MARS Fan Fiction ❯ Rise of a Fallen Angel (Part II of the Angels Series) ❯ Kiss ( Chapter 6 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
I only added a couple of things here and there when I edited this chapter, but I figured I'd repost it anyway because what's the use of editing a chapter if you're not gonna have someone read what you fixed? Oh, and I wanted to tell you… Readers are probably wondering why Emily won't talk. It's not that she won't. It's that she can't. It's actually a condition that is usually brought on by severe trauma, among other things. I read that in a book….I forgot which book, though…. Anyway, on to chapter 7!
A year later….
Rain was coming down hard that morning. Rei woke much earlier than usual as a huge roll of thunder crashed over their home. At four o'clock in the morning. Before the sun was up. And if the sun wasn't up, Rei sure as heck wasn't. He completely ignored the fact that the sun wasn't likely to come at all today. Scowling, he turned over so that his back was facing the window and came face-to-face with his wife.
She was sleeping on her side, her head pillowed by one hand, and the quilt was tucked snugly around her. Her hair was scattered across the pillow, and a few wisps of it were blowing across her forehead in the breeze from the fan. Rei caught them with his fingertips and brushed them behind her ear.
Kira looked peaceful when she slept—so peaceful, in fact, that it scared Rei half to death. She had looked just a peaceful when she'd been lying in a hospital bed, when it was uncertain that she would ever open her eyes again. And when he'd been sitting by her hospital bed, holding her hand and waiting patiently for some sign that she was still there, still her, he remembered thinking, “Please, God, don't take her away from me. She's not finished here, not yet.” And he still thought that every time he watched her sleep. He still felt that fleeting, intense relief when she opened her eyes in the morning, and he still felt that twinge of fear when she closed them at night.
He would give anything he had to go back in time to the day of the accident. If he'd known what was going to happen…he would have done something. He couldn't say what, exactly. Beg her not to leave the house? Kiss her a little more tenderly? Hug her a little more tightly? Something.
But the accident, the coma, the surgeries, the weeks or months of physical therapy that Kira still went through after every operation, all of it had happened, and none of it had been easy. But she was still there. Still alive. And still very much okay. And for that, Rei—though not a terribly religious person—thanked God every time she smiled at him.
Smiling slightly, Rei tucked the quilt more tightly around Kira's small frame, put one arm around her, and fell asleep with his face buried in her hair.
By the time five o'clock rolled around, Emily had been lying wake for an hour and a half, listening to the thunder raging outside as the rain beat on the roof of the apartment, feeling unusually calm and at peace with the world.
Emily loved storms. This didn't make sense, because all of her worst memories had been made on rainy days, but for some strange reason, thunder, lighting, rain…they calmed her. She couldn't explain why, but they did.
Finally, as the sky was beginning to turn a dull, cold, steely gray, Emily got out of bed, dressed, braided her hair, and opened the window to let the air in. Fortunately, the rain did not fall through the window, so she left it open, made the bed hastily, and hurried downstairs.
The art studio wouldn't open until eight, but Emily threw some shoes on, left a note on the table, and ran out, grabbing her jacket from the coat rack by the door. She spent the next few hours walking around the city, lost in thought.
The past year had been the calmest she could remember. Rei and Kira were the closest thing to parents she had known in a long time. They talked to her and told her things about their lives, but they never pressed her for details about her own. They never asked her to talk, and simply made up for her silence by talking twice as much. Or maybe Kira really was as talkative as Rei said. Though, Emily had to admit, the woman didn't seem as open around other people as she did around family and close friends.
At last, one of the workers opened the art studio and, recognizing Emily, who had been sitting on the steps after her walk, ushered the girl inside, saying only, “Come on in, out of the rain, dear.”
Because it was so early, the music room was empty. In a few hours the orchestra would be coming in to practice, but until that time, Emily was alone, unless someone just happened to drop by, which they did, just as the girl had gotten halfway through a composition for which the music had been left on the piano rack.
“What're you doing here so early, Em?”
She was used to Akemi doing this by now—she didn't even fall off the bench this time as she turned around to smile at him.
Emily and Akemi had been spending a lot of time together lately. She had fallen into the habit of staring at him when he was busy, noting how his brow furrowed when he was confused or thoughtful, and how he got an intense look in his eye when he reached the heart of a song. Little did she know that he did the same to her when she wasn't looking.
And at the age of fourteen, she didn't recognize a crush when it was staring her right in the face. But she had one. An enormous one. Only she didn't know it yet.
“Well, never mind,” Akemi said, not waiting for her to answer his inquiry. “I'm glad you're here. I finished my song, and I wanted to play it for you…I was up until two finishing it, so it had better be perfect.”
And from there they settled into the routine they had begun. She listened to and corrected his music, and he helped her stumble her way through history, algebra, science, and French (Emily had decided to take on a third language, and it just so happened that Akemi's music teacher had taught him French). By the time they had finished studying, the orchestra had arrived and Akemi took Emily out to lunch. Then it was back to the studio to say hello to Kira, then some more work on music, and then Kira joined them in a trip to a movie or a music store, or anything else that they felt like doing before they all headed back to the apartment building.
Emily couldn't have known that today would be different. But it was. It really, really was.
Kira and Rei had gone out to dinner—just the two of them. They hadn't done so in a long while, and Emily had agreed to go to Akemi's while the lovebirds (as everyone who knew them referred to them as) went off to spend a romantic evening alone.
It was raining again—a steady downpour of water that instantly drenched anyone who dared step outside the warmth and comfort of their homes or cars. Emily and Akemi had gone to see the orchestra perform at the local high school, and they were on their way to get pizza when the storm started. The two ran for the only shelter they could see—a small café/bookstore that was tucked between an electronics store and a four-star Chinese restaurant. It was in that café/bookstore that Emily received her first kiss from the boy who would become her first love.
It happened very suddenly. They had ordered two cups of coffee and sat down at a table in a corner. Akemi was talking about music, and Emily was signing responses—Kira had taught both of them sign language a little over six months before.
You've never told me what it is that draws you to music, Emily signed. Why do you like it so much? I mean, I love it because it takes me away from here, and I've always been the “anywhere but here” girl. But what about you?
Akemi smiled. “I never thought about it. I guess…”
“Well, you know how there's always one sound, or scent, or sight, that triggers a memory? Well, whenever I hear a note of music, I remember… Well, I'm not even sure it's real, but I remember my mother singing me to sleep at night, and my father playing the piano as Mom put me to bed. They were so… Well, they were the perfect parents, I'll say that.”
Do you…remember them at all?”
“Some. I remember my mother more than my father. He died when I was only three, and I was six when Mom died. She had the most beautiful voice I've ever heard…” Akemi shook his head, as though trying to shake the memories away, and focused back on Emily. “Em?”
“I'm going to ask you something, and I'm not sure how you'll take it. Promise not to smack me?”
Emily giggled. I promise.
“Okay. Well…you and I have known each other for a while, and we've…spent a lot of time together. And…I like you. A lot. I know you're younger than me, but…I would really like to take you out sometime.”
So? What's the problem? You take me out a lot, we're friends.
“I know, but…I want to be more than friends. What we're doing right now…it feels like we're more than friends already, so…I'm going to do what I've been thinking of doing for a month or so now.”
Emily's heart was beating uncomfortably fast. Where had this come from? What's that? she signed.
And in answer to that question, Akemi leaned forward and kissed her.
It wasn't a kiss, really—his lips just barely brushed hers before he pulled back and cocked his head to the side, as though trying to decide if he liked it or not. Emily's eyes were wide and confused as she stared at him. Then, quite suddenly, she stood up so quickly that her chair nearly fell over—it would have hit the floor if a man who was walking behind her hadn't caught it and set it upright before it could crash. And then, quite suddenly, she had run out into the storm, leaving Akemi sitting at their table, staring after her.
Emily was faster than she looked. Her tiny form built up next to no wind resistance, and she had done a lot of running during her years on the streets. If Akemi had decided to come after her, he could not have hoped to catch her after she had disappeared among the crowds, and even if he had, he wouldn't have known what to say.
So she reached the apartment without any trouble, let herself in (Rei and Kira were still out), and threw herself on the bed, her thoughts turbulent and muddled. What the hell was that? she thought wildly. What did he…? Why would he…? But…but… I've never liked a boy before! I don't know how!
Annoyed, Emily did what she always did when she was confused, or had too many feelings to handle, and there was no piano in sight. She put a hard rock CD in her CD player and hit things. (Well, not things, exactly. Air.)
Emily had started taking martial arts lessons from her father when she was three. After her parents died and she took to the streets, she had befriended a local expert, and he had taught her everything he knew. By the time he had died when she was ten, she was a brown belt, but she had then gone to join a free six-month karate class, where she graduated to a black belt (after getting knocked flat on her back several hundred times by people who were all older, stronger, and smarter than she was).
The karate instructor in that class took an assessment of her, and he had concluded that it was the intense anger, sadness, feeling, and passion with which she lived that gave her such power to fight. Luckily, the man never asked to meet her parents, and he never asked where all her anger came from. It had been a long, long time since she had been pushed back to the habit of destruction—not since the day she came to the orphanage the second time.
She had had her share of fights in back alleyways, and she hadn't always come out on top. After sustaining numerous black eyes, three broken bones, a scrape where a bullet grazed her, four sprained ankles, a bruised rib, countless cuts and bruises, and a knife wound that left a scar running from her elbow to the back of her wrist and up into her palm, she had decided that she was never going to be beaten down again, so she either avoided fights she knew would not be good for her, or beat every gang who came after into a pathetic, broken, bloody pulp and left them lying in the alleyway before she hid in the nearest abandoned building to rest while she healed.
She was a karate expert, and she knew some judo and street fighting techniques that she had picked up from a local gang in New York City.
So now, here in her room, she took all of her confusion and poured it into a series of blows and blocks against an invisible opponent. The space in the center of the room was large enough that she didn't have to worry about hitting the furniture, which was fortunate, because she had enough momentum to keep going until Kira and Rei got home.
After her workout, Emily was surprised at how exhausted she was. Her muscles ached, and she was sweating profusely. She hadn't had that much exercise in a long time, and now all she wanted to do was sleep. Sighing, she turned off the music, dropped onto the bed, and closed her eyes. She didn't even bother to change her clothes, and the memory of the earlier events in the evening had evaporated. Her thoughts settled, she let her exhaustion carry her to sleep.
Rei and Kira came home to find the living room empty. Hard rock music was blaring from Emily's room, filling the entire apartment even though the door was closed. Rei motioned for Kira to go into the living room, which she did, and Rei headed down the hall and hesitantly opened Emily's door.
Emily was just finishing up her workout. He saw enough to tell him that she was very unhappy about something, and that her invisible opponent would be lying in a puddle of blood by now, had he been real. Then she turned off the music, got into bed, and fell asleep without even changing her clothes.
Rei closed the door, troubled by what he had seen, and went to join Kira in the living room. She was waiting for him, with two cups of fresh coffee on the table in front of her. “Hey,” she said softly. “What's up? You look worried.”
So Rei sat down next to her on the couch, took a drink of his coffee, and told Kira about what he had seen Emily do. “I'm telling you, Kira,” he concluded, “she's amazing. I'll bet everything I own that she could knock me into the middle of next week if she got angry enough, and if she caught me by surprise.”
“But…she's so little,” Kira said.
“Little, and angry. About…well, actually I don't know what she's angry about.”
“Didn't she just come back from hanging out with Akemi?” Kira asked suddenly, after a moment of silence.
Rei blinked, and a stony expression crossed his face. “You don't think he…tried something, do you? Because if he did, I'll kill him and screw whatever the law says.”
Kira couldn't help it; she giggled. “Akemi isn't like that. He wouldn't do anything to hurt her, trust me.”
Rei sighed. “This parenting thing is hard…. But anyway, we can find out exactly what happened later. Right now I just wanna know where she learned it. I've never seen her act violent at all. That was the second-to-last thing I ever would have expected, the first being either Jack the Ripper or the Grim Reaper showing up with a cloak and dagger and asking if he can borrow your copy of `Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister.'”
Kira laughed at the image, but she was still deep in the depths of surprise bordering on shock that such a small, quiet girl had such a completely different side to her. It would hardly have been more astonishing if Kira had suddenly taken up kickboxing, Harumi converted to a Goth, Tatsuya took up the nightclub life, and Rei announced that he was gay.
Silence reigned in the room for a moment before Rei said quietly, “So what do we do?”
Kira looked confused. “What do you mean?”
Rei sighed. “We have to do something about her. You'd think so too, if you'd seen the expression on her face. She's wild…almost crazy. I have no doubt that if she were in that state of mind with a weapon in her hand, and someone came up behind her, she could put them in the hospital and would do it without thinking twice. But then she stopped all of a sudden, and the second she stopped fighting, the expression was gone, and she looked completely normal again. It was…scary.”
“And it takes a lot to scare you.”
“Well…yeah. It' kinda shocking, too, ya know? She never seemed like the destructive type…the exact opposite, actually.”
Kira had nothing to say to that, so she just asked, “So…what do you want to do?”
“I don't know! I'm new at this!”
“So am I. I guess we should just leave her alone. She won't hurt anything just by working out in her room, I don't think she'd hurt any people, anyway.”
Rei still looked worried, but he was inclined to agree. “At least, not unless they hurt her first.”
Sorry that chapter took so long to update… I'm trying to write three stories at once, and it's hard. And on top of the three stories I had summer assignments to finish. And for a chapter that took forever to update, it was a really crappy chapter… Also, sorry about skipping a year. I had nothing to fill in a year with and so I just skipped it. Sorry! Hope you guys weren't too disappointed with this chapter. I myself wasn't happy with it, but I don't have the brain power to make it better right now, so I'm gonna post it and try to make the next chapter better than this one was.