying hard to come up with good traits from me.

“It’s okay, I know. I was just thinking how the world was unfair sometimes.”

“What do you mean?”

“That some of us can’t chose to be who we want to be.”

Of course, life was never fair. Things could be easier if we could chose our own personalities, physical appearances, and habits.

There was some silence between us before Nishino finally came up with a proper answer, which I wasn't expecting from her.

“I think we were born this way because life gave us each a challenge to overcome,” she paused, seeming to be unsure what else to say after that.

I patiently waited, because I knew this girl often had a hard time getting words to come out of her mouth.

“…And what we challenge becomes a part of us. It’s what makes us grow, when a weakness becomes a strength.”

I nodded. Maybe so. A challenge. Growth. This girl was undoubtedly forcing herself to be positive.

I didn't want to push her to talk, though there were many things I wanted to ask her. I would leave it for another time, as I noticed the time had passed by quickly due to our silence.

It was the first time that I’d ever experienced something like this. The silence wasn't begging for us to talk.

So this was one way to enjoy someone’s company.

-

I became center for the first time.

Everyone applauded me as soon as the cameras stopped rolling. I was tired and pressured, because this meant a turning point for us. For me. I could only listen to Ikoma’s advice as she was the only one with experience as a center. Everyone saw that she was relieved that she was no longer the center.

It was time for others to shine, she said.

I understood. She must have felt a hollowness in her when she wasn't announced as the center.

-

Nogibingo. This was the time when I enjoyed the purpose of the show, having seen clips of them on YouTube and various websites with AKB48. The games and pranks were fun, it would be time for some of us that were used to variety practices, to relax and playfully attack each other for something that bothered us.

This program would help us sort out some of our external problems, and allow the fans to ‘know’ us more.

But for those who were serious and would rather practice for hours at end to a new song, hated Nogibingo.

Nishino and Ikuta weren't exceptions. Surprisingly, Ikuta got the hang of the show’s purpose and came to terms that Nogizaka46’s image would change in some ways, but not on the inside.

For Nishino, the bizarreness of the show’s MC, Iijiri became her nemesis. I couldn't help but wonder if she was still unable to accept the fact that she would have to poke fun at herself and at others. I knew she hated doing things that made fun of others, lightly or not. She didn't like nor wanted conflict among the members.

Ikoma and I had to reassure her that nothing bad would happen. We would help her when she was stuck trying to stand out in Nogibingo. As a front row member, it wasn't easy for her to speak up. But nonetheless, she spoke from time to time, eventually fitting in with the members in her own way.

-
After some time when Nishino became the new center for our 8th single, it became  a period of stress for her again. It was obvious that she was worried, she even sought out Ikoma and I, for advice as the center.

The last time she experienced a rush of stress must've been when we had our plays. And we were having one in a few months again.

Some learned to love it, others simply did what they were told and the rest pretended to act like they were enjoying them when in reality, it was hell.

I hated them. Most of us didn't want to go through that period of time again, even if we liked the plot and roles or not. Getting voted by fans to act out roles that were limited to at least half of the group was the worst system to use for our group. No one liked seeing the others being left out.

No one liked being left out either.

-

Nishino and I were being put together for the 8th single’s music video shooting.

Kidzuitara Kataomoi. When I Realized It Was Unrequited Love.

What a title, paired with Nishino as the center. This was a hit for sure. There was no one more suited for the center of this song than Nishino at this moment.

She was one of the members that had the established image of a delicate girl needing to be protected at all costs, and the first love kind of aura. She was also good at showing sad expressions. To some of us, it was her usual expression of being absentminded.

Of course, she didn't like being limited to those kinds of roles, a damsel in distress. But that was how the public differentiated us in Nogizaka46.

-

Our appearances in magazines increased, as we were both in demand and pushed by the management to be core members.

It was awkward at first, but I paid no mind to the inmate things that we were suggested to do. Simple friendly gestures. The type of best friends forever mood. I honestly thought Nishino would be fed up with the constant workload and absurd requests, but she actually charged at them with full power.

Like a battering ram.

A girl with guts, but only showed them when it was necessary. The type of girl who kept things in and surprise others unintentionally.

Even after a few years working with the same members and management, she hardly broke out of her shell. She only opened up when it was time to be professional about work outside of Nogizaka46.

-

Nishino centered for another two singles. I could tell she was stressed for a different reason this time around. She was worried that she was taking up the spotlight for too long, taking up center multiple times in a short period. It was similar to what Ikoma felt at the beginning of our story. For now, Ikoma was the only one who she could rely on for support.

Everyone sympathized for them both.

Ikoma already had her plate full with activities from AKB48 as a concurrent member, to which she recently announced to be terminated from soon.

Nishino, who hadn't been seen with tears in her eyes for a while, cried hard. I could only stare at her from afar as the other members comforted her.

-

This was the most awkwardest photo shoot we ever had. Compared to the recent music video shooting and the past magazine shoots where we were casually hugging each other and whatnot, this was on another level.

Kabedon.

I found myself standing on top of a wooden block, placing an arm next to Nishino’s head and hovered over her. She was barely paying any attention to the absurd situation we were in.

These people were indeed, crazy in the head.

Pay no mind, I thought as we could almost feel the dozens of eyes watching us, including Manatsu and Nanamin.

It was the most ridiculous moment that I’d experienced with Nishino. Her eyes that were locked with mine, suddenly went down to look at my lips. I quickly turned away, hiding my surprise by chuckling.

Maybe at this time I started to actually recognize the extent of why and how Nishino became popular among the fans, besides her cute facial features.

What was Nishino thinking? I was beyond blown away at how she seemed calm, looking innocently at me as the cameras kept flashing us. I really wanted to curl up into a ball at that moment.

I wondered if I had a crush on her. It was hard to tell if I liked her or not. While working together, the time would pass by without another thought as we were busy trying to meet everyone else’s expectations.

-

The drama for Hatsumori Bemars had an absurd plot.

Nishino and I were pitted against each other. Typical girl next door and goody-two shoes versus overly confident and rich girl, both with internal family problems.

These roles were too cliché. Watching the result of the staff’s low-budget editing of our softball pitches and hits were the final blow to my self-esteem for this entire drama. I had a feeling that the future me looking back to the past would try to forget that this drama ever happened.

But Nishino appeared to enjoy the exaggerated effects and softly laughed at them, imitating the way I pitched the ball.

In a way, I was relieved that there was still an innocent side to her as we grew older.

-

The announcement of double centers surprised everyone, especially me. Maybe it was obvious for some. But for me, I was expecting it to be two new people. I immediately realized that it was too early for a new idea to be tested with members who’d never centered before, though it was done before with Ikoma and Hoshino for a b-side.

It had been a while since I was a center, but not as a solo.

I liked this idea. Double centers.

Nishino shot a small smile at me as we walked back to the waiting room, after being told our schedules for the day and when the practices would start.

-

Spending time together again. It had been a while, I noticed as Nishino and I were the only ones left behind, busy scribbling in notes for our 13th single’s dance choreography.

“Naachan,” I called out, as soon as we were done writing the reminders and extra post notes for our point dances. I was starving, and Nishino must've been too.

“Hm?”

“Do you want to eat out with me?”

She pondered for a moment before nodding.

“Okay, I’ll let you choose. Maiyan usually knows good places to eat at, after all.”

I had to playfully tease her, “Oh, so you don’t mind if I treat you at the food stalls down the street?”

A smile escaped from her as I tossed my notebook and pencil into my bag, throwing my jacket over my shoulders and grabbed my bag along the way to the door.

“Why not? It’s the taste of what we've eaten for years after practice,” She followed after me as I opened and held the door for her to exit first, “To me, it’s the second closest meal to home.”

Okay, she had a point there. I could only shake my head, because she had gotten better at coming back at my teasing. Originally, I was going to take her out to somewhere better, but hearing her say something this sensible made me change my mind.

Simple eateries that held meaning tasted better than the finest dishes in the city.

-

“You can eat anything you’d like, order anything in big amounts,” I told her as soon as we reached one of the stalls in the streets.

The chilling cold was no match to the street vendor’s cart that was filled with hot fried foods and extra delicious treats.

“What if I want the whole cart?”

“Hold it, let’s draw some lines there.” I pinched the bridge of my nose, pretending that I was upset with her answer, “We have other people eating here too, you know.”

The stall vendor laughed as Nishino cheekily grinned at him.

Oddly enough as if this girl wasn't already cute enough, the gods decided to bestow her the habit of unintentionally eating messily. When I first saw this, I thought the girl was extremely oblivious to realize that she ate so fast that the corners of her mouth would get smeared by grease or sauce. But as it often happened, I came to learn that it was a part of her.

As the street vendor was busy tending to another customer that entered just now, I quickly took the opportunity to wipe off some of the ketchup on the side of her mouth with a french fry.

“Eh?” She was caught off guard.

“Itadakimasu.” I opened my mouth and ate it.

“You…why,” she stammered out, it was a golden moment to witness. She was flabbergasted.

“Oh?” I playfully looked at her, “I needed a bit of ketchup but there happened to be some on your face…I’m killing two birds with one stone?”

Okay, I had to admit that was a terrible move. I was beyond embarrassed at the way I was acting on impulse.

The self-consciousness inside of me quickly rose, making me realize that I liked her more than I should have been.

She only laughed at me as I continued to eat, pretending that I had not done something idiotic just a moment ago. My ears rapidly heated up in embarrassment and shame.

The realization that I had a crush on her hit me at once. The moments of finding myself short of breath when I was with her, the rapid rush of adrenaline when she genuinely smiled.

There wasn't anything more to wish for than to hide my affections for her right now.

Because I already knew my place long ago.

I was just one of the many people that fell for her. She, who rarely opened up to anyone including Kazumin, was out of my reach.

So I forbade myself from doing anything unintentionally to her again. I didn't want her to notice that I was harboring feelings for her.

-

Of all times, the promotions as double centers wasn't going the way I wanted to.

I was trying to avoid her for the first week by limiting our daily interactions. I turned to staff members and the members for help instead. Even though the promotion schedule for the 13th single was packed to the brim, the dance choreography, the music video, the magazine photo shoots, the variety shows–everything was leading me back to her.

Today was no exception. Practicing for the upcoming tour, the dance stages needed to be looked over so that we, Nogizaka46, would give an unforgettable performance and concert date to our fans.

“Thanks,” I said to Nishino who handed me a water bottle.

“Mm.”

I opened it and took a sip as she sat next to me during the dance practice.

Nishino was hinting that she was wondering if I was troubled by anything.

She must have noticed the distance that I created between us. I should have done it more discreetly, but I was too rash with my decisions that day.

“Is there anything bothering you, Maiyan?” She asked, “Like the choreography?”

“No, not at all.”

She nodded, “Okay.”

That was the end of it.

I knew she wasn't the type to pry in personal matters. She already knew where to draw the line.

I couldn't hate that side of her, no matter how hard I tried.

The goody-two shoes girl. I hated those kinds of girls in the past. What good would it be to abide to the laws like a blind fool? Even if they were wrong at times? In reality, they were too soft. Too caring.

Maybe that’s why I hated them.

With that small exchange, I already knew that she would never feel the same towards me. That pissed me off a little.

It wasn't her fault. She didn't do anything wrong. I had to do something, anything to get my mind away from the mixed emotions that were making my head spin.

So I decided that I would run with my tail in between my legs. The type that I never thought I’d become.

“I’ll be back,” I got up onto my feet, “Heading outside for a minute.”

Without looking back, I quickly got up and went outside to cool my head off.

-

I did everything to keep my self together. It was going well. It really was, until I saw that Nishino was really worried for me. Everyone was.

I sure as hell was fine, I told them. But it only made them worsen my current mental state of mind.

“Whatever, you guys are overreacting,” I brushed them off, quickly in a hurry to leave after practice. I was exhausted and felt nothing was much needed than a good bath and sleep.

Everyone decided to go off on their own as I went home. They knew when to stop, unlike this one girl.

Nishino had been following me the whole time. I didn't say a word on the way, hearing her footsteps behind me was annoying. But I had no energy to tell her to go home. No one told her to follow me anyways.

“If you’re planning to stand here all day then fine,” I was acting like a real douche right now, turning to her as I was opening the door to my apartment. If she wasn't leaving, then I’d leave her out in the hallways.

I had no self control for myself, nor for the other girl. I wanted to piss off Nishino for once.

She did. She must've finally felt something snap inside of her, and slapped me across the face.

It hurt.

“Don’t be selfish, Shiraishi!” She shouted, as I turned to look at her. A stinging pain struck my cheek as I clenched my jaw.

She finally was angry now.

People who heard her shouting at me, were starting to appear. I couldn't risk getting us on the news headlines tomorrow, and tried to pull her inside so she could scream at me without making a commotion.

But she didn't budge an inch.

“You need to realize that your behavior isn't okay! It’s not! You’re acting like a child,” she yelled, as I stood there dumbfounded.

Her eyes were tearing up.

But this hurt more. I cursed myself for acting, like she said, a child.

She continued on, as her tears rolled down her cheeks. I wanted to tell her that I was sorry, but I didn't have the courage nor the right to.

“Do you know that?! Everyone really is worried about you! Please, understand that you’re affecting everyone else’s mood too. Act responsibly, this isn't like you! You aren't the Maiyan that I know.”

With that, she coldly said ‘goodnight’ to me and stormed away, her footsteps could be heard loudly as she left.

I glared at the nearby people observing us.

“What are you looking at?”

I slammed the door behind me and walked to my bedroom instead of taking a shower. Practice was earlier and I had sweat a bunch but I couldn't bring myself to move an inch. Throwing myself on the bed face down, I turned to the side and stared blankly at the wall.

I didn't feel like doing anything, relieved that I had a day off tomorrow. No one could bother me now. I sighed before forcing myself to grab my bag to take out my smart phone and shut it down.

Finally, peace for myself. My eyelids were heavy, weighing down my sight as I drifted off to sleep.

-

…ding…dong…di–

The sound of the door bell ringing was starting to wake me up from my deep sleep. I looked at the clock on the side of my bed and groaned.

It was past 11 o'clock in the morning.

First thing I see after someone was annoying me by ringing the door. I lazily got up and fixed my hair, seeing that I hadn't changed before I slept last night. I threw on a plain t-shirt and tossed the shirt I wore yesterday into the laundry basket on my way to the door.

“Coming!” I yelled.

I felt a little better though, while walking to the door.

It was Fukagawa, Nanamin and Mattsun.

“Hello,” I greeted as they appeared to look like they had been standing around for a while.

“See? I told you she was in here,” Mattsun suddenly said, while Fukagawa smiled as I arched a eyebrow at them.

“You sure…took a while,” Fukagawa said, as I gave a nod,“ You weren't answering your phone so we came here to see if you were home.”

“I was busy,” I lied, while letting them inside my apartment.

“Busy with what for the past hour?” Nanamin snapped as I turned to see that she was angry.

I couldn't lie inside any longer.

“I was peacefully sleeping until you guys woke me up. Happy?” I fired back, “Look, it’s none of your business to be bothering me–”

I knew I was wrong to be getting angry at them for visiting me.

“Okay, okay,” Mattsun suddenly interrupted me as she shoved me into my bedroom, “Go back to sleep. We brought some porridge over from the store nearby.”

“Huh?” I looked at her, “Porridge for what? I’m not–”

So everyone thought I wasn't feeling well. Well, they weren't exactly wrong either. I couldn't bother fighting back anymore and obeyed them.

I decided to sleep for the next few hours even though I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep later on.

“Sorry,” I muttered as I watched Mattsun tuck me in. She was one of the members that didn't hesitate to talk to me in the early days. I guess there was some perks to having her not just as a member, but also a reliable friend.

“Don’t say that to me, say that to Maimai and Nanamin. They called me over to see what was up. We’re not that dumb to notice that something’s stressing you out either.”

“…thanks.” I couldn't gather the strength in me to tell the trio to leave. It seemed like they had already made plans for the day as they were still staying here.

“Don’t make me repeat myself,” Mattsun said, as she left.

-

I found myself being woken up by Mattsun who brought a tray with porridge to my bed. Nanamin and Fukagawa left earlier because they had something to do out of Nogizaka46, thankfully.

 I didn't want to talk to anyone. Not even Mattsun, who was here.

“I can do it by myself,” I said, picking up the spoon and blew on it before taking in a bite.

Surprising, it tasted better than I expected. I was terrified about what cooking dangers were waiting me whenever she cooked something and brought it to work or a get-together at home.

She stared at me with a different look in her eyes this time.

“You've changed a little, Maiyan,” she kept on staring at me as my eyes continued to avoid hers on purpose. I had no intention of opening up about my inner issues.

“How so?”

“You rarely say anything when you’re bothered by something.”

“I’m dealing with a lot lately. Work related,” I added, hoping to change the subject.

She didn't look away as I continued to eat.

“Even if you didn't say anything, we noticed the red mark on your face earlier.”

Fuck. I cursed myself for not remembering to properly cover it up, finally looking at the other girl.

“I had some issues yesterday.”

“Uh huh,” she said, not wanting to hear my excuses, “I don’t know what’s going on in your life and I’m not going to be nosing in to it.”

I thought I could breath a little out of relief after hearing that.

But she leaned towards me and softly whispered in my ear, “However for what ever reason if you’re still struggling, I’ll be here for you.”

Sometimes, the things that came out of this girl’s mouth scared me.

“Okay,” I said, finishing up the porridge and got out of the bed, “Thanks for being here today.” I was uncomfortable with staying in a room with her right now, and grabbed my phone on the bed dresser.

I turned it on, before heading out of my bedroom.

“There’s more in the kitchen,” Mattsun said from behind me as I walked to the kitchen.

“Mhm.” I didn't feel like eating anymore.

“What are you going to do for the day?” Mattsun asked me, curious as I had no plans for the day.

“Not much.” I really couldn't lie to her for some reason, but answered her vaguely. I didn't want to face the consequences if I did. Lying did no good after all.

“Okay,” Mattsun said without hesitation, now telling me that she was leaving.

I thought I would finally get the time for myself to recoup when I heard her open the door and exclaim loudly, “Naachan! What are you doing here?”

At the sound of her name being mentioned, I quickly looked to see that Nishino was standing there. The atmosphere became tense without Mattsun noticing, as she continued to talk with Nishino.

“Ah, I was just on my way home,” she said, “Maiyan wasn't feeling well so I made her some porridge,” she was giggling as I face-palmed myself.

I really wanted her to leave, looking at Nishino who appeared to now say her goodbyes to Mattsun as she finally did leave.

For Nishino, I knew I had to come clean with myself. I would push back my own feelings and lock them up, permanently. I couldn't risk anything because I was still afraid of rejection. I was a coward.

“Nishino.” I quietly said, seeing that she was standing there, holding onto the strap of her bag.

“I’m sorry about last night,” she suddenly apologized, “I didn't mean to say those things yesterday–”

I stopped her there, “No, you were right. I should know better than to act selfishly. Thank you for waking me up.”

I had no idea what to say at this point. She was looking down at the ground, possibly thinking the same as me.

I couldn't turn her away after she came here to visit me, it would be rude of me to not invite her into my place.

“Uh, do you want to come in? I have some left over porridge from Mattsun but I can cook something if you want.”

Nishino shook her head, “No thank you, I already ate so…yeah.”

I don’t know what came to me at this moment, when the urge to grab her hand and bring her into my apartment struck me at once.

“ I want to tell you something,” I told her without thinking. I couldn't understand myself, the actions I did on impulse conflicted with what I was thinking at the moment. “It won’t take long,” I added, hoping that she’d give me the chance to tell her the truth.

“Hm,” Nishino gave me a curt nod as she stepped inside, I followed her after closing the door.

I was going to tell her, my mind kept whirring as I watched her carefully walk around my living room, looking at the interior before finally sitting down.

She was sitting across me, as I tucked a strand of loose hair back behind my ear.

“I've been wondering about telling this to you for a while,” I told her, as she nodded again.

Seeing how she was looking at me with such an attentive expression on her face, I hesitated to say another word when she suddenly said, “It’s okay if you don’t want to say anything. I understand.”

“No, you don’t,” I could barely continue as the lump in my throat grew. “I've always wanted to tell you…that I liked you.” I had to carefully put my words together. The word love, it was hard to say for me.

“I love you,” I could barely utter the three damned words out.

“…what?” A confused expression was evident on her face, I could tell that she never thought nor felt the same as me to her. She never did. She never, ever in this world, would she. And that broke my heart.

“I meant in a romantic way.” I bluntly put it.  I had nothing to lose, but everything to lose at the same time.

“I know it’s wrong, I know I should have kept my mouth shut, I know,” I was rambling now, unable to keep my tears from falling. I didn't want to hear anything come out of Nishino’s mouth.

I was too damned scared.

Everything that came out of her mouth was white noise.

But I could hear it.

Her face that showed she was both surprised and shocked. Her eyes that seemed so sad. Her lips that mouthed to me those dreadful words.

Thank you.’

Kidzuitara Kataomoi. Unrequited Love.

I couldn't help but weakly nod, digging my nails into my thigh in regret.

Everything was so painful.

It hurt. But I was grateful, that she didn't leave or hated me. She stayed in the end.

“Thank you…for listening.”

But I couldn't move on if I kept hiding these feelings inside of me.

This pain that I didn't have to deal with anymore, was finally lifted from my shoulders.

It was over now.

-

“Maiyan!”

Nishino was calling out to me, as we were on the way to Music Station for one of our performances for Influencer.

“I’m here,” I replied, looking to see that Mattsun and the others were behind me, “Are you guys ready?”

They nodded, some were excited for the stage as we were unveiling a song that showed yet another unique and new side of Nogizaka46.

Things have gotten better, I smiled.

Although it was rough to get back onto my feet, I could see how strong our group, Nogizaka46, had grown. Many things had happened, other members like Asuka and Misa got their spotlight, the third generation members entering, photo books and magazines in demand, our media interest was now on its’ peak, with sales of a million CDs being announced.

We've all had moments of ups and downs in our lives, but that was how it was. It was bittersweet, when some of our members had announced their graduations, like Nanamin, Seira and Fukagawa. But life doesn't stop.

In the nearby future, I would look back at Nogizaka46 as my fondest memories and as the best times in my life.

But for now, I hoped to savor each moment and second that passed by as an opportunity to press forward and appreciate that I entered the right group at the right time.

With the others by my side, I trusted them to have my back as I would do for them.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2018, 05:18:30 AM by discofrisco »

Offline clin-nolan

  • Member
  • Posts: 21
Re: Our Story (Nogizaka46)
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2018, 06:08:39 AM »
 Why does Nanase reject it? :panic:  :banghead:
The story is very complete because it tells what they have lived and that's why it's great even though the ending is a bit bittersweet  :twothumbs
I also feel sad about the lack of stories about the groups46 so I thank the people who take the time to write about them  :D :heart:  :heart: :heart:

Offline four4four

  • Member+
  • Posts: 129
Re: Our Story (Nogizaka46)
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2018, 10:31:10 PM »
Wah? Why did Nanase reject Maiyan? :cry:
I was expecting her to accept it so that it seems that Maiyan's worrying was for nothing.

All in all, I enjoyed this fic. Feels complete with closure.
Looking forward to your next release.

Offline discofrisco

  • Member
  • Posts: 2
Re: Our Story (Nogizaka46)/Moonlight Studios (NanaMai)
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2018, 05:16:48 AM »
Wah? Why did Nanase reject Maiyan? :cry:
I was expecting her to accept it so that it seems that Maiyan's worrying was for nothing.

All in all, I enjoyed this fic. Feels complete with closure.
Looking forward to your next release.
Hahaha, isn't it interesting? :lol: Nishino's personality is like that to me, you peel open an orange to find another orange peel inside it! Poor Shiraishi, indeed.   :cry:

Why does Nanase reject it? :panic:  :banghead:
The story is very complete because it tells what they have lived and that's why it's great even though the ending is a bit bittersweet  :twothumbs
I also feel sad about the lack of stories about the groups46 so I thank the people who take the time to write about them  :D :heart:  :heart: :heart:
Yeah, personally writing Nishino's pov is quite hard so I'll leave it as it is. It's not fun if all the fanfics have happy endings all the time. :twisted: There's a need to write sad ones too, which happen a lot more than we think. :bleed eyes:


Here is a new chapter of something I wrote over the last few days.

Nishino Nanase has to wear the pants this time, so she's our heroine for this Nanase x Maiyan fanfic.
Enjoy.  :D




Title: Moonlight Studios - Chapter One

Nishino Nanase was a twenty-one year old freelance photographer forced to take a day trip to Gunma by her childhood friend and boss, Wakatsuki Yumi for “inspirational purposes.” As much as Nishino didn't want to admit it, Wakatsuki was sharp at detecting whenever her photos lacked spirit or artistic sense.

Today was the first day of her so-called trip, which was just a day off for the young girl to get up from her photography funk.

Nishino didn't know what to photograph as soon as she had stepped a foot out of the bullet train that took five hours to get here from Osaka. She decided to walk around and observe the life in Gunma which wasn't too distinct from her hometown.

The woman chose to search for souvenirs to give to her boss along with her assigned photograph ‘homework’.

Along the way, she picked up a couple of snacks and goods that Wakatsuki and her girlfriend, Sakurai Reika would probably enjoy.

-

In the eyes of Nishino, her index finger pressed on the shutter button when she found the perfect angle to snap a photo from a staircase in a park.

Click.

Her Sony Alpha SLT-A57 camera was aimed at the scenery from the top of a hill before pointing at the side profile of a young girl, presumably around her age, playing around with a bunch of kids.

This camera wasn't anything special to other photographers, but to Nishino it was one of the first cameras she had bought with her hard earned money in high school. She brought it along in hopes that something would catch her eye.

“Hm?”

And as she believed, she found herself being indulged and unknowingly drawn into the beauty of this young woman.

Her stoic cold eyes was the focus.

Click.

Nishino quickly put away her camera as the girl suddenly made eye contact with her, as if she was aware of watching her.

As soon as Nishino knew she was caught red-handed, she quickly tucked her camera into her bag and turned around to walk away, pretending that their eye contact was pure coincidence.

-

Nishino wandered off into the town of Gunma, searching for a restaurant or a shop after taking photos of whatever looked interesting or appealing to her. Her theme was the life in Gunma which seemed slightly mundane compared to the bright and green side of Osaka.

Her eyes scanned the area, and finally found herself standing in front of a modern family restaurant. It wasn't anything fancy, but Nishino snapped a photo of it before walking inside. There was something that pulled her towards the restaurant. It was empty.

“Welcome!”

A voice greeted her as soon as she entered the restaurant, to which she nodded her head in return. The inside of the coffee shop was homely but felt much more welcoming compared to the city restaurants, an old-fashioned feel to it.

Her eyes looked up to see a woman in her mid-fifties, who smiled warmly at her as she gestured her to a table.

“Thank you,” Nishino replied as soon as she sat down and set aside her bag. She took out her camera and placed it on the table. Nishino ordered a simple bowl of udon, to which the Gunma prefecture was known for its’ wheat productions.

As she waited, she picked up her camera and looked at the photos she had taken. They were decent and not too shabby as she thought. Shots of pigeons, pets and the scenery appeared one after another. Maybe Wakatsuki would take these as acceptable.

Checking the next photo, the shot of the girl came back into her and made her furrow her brows.

She wondered who this girl was, playing so happily with the other kids.

“Excuse me,” the woman returned with her order, surprising Nishino before setting it in front of her.

“Enjoy your meal,” she smiled as the younger woman nodded, picking up a pair of chopsticks and wiped them before digging into the udon.

It’s delicious, Nishino thought as she ate.

The woman suddenly appeared again, with a jug of water and empty glass in her hands.

“May I sit here?”

Nishino looked at her with a confused expression before nodding.

“Sure.”

“So where did you come from? I see that you’re carrying a camera, so you must be a tourist.”

The woman refilled Nishino’s glass of water before pouring herself some.

Nishino gave her a nod, “Yes, I’m a photographer from Osaka.”

She didn't mind the woman as she ate, knowing that the family restaurant was empty. It must be lonely, the younger woman noticed as she looked at the woman who smiled at her.

“…Would you like to see some photos?” Nishino asked, unsure how to continue the conversation. She was trying to finish eating her bowl of udon which was half-way done since the woman suddenly decided to chat with her.

“That would be nice,” she replied.

Nishino placed her chopsticks down and picked up her camera, turning it on before handing it to the woman.

Nishino watched as she skimmed through her photos, “Seems like you've captured some amusing photos.”

She turned the camera around to show Nishino herself taken photos of pigeons.

“…I guess they’re fascinating, though some people think the opposite of me.”

The woman chuckled a little, “So you like birds. Adorable.”

Nishino couldn't help but feel embarrassed. She quickly picked up her glass of water to cool down her heating face. There wasn't any reason to feel ashamed about liking birds, but Nishino was self-conscious about herself at times.

As the woman continued to look through her photos, her eyes noticed one photo that stood out among the bright photos of sceneries and birds.

“How surprising,” the woman suddenly said as she turned the camera to Nishino who arched a eyebrow before realizing that she was showing her a photo of the girl in the park with children.

“She’s my daughter,” the woman pointed out, causing Nishino to nearly choke and drop the glass of water she was sipping on.

“Eh?”

Nishino didn't know what else to say as the woman chuckled a little. It would be odd and awkward to see a stranger take a photo of someone’s daughter and show it to their mother unknowingly.

“Shiraishi Mai,” she said, continuing as she handed back her camera to her, “My daughter’s name, of course.”

“That’s a pretty name,” Nishino replied, curious as of to why her mother would tell her, but that was how the older people in the countryside talked. She really loved her daughter, the girl could tell by how bright her eyes looked.

Looking at the woman closely now, Nishino could see the similarity in her facial expressions. The deep dark wrinkles that cut through her cheeks whenever she smiled. The smile which curved upwards, from one corner to the other.

Especially the cold sharp eyes.

Nishino was intrigued as she smiled a little. This woman who owned a cozy and homely shop made her feel like she was a joy to be around.

“My daughter would love to see these photos that you took.” There was a sad look in her eyes as Nishino raised an eyebrow in curiosity.

She wondered and wanted to ask the older woman where her daughter was right now, she saw her earlier with children.

“She’s been staying here for my sake,” the woman continued, “Though I suppose she would like to see outside of this tiny town she has lived all her life in.”

Nishino could understand her feelings. Her own parents pushed her to go out and explore the world outside of their hometown when she was only sixteen and a homebody.

Taking a train to different places alone, she was able to see that life wasn't just mundane in Osaka. There was beauty to be explored and experienced in person. Nishino made it a rule for herself to capture whatever stirred something inside of her as she traveled to different places as an international student in university. She took photos of things that made her feel alive, and rarely took photos of people intentionally.

“I can make arrangements for that,” Nishino blurted out, “Ah, I mean like a trip…” She trailed off, unsure what to say because the woman looked so sad at that moment.

“My husband used to take photos on his days off.”

Nishino looked up from her bowl in surprise.

“He has a photo album,” the woman smiled, seeing Nishino’s eyes spark with curiosity.

“He does?” Nishino was interested in seeing it. As if woman read her mind that moment, she told her that she was going to retrieve it from upstairs.

Nishino watched as her feet disappeared into the 2nd floor and smiled.

Today would be another memorable moment of times when she found herself being shown and told stories of people’s past. Photos were indeed special, as they capture history in the moment before being lost in time. They were proof of its’ existence.

“Here,” the woman handed her a blue leather photo album book, bounded with a spring as a spine.

Nishino flipped through the photo album that the woman had given her.

“Your husband traveled the around the world,” Nishino noticed as there were landmarks from the Grand Canyon to sculptures from Florence, Italy.

“Amazing.”

Nishino had yet to travel that far and long, as she was still working to improve her photography skills.

“He died a few years ago.”

Nishino had a feeling that was the case, as she could feel the mood faster than the average person, “I’m sorry to hear that.”

“Don’t be,” the woman only gave her a small smile.

Nishino looked at her watch, it was already past five without her knowing. She was still absorbed into the photos, there was something about the way those photos were taken. She saw some family photos along the way and furrowed her brows.

The girl’s expression gradually changed as she got older, the way the photos were taken immediately struck her as the time that her father wasn't around. Realizing that she was intruding on family matters that weren't of her business to, she shut it close and placed it on the table.

She was done for now, feeling the heavy weight that was carried along in those photos. Death wasn't so kind to humans.

“Already done?”

The woman was wiping her hands with a cloth rag as Nishino nodded.

“Yes, the photos were lovely. Your husband must have been a great photographer,” Nishino said as she took out her wallet to pay for the food, before being stopped by the woman.

“There’s no need to pay, it’s on the house,” the woman said before the younger woman could refute as it was unmoral to not pay for her patron.

Instead of actually disagreeing with the older woman, she handed her business card before saying goodbye as it was getting darker. She wasn't seeking business with the older woman, but was giving her number in case if she wanted to call her.

For some reason, Nishino had a feeling that she would come back to visit some time.

“Thank you for coming by,” the woman said as Nishino nodded again.

“…You’re welcome.”

Today was an interesting day, she thought to herself on the way to the inn she had rented for the night. Maybe this trip wasn't so bad and neither needed nor unneeded.

Tomorrow, she would go back and hand in these photos first thing in the morning.

-

On the way to the train station back to Osaka, Nishino looked down at her hands before reaching into her bag for her camera.

She scrolled through the photos and finally stopped at the picture of the girl named Shiraishi Mai.

An interesting mother and daughter.

-

Nishino watched as Wakatsuki crossed her arms after taking a look at her photos.

“Your photos were okay,” she said, “But did something good happen?”

Nishino shook her head, curious as of to why her boss would ask her such a question. She didn't show her the photo of Shiraishi Mai because she believed it wasn't necessary to tell her the context and why she took a photo of her.

“Not really. Why?”

Indeed, Wakatsuki wasn't just sharp on detecting the mood in photos, but also in people. Nishino hated being easily read by such people, but not Wakatsuki as she took her in as an inexperienced photographer while on the job. She gave strong criticism and allowed her to improve and understand the world in a photo much better.

“Never mind,” Wakatsuki knew Nishino well, she wouldn't open up easily and let it slide for now.

Her mood improved slightly and for whatever reason it was, she didn't want that to disappear. She decided to allow the photographer to roam around with a curious mind instead of a depressing one, once she came back from her day trip.

-

A few weeks later -

“Nishino-san, you've got some mail!” Sakurai knocked on her office door, before allowing herself  to enter her office with furrowed brows, “From a Shiraishi-san in Gunma.”

As Sakurai was Wakatsuki’s girlfriend, she worked as the recipient and secretary of Moonlight Studios, named after the ‘tsuki’ character in Wakatsuki’s name.

“Huh?” Nishino arched a eyebrow in curiosity, she didn't think the woman would send her mail instead of sending her a phone call or faxed something over, “Uh, thanks.”

Sakurai stared at Nishino.

“You look suspicious,” the secretary said as she squinted her eyes, something about Nishino was different lately.

“Is this Shiraishi-san important to you?”

“Don’t nose into my business,” Nishino quickly told her off, “We’re still in working hours. Stupid.”

Sakurai pouted as she turned away, “I’m going to tell Waka that you were being mean to me again!”

Nishino shook her head in disbelief of the behavior from her same-age co-worker, surely how was Wakatsuki able to handle her? She would never know.

Turning her attention to the mail, she opened it and found it was just photos, no letters, a paper or note. Nothing but photos. Photos taken by her husband, all in Gunma. Why did she decide to send them to her?

She shuffled them together and put them back into the envelope. She decided to look over them when she had time, as her mind was more focused on the fact that a client was expecting their wedding photos to be ready to go for distribution by tomorrow.

-

Nishino opened up the envelope and looked at them once she got home, in her bedroom. She placed them the table and spread them out, looking at each one closely.

These photos weren't taken by her husband, she noticed and quickly caught on. They never were. Alarmed, she grabbed the envelope and flipped it over to look at the name of the sender. Her eyes widened in surprise, because the photos were never sent from the woman in the first place.

They were sent by Shiraishi Mai.

-

Nishino picked up her phone and just realized that she didn't have the woman’s phone number. Neither did she remember to get the number of the family restaurant.

“Argh!”

She racked her brains to recall the name, before running into her home office to retrieve her Sony a57 camera sitting on her desk. She scrolled through the photos and stopped at the time she had last taken pictures. Gunma. May, 20XX.

Finally, she looked at the photo of the family restaurant banner and found the phone number as she expected. Thank goodness that she had a photograph of it.

Now she needed to dial the number and ask what these photos were for, and why she decided to mail them to her.

-

“Hello?” Nishino asked, as she dialed the number the next morning, “Is this Shiraishi-san? I’m Nishino Nanase from Moonlight Studios.”

There was a moment of silence and white noise as if time stopped when Nishino could hear the sound of someone softly breathing on the other side of the line.

‘Yes,’ The voice suddenly replied strongly. ‘I’m Shiraishi Mai, the person who mailed you those photos.’

Nishino couldn't help but wonder if this was actually happening. The girl she had taken photos of, was now talking with her. She had been in the back of her mind lately but sprung back in her mind as a daily distraction with the mysterious mail consisting of nothing but photos.

‘So? How were the photos?’ She asked. There was a hint of nervousness in her voice.

Nishino paused, she had carefully thought about it earlier.

“Your photos…they’re decent. It seems like you've had previous experience with using a camera before.”

They had the feeling of her father’s style but somewhat merged with an amateurish aura.

Her father must have taught her, Nishino realized as she walked back to her room where Shiraishi Mai’s photos laid spread out on the table. Just a little bit more polishing and practice and Shiraishi would have been almost as good as her father without the time and experience taken into account.

‘Yeah, I did. I took them with my—um, father’s camera. It’s a Nikon built in 1980-something.’

“I can tell,” So her father’s camera was a Nikon F-401, made in 1987. Fancy tool at the time, Nishino could tell.

“What would you like me to do with your photos?”

She went straight to the point, as Shiraishi wanted.

‘Is it possible for me to learn photography under you?’

How straightforward, Nishino thought. Not that she hated it, clients that beat around the bush were terrible to deal with.

“Hm,” She certainly had a feeling that was the case in the first place. She was quick to detect the mood and self-consciousness of other people, even if they weren't aware of it.

“Send me more photos if you can. I’ll see what I can do,” Nishino said, “Just so you know, I’m a normal photographer.”

Nishino had no idea why she needed to add the last bit, though it was as if she didn't want to keep Shiraishi Mai’s hopes up or disappoint her.

It would be a long process to get Wakatsuki’s approval for an amateur to work for her. She would have to start from the bottom, Nishino knew. But first she needed to talk with the others in Moonlight Studio for their thoughts.

‘Wait!’ Shiraishi suddenly said as she was hinting about ending the call soon. ‘That person a few weeks ago on the staircase,’ she paused as Nishino quickly realized that the woman was able to connect the dots quickly.

‘That…was you, right?’

“Yes,” Nishino paused, “What about it?”

‘No…Nothing. I’m glad that was you,’ Shiraishi replied with a hint of a happy tone in her voice.

“Hmm,” Nishino sensed that she was probably smiling on the other side of the phone call. In turn, that caused her to be affected as well.

“Until next time, Shiraishi-san. Thank you and have a good afternoon. Bye.”

‘Bye, Nishino-san!’

Now that was a experience, Nishino blinked while looking at the phone number on her screen.

How stupid, she thought as her cheeks quickly heated up. Why was she blushing so hard right now?

-

“Wakatsuki-san,” Nishino asked as soon as the day was closing, “I have a favor to ask.”

“Hmm?” Wakatsuki was roaming through a client’s folder before taking out a paper, possibly looking over a contract before the meeting in preparation.

“There’s someone who wants to work for Moonlight Studios,” Nishino paused, “But it’s obvious that she’s an amateur in taking photographs.”

She handed over Shiraishi’s self taken photos and watched as Wakatsuki took them and flipped through them. There was an expression of amusement as she took a few minutes to examine them carefully.

“Interesting,” Wakatsuki arched a brow, finally looking up after she was done, “We’re not hiring at the moment but we can bend the rules a little. Who’s this person?”

“Shiraishi Mai.”

“Was this the person who mailed you something the other day?”

“How do you know that?”

Wakatsuki only shrugged, “Reika kept talking about a ‘Shiraishi-san’ in the car like two days ago. I like her photos so far, I wouldn't call them amateur though, there’s a couple of good shots there.” She flipped over one of the photos with a bird’s eye view over the small Gunma. “There’s some nice lighting in this one.”

Nishino crossed her arms and leaned on the wall as she stared in disbelief of Wakatsuki’s quick judgment.

“So? Why are you accepting it already?”

“Because you asked,” Wakatsuki looked at Nishino, “And as childhood friends, this is kind of unexpected, you know? You never ask for anything you want so this’ll be a good opportunity for me to accept your favor, like a birthday present from me.”

“Uh huh,” Nishino rolled her eyes, “That’s not a good excuse for making decisions on the spot.”

Wakatsuki only grinned before closing her client’s folder and placed it on her desk before heading out, with Nishino following after her.

“Did you forget? I’m the boss in charge.”

Nishino sighed in annoyance, “Whatever.”

“One more thing that I forgot to add,” Wakatsuki suddenly said before stopping in front of Sakurai’s recipient desk, and turned to face Nishino with a wider grin.

“I never said I was going to be in charge of teaching her,” she pointed to Nishino. “You will. Consider it like an apprenticeship for this Shiraishi-san. Okay?”

So this girl, Shiraishi Mai would be taught by her. That wasn't so bad with Wakatsuki giving her the option of having a flexible office schedule to work with her.

-

The second call was much more nerve wrecking than the first.

“Strange,” Nishino muttered to herself, taking in a deep breath before pressing the call button and waited as the phone made some dialing noises.

Maybe because I would be the one to teach Shiraishi how to take good photographs, she thought. Of course that was the case.

‘Hello?’ Shiraishi answered as Nishino flinched in surprise of how quick the girl was at answering phones. Indeed, being the owner’s daughter of a family restaurant played a role in such swiftness.

“This is Nishino, from the other day.” Nishino replied, “Shiraishi-san, there’s no need for you to send any photos now. But if you've taken any, do show me.”

‘Does that mean I’m approved…?’

“Yes. If possible, please bring some form of official identification,” Nishino thought for a moment. If Shiraishi was in Gunma, did that mean she would have to move here? That was very likely.

She decided to change the topic as Shiraishi was quick to ask her anyways.

‘Great! But…’ Shiraishi trailed off, worried about bothering the younger woman with another request now, ‘I’m planning to move to Osaka in a few days, um…’

“If you need a place to stay, then you’re welcome to my apartment,” Nishino responded, “I don’t mind.”

‘Really?! You don’t mind if I crash your place?’

The tone in Shiraishi’s voice seemed so bright and giddy that it made the latter want to smile.

Nishino could feel her heartbeat race slightly faster. The thought of meeting Shiraishi Mai again, in person was making her feel slightly nervous.

“No, just uh, bring your stuff and we’ll work something out.”

‘Okay!’

“See you soon, Shiraishi-san. Goodnight,” Nishino added as she could tell that Shiraishi was extremely joyous at the moment.

‘Goodnight!’

-

A few days later -

“Naachan!” Sakurai barged into her office desk again, but with a surge of excitement. She didn’t even knock on the door as she was supposed to, but Nishino decided to leave it to how she wanted to inform her of clients showing up.

“There’s a Shiraishi-san looking for you!”

Nishino could read everything going on in Sakurai’s head right off of her facial expressions alone.

“Bring her in,” she said, feeling the anxiousness to have Shiraishi see her in person and vice-versa. She quickly took a gulp of water as she watched Sakurai leave her room.

“Hi!” Wakatsuki waved as she popped her head into Nishino’s office, “I heard Shiraishi-san is here. If possible, I’d like to meet her too!”

“Ugh,” Nishino scowled, watching Wakatsuki chuckle as she pulled up a chair close to Nishino’s desk, facing her.

“There’s no problem,” she tilted her head a little to the side, looking at her with a cheeky grin, “Right?”

Nishino wanted to groan a little as the footsteps of Sakurai and Shiraishi could be heard. Stupid Wakatsuki and her boss privileges.

“Of course…not.”

A knock on her door and there she was, Shiraishi in a summer hat and dress, rolling in her suitcase. She was indeed, beautiful as ever. Nishino was stunned by how she appeared with a strongly felt presence.

Wakatsuki quickly got up onto her feet and held out her hand as she shook Shiraishi’s hand which reached out to shake it. She smiled before turning to Nishino who also did the same.

“Nice to meet you, Shiraishi-san! I’m Wakatsuki Yumi.”

Wakatsuki flashed her a business smile as Sakurai tried to stifle her laughter at both Nishino who was stiff and her girlfriend who appeared to be teasing her friend.

“Nice meeting you, Shiraishi-san. I’m Nishino Nanase,” the girl said carefully as Shiraishi reintroduced herself.

“I’m Shiraishi Mai,” she said as Wakatsuki gave her a nod of approval.

“I’ll take my lunch break now,” Sakurai suddenly declared as Wakatsuki followed after her, “Same here. See you later, Nishino and Shiraishi-san!” She waved.

Only then, did Shiraishi finally meet Nishino in person, eye-to-eye.

“Take a seat, Shiraishi-san,” Nishino said as she had prepared a contract for Shiraishi to sign.

“Here are our deals,” Nishino wanted to deal with it coolly like Wakatsuki did with her clients.

After all, she was given the key to overlook Shiraishi’s progress as a potential photographer of Moonlight Studios. Fresh graduates of colleges and universities would have killed to work for them as they only selectively worked with close friends and colleagues with flexible working hours.

“This job contract,” she pointed, “–isn't needed as long as you enjoy taking photographs.”

She picked up Shiraishi’s file and looked through it. She was twenty two. Barely one and a half years older than her, Nishino looked through her profile. There wasn't much to see, not that she needed to after accepting her right off the bat and her portfolio wasn't even necessary–she sent in her photos after all.

Shiraishi raised an eyebrow as she scanned through the contract listings. There wasn't much to read except that she would start out as an assistant. The pay was already better than back home, at least by three times. She knew that life would be much more different here, aware that her sudden request as a photographer would be a new path for her.

“Okay,” she picked up a pen and signed it obediently, though Nishino told her that it wasn't necessary earlier. She did it anyways, to be extra cautious about what she was signing into.

Nishino smiled nonetheless. This girl would be under her wing for now.

“Welcome to Moonlight Studios, Shiraishi-san.”

Offline four4four

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Re: Our Story (Nogizaka46)/Moonlight Studios (NanaMai)
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2018, 06:00:55 AM »
Ooo another NanaMai fic. :drool:

I like the premise of this so far.

They start off meeting by chance, but fate seems to have brought them together. :wub:
Now that Maiyan is under the wing of Nanase, this will get more interesting.
I am foreseeing that there will be some close interactions between the two of them in the next chapter. :P
It would be interesting to see drama happen between the two of them and how that would affect their work.

I look forward to seeing where you take this one in the next part.

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