MARS Fan Fiction ❯ Rise of a Fallen Angel (Part II of the Angels Series) ❯ Friendship ( Chapter 5 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Chapter 5—Friendship
Emily settled relatively easily into her new life. She seldom left the apartment except to visit the studio with Kira, and even then she stayed in the music room, just sitting, or playing the piano, or writing music. Her thirteenth birthday passed with a small party at their apartment, with just Kira, Rei, a small mountain of gifts, and a cake roughly the size of Massachusetts.
She saw Akemi twice more during the next month, and each time he talked to her in a perfectly friendly way. Her silence unsettled him, she knew, but he hid it well. Kira hadn't told him anything about her, only mentioning that she didn't talk and that it was pointless to try to get anything out of her.
As it was summer, the subject of school was avoided until two months after Emily moved in. However, the topic was approached at dinner one night, as they all sat around the table, eating their way through platefuls of Kira's cooking. The first time the topic came up, Emily shook her head violently and became engrossed in her food. Kira watched her for a while, contemplating, then sent Rei a look that said, “We need to talk.”
Accordingly after dinner, when Emily had gone up to her room, Kira and Rei sat in the living room.
“She has to go to school,” Rei said quietly, after a while.
“She does.”
“But….she doesn't want to go.”
“She doesn't.”
Rei glanced at her, but didn't comment on her lack of conversational skills at the moment. After several moments, he leaned back in his chair and rubbed his eyes. “So what do we do?”
“I have an idea.”
“And? Spill it!”
“It….might not appeal to you, but…. What about Akemi?”
“What about him?”
“He's really smart. He's nice. And he likes Emily. He wants to be friends with her. He doesn't act like she's a freak because she doesn't talk. He accepts her for what she is. She needs that. Maybe he could…I dunno, tutor her.”
Rei blinked at her, spluttering. “But…but…but… He's only fifteen! And we don't know how much schooling she's had! He's still in school himself, and a lot of his time is taken up with…with music and school and…”
“And he might try to get close to her?”
Kira raised an eyebrow. And suddenly, she laughed.
“You've only been a father for a month…” Kira said between laughs. “And you're already prepared to do the Good Cop/Bad Cop thing with anyone who dares come near your daughter.” Her laughter subsided into small giggles. “Only with you, there won't be a Good Cop.”
“That's not—”
Kira's laughter finally died, and she stood and kissed her husband on the cheek. “Don't worry, love. I won't hold it against you. It's kinda cute, actually.”
Rei sighed. “Fine…call Akemi tomorrow. But so help me, if he does anything…”
“You have my permission to drop him out the window.” Kira leaned down and kissed her husband. “I love you.”
Kira woke up to find that the sun was already up and smiling at her through the curtains. The digital alarm clock on their bedside table read nine o'clock, and she heard Emily moving around in her room. Sighing, she turned slowly in Rei's embrace and, seeing that he was still asleep, slipped quietly out of his arms, dressed, and left the room.
The kitchen was empty. Expecting nothing else, Kira poured herself a bowl of cereal and a glass of milk and, grabbing the newspaper, sat down at the table. She had just read the first few words of the headline when a piece of paper that was sitting in the middle of the table caught her eye. Puzzled, she reached for it, and smiled softly.
I can read almost any book you give me and I can write well enough to write what Akemi says are amazing song lyrics—though I'm not sure I believe him about that—and I can do all the basic math stuff—you know, adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, negatives, and a little bit of algebra—I learned all that from my friend Maria. Her mom was a teacher so she was really smart. Kira paused here, frowning in a puzzled sort of way. Emily made it sound as though… No. Couldn't be. Sighing and shaking her head, she went back to reading the note. And I wouldn't mind having Akemi teach me whatever else I need to know. I AM NOT GOING TO SCHOOL. Anything I want to learn I can learn here, in this building, or at the art studio. Call Akemi, and if he says yes, I'll learn from him.
Grinning happily, Kira reached for the phone and dialed Akemi's number.
Early the next morning, Emily lay in bed staring at the ceiling. The sun had not yet risen, and Emily, since she knew she wouldn't be able to go back to sleep, figured she might as well just get up, but was feeling too lazy to do anything about it. She couldn't remember ever feeling this relaxed. As she watched the ceiling, thinking about nothing in particular as her mind jumped from one tune to the next as if a piano were playing in her head, sunlight crept slowly across the floor and climbed up the walls to the ceiling, bathing the room in its warm, gentle glow.
At last, at around nine o'clock, she got up and dressed, going over the words to a song she'd written in her head and she put on a pair of red stretchy shorts, a T-shirt of the same color, and white tennis shoes. After quickly braiding her hair, she made her bed, opened the window, and left the room.
Kira was sitting in the kitchen, talking the phone. Seeing Emily hovering uncertainly in the doorway, she said “Thank you so much” to the person on the other line, hung up the phone, and motioned for Emily to sit down. As the girl took a seat at the table, Kira pushed an empty bowl, a spoon, a box of cereal, a glass, and a carton of milk across the table toward her. “That was Akemi on the phone. He said he'd love to tutor you, and that he'll meet you at the studio in half an hour.”
Emily nodded and poured some cereal into the bowl. In truth, she couldn't wait to get started. It had been too long since she'd learned anything new, and she was anxious to start lessons with Akemi. Her favorite subject in her lessons with Maria's mother had always been history and English, and she found herself hoping that those were the ones she'd get to start with.
Happy now, Maria? Emily thought, staring down at her breakfast without really seeing it. You and your mother both should beyou're getting exactly what you wanted. I'm going on with my lessons, aren't I?
Shockingly enough, at least for Emily, having Akemi tutor her was the perfect substitute for actual school. Akemi, as it turned out, was not only an inspired musician, but also an excellent student. But, as he explained to Emily as he taught her the Pythagorean Theorem (though as he explained, she shouldn't even be learning it until she was thirteen or fourteen, but since she was so far ahead of most sixth-grade students her age, he was teaching her now), he made up for his brains by being a horrible athlete.
“I can't even swing a bat the right way without the gym teacher laughing,” he told her as she set about finding the length of the hypotenuse of triangle that had side lengths of eight inches. “I remember one time, I was supposed to be practicing my swing, and I missed the ball and hit the gym teacher in the eye.”
Emily couldn't hold back a laugh. She giggled helplessly at a picture that formed in her mind of Akemi getting told off by a huge man in a jogging suit, sporting a black eye and a bloody nose. Akemi just waited for her to get herself under control, and then he simply said “It's nice to hear you laugh,” and left it at that as he reached for her paper to check her answer.
“Okay, you've got the right idea, but you got the equation backwards…. Try again, and this time, take the two 8^2's and add them together…. What's eight squared?”
Emily wrote a sixty-four on the paper.
“Right, so take sixty-four plus sixty-four and you get….?”
128, Emily wrote.
“Good. So C^2 is a hundred and twenty-eight. Write that down. And that would make C….?”
Emily wrote C =, a square root sign, and 128.
“Which is….?
Emily punched some numbers into the calculator Akemi had lent her. 11.313708, which when rounded to the tenth place is eleven and three-tenths, she wrote.
“Very good….now write this down….” Akemi showed her a paper, on which was written:
A^2 + B^2 = C^2
8^2 + 8^2 = C^2
64 + 64 = C^2
128 = C^2
C = [square root sign]128 = 11.3
After Emily finished writing all of that down, Akemi continued. “Okay, now let's do one more problem—you can do it on your own this time, and use the one we did together as a guide—and then we'll move on to history, and then you can show me how that song of yours is going…”
“Okay, so, how far have you gotten on the song you showed me yesterday?” Akemi asked, as he restacked the last of the papers, set them neatly on the desk in the corner of the music room, and walked over to where Emily was sitting at the piano.
Emily shuffled through the music on the piano and found what she was looking for. Slowly, she handed it to Akemi.
After a few silent minutes, Akemi sat down on the piano bench next to Emily and placed the music on the stand. “It's really good. Almost perfect. The only editing I would suggest on it would be in this last part, right here…” Pointing out what he meant, Akemi glanced at her. “Borrow your pencil?”
Emily handed it to him.
“Okay…try that…” He set the pencil on the stand and Emily read over the music. Smiling, she nodded. It was perfect, and in her head, the words sounded elegant and beautiful with the tune she played on the piano.
As the last chord of music faded into silence, Akemi sighed and grinned. “I think this is going to be a beautiful partnership, Em.”
Kira dropped her pencil onto her desk and leaned back in her chair, stretching her arms over her head and yawning. Outside, black storm clouds had gathered in the sky, and a rumble of thunder rolled over the building. Her knee ached—it always gave her trouble on days like this. Sighing, she stacked al her papers neatly in one corner of the desk, stuck a Post-It note to the paper on the top, and stood. After checking to see that everything was ready for the tour that was coming the next day, she went to tell Emily to be out of the building by the time the custodial staff closed up at nine, and headed home.
As she sat in the usual evening traffic jam, she drummed her fingers on the steering wheel and let her mind wander over the weeks since Emily had come into her life. There was no question—life was much more complicated now, but ever so much more interesting. And Rei was adorable when he was trying to figure out what he was supposed to say to a daughter.
This thought brought up another subject—what was Rei going to say if Akemi and Emily really did…get closer? That thought was more than amusing—it was downright hilarious.
The apartment appeared empty when Kira came in, but the bathroom door was closed, and the shower was going. Dropping her bag on the couch, she went into the kitchen and started making a meal of spaghetti and garlic bread.
The food was almost finished when Rei finished showering, dressed, and headed toward the kitchen. He stopped short when he saw Kira at the stove, her back to him, stirring a pot of spaghetti. Smiling, he walked silently over to her and enfolded her in his arms.
Kira started as a pair of strong arms wrapped around her from behind and squeezed in a gentle hug. “Long time no see, stranger,” Rei said, chuckling.
Kira turned around in his embrace and smiled. “Hey. Where were you this morning? You were gone when I woke up.”
“I had to get to the track early.”
The word didn't even have the chance to leave Kira's mouth before it was cut off by Rei's kiss. Smiling, she moved away from the stove to lean against the counter, wrapped her arms around Rei's shoulders, and returned the kiss.
“What was that for?” Kira demanded when they finally had to breathe.
“Because I didn't get to tell you I loved you this morning, and because you look so cute when you're cooking your heart out.” Rei chuckled, leaning down to touch his forehead to Kira's, his eyes searching hers. “I love you.”
Kira smiled up at him. “I love you, too.” She turned back to the stove and stirred the noodles in the pot, but not before Rei saw her wince at the twisting the motion caused in her knee.
“Hey, set the table, will you?”
“Kira, what's wrong?”
“…Nothing? Plates are in the cabinet, you know.”
Rei frowned and turned her around. “I know your knee always hurts on days like this, and you've been working really hard lately.”
“Make your point, and make it fast, because my noodles are going to die.”
“My point is that you had another surgery barely three months ago and the doctor said to take it easy for awhile, and you haven't been.” He kissed her on the forehead. “Sit down, take a load off. I'll finish dinner.”
Kira raised her eyebrows. “You're gonna cook?”
“Hey, I'm getting better at it, you said so yourself! And all I have to do is stir. So go sit, I'll cook, we'll eat, I'll clean up, we'll go in the living room, and you'll put ice on your knee while you watch me pace and worry until Emily gets home.”
Kira giggled. “Can't argue with that.”
So accordingly after dinner, Rei and Kira went into the living room, Kira put ice on her knee, and Rei sat down next to her, drawing her close in a protective, one-armed hug as she laid her head on his shoulder. The room was comfortably silent as Rei ran his fingers through Kira's hair. Kira fought to stay awake, not wanting to fall asleep on the couch, but the soft, repetitive touch on her head made her drowsy even though it was only eight-thirty. After about fifteen minutes, she finally gave up the battle and allowed herself to fall into a doze that soon turned into a much deeper slumber.
Rei chuckled slightly. “Kira….my Kira.” He still loved the way it sounded, even after being married for over a decade and being in love with Kira for two years longer. He smiled and kissed the top of Kira's head. “My Kira…”
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I love the Pythagorean Theorem….it's the easiest thing I've done in math in a long time…. Anyway, R + R = YAY!!!!