Dr. Chiyoko put the rest of her biscuits in a bag and handed it to her brother whom she hadn't exactly noticed was standing there even i he had been glaring. Though she was sure he didn't mean to glare. Like the way her pet bulldog Tutu, it looked mean enough but it was just its way of saying hello. Perhaps that was why she always thought the best of her brother and why she got so happy when others agreed that he really wasn't bad at all. He was actually really chipper. But he was really stingy. She sighed. Perhaps that was the reason he never called last night. Keeping his phone bill low. He really was like dad she giggled. Remembering how she got in trouble as a teenager for using the phone too much.
Gozo was watching Noato. He hadn't quite been right all day. First he had almost been sincere when he said good morning to everyone which insipid paranoia, people thinking that cuts were around the corner and so had worked that bit harder to impress. He had even seen the usually watchful boss almost daze off into space as he looked at the door. It was the oddest thing that was topped off with the oddest suggestion, "Sliding doors???"
"Perhaps not sliding doors that will be far too fast food for this place. But I was thinking something a little traditional. Well more then those. Perhaps get the architect in to draw up some plans." That had been what seemed to take up Noato's morning. Discussing prices and appropriate times to do the work. Dispite being a cheapskate he knew where to put his money and the new doors promised to be more pricy then usual Namely because they would be fitted during the night so that he wouldn't have to shut the whole resturaunt down just for a minor alteration.
He had just gotten off the phone with his accountant ringing up this new expense. His account inding Noato one of his best customers n the way that he did a lot of the work and still paid him. Well this is what the male was doing when his office door was opened and without looking to see who it was he said "Your late." It had just hit four and or anyone that didn't know that was late. Especially for someone who had wasted so much time yesterday. Looking up he saw a male that looked similar to her but... well he looked like his sisters dog to be frank. "I'm not paying him. But he's free to remain in the back so the customers don't see them. They might think I'm running a youth centre with you two around." Noato looked up and he didn't even seem concerned by the glaring male. He had had his fair share o glaring. "Gozo told me that he's saved you some yakisoba. You can eat t on your way to your first delivery." At the moment Noato was wondering how he would pay the girl. In money or food. It was getting more and more apparent that the second might be an option with the sound of hunger coming from her stomach. Noato shook his head. "And stop skipping lunch. Your stomach sounds like a walrus."
The next day, Naru went about her regular morning routine. Bathe in ice cold water(they couldn't pay the hot water bill either), put on whatever clothes she could find around her room that looked decent. She looked at herself in her bathroom mirror. She pushed her hair up into a ponytail, but then stopped.
"You could be cute if you put your hair down.
That statement from Kazuhiko rang through her mind like a gong. She put her hair down and it cascaded around her shoulders. Her hair was medium length, and it was the light brown color, kind of like caramel. She didn't see how keeping her hair down made her look any better. It just got in her face and got stuck in various things, like a door or a bat. Which was bad, especially if she was trying to swing the bat. She put her hair up with no further hesitation, and she brushed her bangs out of her face. This is ridiculous. Why am I getting so worked up over what that guy said? I have no need to look attractive. Who am I trying to impress anyway? No one. She looked once more in the mirror. She searched the drawers of the bathroom, rummaging through toothbrushes, combs, toothpaste bottles, and floss. She finally found what she was looking for. A hair clip. It was simple, a light green clip with an orange flower on it. She put it in her hair to hold back her bangs. It made her actually look like a decent girl. She went downstairs and went into the kitchen.
"Is there anything to eat today?" She asked. "Not really... A couple pieces of bread, but other than that, nothing. You hungry? Let me get the brea-" Her brother turned his head, and his jaw dropped. "W-what.. What have you done with your hair? It looks... Cute." He gasped, blinking his eyes in disbelief. "S-shut up. I just needed something to hold my hair up, and this is all I found." She stuttered, her cheeks turning red. The rest of the gang came up to gander at her new look, and most of them smiled and gazed in disbelief. "That's from mom, right? The last thing she left you." Her brother pointed out. "Yeah. Well I'm going to school." She said, grabbing her bag and putting on her shoes. "Hey, wait! I said I was coming to school with you today!" Her brother exclaimed, running off behind her. "Don't be too clingy, okay? And don't make a show of everything, ya hear?" She sighed, dreading the day ahead.
The day went by rather smoothly. Her brother constantly next to her made other classmates stare. And her new hairstyle didn't help either. Guys actually took time to look at her now, but they quickly turned away after her brother shot them an icy glare. At the end of science class, her teacher, Dr. Chiyoko came to her, questioning her about work and about Noato. "He's kinda stingy, ain't he? And it was swell. 'Cept the fact that I got hit in the face by the swingin' door. He needs to get a sliding door or something. And he kept snappin' at me, telling me I sleep too much, and that I'ma get fat 'cuz I eat too much omurice. Can't well help it if I don't always eat." She gladly took a biscuit and began munching on it. "Thank ya, ma'm. Didn't have breakfast today, so this biscuit is mighty tasty." She talked with her mouth full, gulping down the biscuit in no time. She felt the stare of her brother behind her, and she took another biscuit and gave it to him, before he started drooling. "Oh, by the way, this is my older brother." She pointed to him as he scarfed down the biscuit. "Good day." He greeted Dr. Chiyoko kindly. "Well, I gotta get off to work before the Boss gets mad. Bye bye, Sensei." She waved goodbye and was on her way, with her brother trailing behind her.
Once they got to the restaurant, Naru got up to the wall next to the door and opened it from the side, as to avoid getting hit again. She inched inside, and her brother followed in suit, his eyes shooting around to observe her work place. She went into Noato's office to check in. "Here for work, sir. My brother followed me, and he doesn't seem to want to leave until I do, so mind if he stays here and helps me? He's pretty stubborn when he wants something." She mumbled.
Noato walked into his uptown apartment. The lights turning on by themselves as he walked from room to room. Light sensors being a very handy tool. For someone who worked at a restaurant it appeared that when he opened the fridge there was next to nothing in there but a few bottles of sparkling water which he took out and began to drink just before his answering machine began playing.
"NOATOOO~ Sooooo, how was she. She's a great kid right? I knew you would love her. Call me back as soon as you get this. I want to hear all about Naru-chan's first day from the horses mouth and by horse I mean you you old mule. Byeee~"
Noato shakes his head and wonders how she ever graduated at the top of her class at Tokyo U. She was the biggest dits he had ever had the misfortune of being related to. He would call her in the morning. Right now he was too tired to hear her oohhhs and ahhhs he really hoped he didn't do in front of her students. Its like he always told her, there has to be a line and it is that line where respect lies.'Your just like dad you know that Noato'
It was an odd thought to have just as he lay his head down on his large bed, in his empty house where the lights slowly turned themselves off and he was left in darkness. Noato's Dad was alone when he died. He was all alone and she always said how he was just like him. Noato didn't like that comparison all the time. Especially not that part of his father's life. The constant distance was the worst part of the man and looked to be the worst part of Noato too.
Dr. Chiyoko had spent seven years as a Doctor at a private Tokyo hospital. Hated it and decided to teach. She had more fallen into her current occupation. Literally. She tripped up on the principle who she scalded with her coffee and while tending his wounds had explained everything about the mechanics of the skin with such vigour that even he though skin was a great thing and he was a man that couldn't be moved by anything. So she was hired as their head of science. A thing that had annoyed all the older teachers who had more years of experiences. It was like highschool for her as a teacher too with how mean they were to her which had only made her connect more with her students finding them to be more interesting to talk to then her co-workers.
Naru had been the most interesting and her talent had made their talks so much fun which is why it wasn't so odd for her to speak with her after class. "Soooo~ what do you think of my brother Naru-chan? His chipper isn't her?"
She smiled broadly throwing the wave of hair over her shoulder the way that without her knowing made nearly every guy not old enough to know what his pants were doing want to work that much harder to impress her. "He was meant to call me but never did so I want to hear from you. How was it yesterday? Cookie?"
She asked offering one of her homebaked biscuits that sat on top of some papers that needed marking.
"Thanks a bunch!" She smiled at the fact that she wouldn't be charged for the ride. "Okay, I'll run to work straight from school. And you should make the door a sliding door. Ya know, like the ones that people have leading to their backyards? Or like, maybe an automatic door like they have at convenience stores! It would make it much easier for everyone that way. Swingin' doors are frightening." She grinned and jumped out of the car, closing it slowly and waving through the window. All of a sudden, he doesn't seem so stingy. She thought as she smiled to herself. It was surprising how cheerful she could be despite her life's hardships and past traumas. Anyone who knew her story would probably cry in pity. But she was as happy as ever, living with what she had, grateful for what family she had left.
She walked briskly down the sidewalk underneath the flickering, pale orange streetlights that randomly turned on and off. When she finally made it to her house, she saw that the all the lights were off, and she cocked her head in confusion. She opened the small, broken gate at the front of their house and took a step forward, instinctively stepping over vines and plants that she already knew were there without having to look down. She opened the door which was always unlocked and peeked inside to see the whole house pitch black. "Aniki...?" She whispered into the darkness. From the black wall came a hand, and it quickly pulled Naru into the house, closing the door behind her. A light was shone in her face, and she flinched. "Oh, Naru, it's just you." One of her brother's subordinates had her with a knife to her neck, the rest of the gang huddled up behind him. "Ya know, you're brother's been worried sick 'boutcha. He been throwin' his tantrums, throwin' things all 'round, makin' a big fuss 'bout you bein' all late and stuff. You best tell him where you been." He pointed a finger at her and put his knife back into it's sheath on his belt loop. "Aight, I'll do that. But real quick, why ain't there any lights on in here?" She questioned, straining her eyes to adjust to the dark. "Dunno. Boss said to turn everythin' off all a sudden. Ask him."
With that, Naru was on her way to her brother's room, following the walls with her hands to make sure she wasn't going the wrong way. She made it to his room and opened his door. A candle was burning in the middle of the room, and she saw her brother crouched over it, looking at some papers. "Aniki... I'm home." She called out warily. He turned quickly and stood up, running toward her. "NARU! I've been worried sick about you! Where have you been!? Did you get kidnapped? Who did it?! I'll kill them!" He started to storm out of the room without an answer, pulling his katana from his hip. "No, no, no! Aniki! I was at work. My teacher found me a job. I'm working as a delivery boy at a restaurant." She explained.
Her brother soon calmed down and listened to her as she told him what had happened throughout her day. "An uptight boss? A quiet chef? A flirty coworker?! I'm going to take a visit to your work. I'm going to school with you tomorrow too. If your work is suitable for you, you can stay, but if not, I'm killing them all. But it's good that you have a job, we're running out of money. That's why all the lights are off. We can't pay the electric bills anymore." He sadly explained their current economic situation. "Ehh?! Ah man, Aniki! I told you, you can't rely on stealing other people's money! See, you never considered that your "client" would move away, did you?! Well, I'll try to take care of it for now. But you better get your act together! And soon!" She said, flicking her brother on the forehead. Ow! Naru... That hurt..." He whined, rubbing his head. "Okay, I'll try..." He sent her to sleep after their conversation, and Naru slept with the moonlight leaking through her broken window.
Noato felt relieved when the girl seemed to silently take the current situation. He had all but expected her to argue with him all the way there and he could do without the headache of hearing someone whom he was helping give him lip all the way there. Though he did notice that the silence was somewhat, heavier. Heavier then simple compliance and caused him to look over and in some ways almost wish for her to say something no matter how annoying. Noato liked silence but more so he liked peace of mind and this silence didn't create that.
At the outburst about her fathers current living status. That being that he was no longer even living Noato remind silent. He carried on driving as if she had said nothing. changing gears as they approached the lights and slowly stopping at the amber light dispite very much being able to go though it on time. Without the car or even him moving or talking there was a great stillness about that was only disturbed by the too silent, "I'm sorry." The light turned green and the car began to move again.
Nothing of business had told him to say anything. Nothing of politness had meant he needed to say anything because it was such a long time ago and seemed that she had never quite been able to know her ather since he had died when she was four but he said it anyway and even added, "I won't charge you for the lift this time." He stopped at the curb, it was around the corner from her house and just under a streetlight. Noato turned to her and flicked the switch to unlock the door. "You start at four tomorrow. Don't be late and don't pass out on the sidewalk again." Was that a ... joke. It seemed so because there almost seemed a brightness of one that wasn't smileing with his motuh but with his eyes and face. It might have just been a trick of the light from outside. The yellow lights complimenting Noato's yellow eyes. But it was odd. Really odd.
Naru was pushed into the passenger seat by Noato, and she frowned. "Of course... Business..." She said, somewhat disappointed that someone could do so much for another, not out of kindness, but out of pure business. Maybe she had overestimated this man. She buckled her seat belt and shuffled her feet a little and settled down.
"I don't wish to shake hands with your dad."
That statement made Naru quiet. She sat, unmoving, paralyzed with sadness. An overwhelming sadness that ran through whole body, making her quiver. However, even with this heavy sadness weighing down on her, she refrained from crying. Her fists clenched and she smiled. "Oh, well even if you did come close to my house, you wouldn't be able to shake his hand anyway. He's been dead for a long time. Died back when I was... Four years old if I remember correctly." She chuckled to herself. "Oh but if he were still alive, then he wouldn't be shaking your hand, he'd be shaking your nec-" She stopped herself. He'd be shaking your neck... She finshed the sentence in her head. Her father was a violent brute, but around her, he was a big teddy bear. She missed him, but she knew she had to let go.
She sat quietly, rubbing her hands together from the cold. She stared out the window at the blackness of the night, wondering what she would do when she got home. She never did homework, but maybe she'd give it a try. It was late, but she could never fall asleep until morning anyway. Her brother and his friends made too much noise in the house. She sighed just thinking about it.
'you'll grow sideways if you keep eating two plates of omurice' he scoffed forcing his hands into his pocket as he waited for her to gain her composure. It was honestly tiresome working with children he didn't know how his sister did it. They always wanted to question everything even when it wasn't exactly a statement that needed questioning. Just answering 'I didn't ask you. I said I'm taking you home. It seems that my customers find you quite pleasent and I can't explain that the reason your no longer working here is that I allowed you to walk home at eleven in the evening and you met an untimley end. Its not good for business. Now get in the car.'
Noato had a stubborn streak and right now it was flaring becuase he was through speaking and force Naru forward down the alleyway and towards the passanger side of the car. Opening the door for her simply because he found it hard to go back on the way he had been brought up and not because he could recongise the grim looking child as someone worthy off opening a door for. This upbringing of being polite is why he was suited to the service sector. It was never personal just business and that helped to keep a smile on your face even when you hated someones gutts. 'get in. Now.' he said forcefully. Anyone walking past might think he was abducting the poor child. 'Its not like i'm going to walk you to your door. You'd be lucky if I even tak you to yourr street . So just get in if that's what your concerned with. I don't wish to shake hands with your dad.'
Naru was having a nice, pleasant dream while she slumbered on the somewhat chilly kitchen floor. She felt warm pats on her head fromtime to time, reminding her of her father and mother, who were by now, long gone. Suddenly, in the middle of her nice dream, the world went dark and cold, and she jumped up, cold water dripping down her face. She looked around and found that everyone was gone except for her employer, Noato. She looked down and saw the chef's coat and tea towel and felt moved by whoever had carried out this act of kindness. However, that warm, pleasant feeling was swept away when she was forced to look back to reality at her "boss". "W-well... So what if I sleep a lot!? I'm a growing girl after all..." She stuttered, her face turning a light pink. When he told her he'd be taking her home, she shrugged and decided that it was pretty late, and it would be better to just go with him. But then she paused, and took a minute to think about the situation. She hadn't told her brother where she'd be going after school, and she didn't have a phone, so she couldn't contact him... He's probably be pretty mad. And if he saw her coming home with a man... He'd kill them both.
"On second thought, why don't I just walk myself home? I'll be fine, I know my way around this place fairly well... And it's not that dark... She mumbled, scratching the back of her head nervously. She could imagine the situation as she sat on the floor. He'd come out of the house surrounded by a fiery aura and a katana would be locked in his fist as he would approach the car, his eyes clouded with hatred and... She shook her head. Gotta stay calm. Nothing's gonna happen right?
She shook her head vigorously to shake all the water out of her hair and her bangs stuck to her forehead. She stood up from the floor and a draft blew in from the open door. She shivered and rubbed her arms, walking out the door. Once she got outside she noticed that it was pretty dark, and the some of the streetlights weren't working. A black cat crossed her path and a chill went up her spine. She looked back at Noato and patter her hands on her cheeks. She had to walk. She didn't want to get herself, nor her brother in any more trouble for killing another person. She already had to live a whole year with her brother's subordinates when her brother was sent to jail for beating a little kid almost to death because the kid was bullying her. She also didn't want to get Noato in trouble, because even if he was a stingy boss, he was pretty nice at times, and he had a wonderful business going.
Gozo didn't say or do much at that compliment. He sort of nodded but then again that could have just been the sudden sneeze from all the black pepper wafting around. Gozo did however raise his eyebrow at the amazement the girl had for dish soap. Shouldn't every home at least have a good bottle o dish soap??? He never thought Noato had such a warm heart a thought written all over his face when his boss came to check on the delivery service. "She's poor?" Noato nodded, he couldn't exactly confirm this but that's what it all lead to right. A student on scholarship that seemed to run around in clothes she stole from an brother and not to mention her bad upbringing that meant it would be a lot to expect her to even know not to belch at a table let alone the right way to address her boss. Noato sighed knowing that he really hoped that he wouldn't be getting any complaints. He had spent so long building up his clientale for some rough girl to ruin it in a day. "She's nice." Noato lifted his head and Gozo was still cooking as if he had said nothing at all. Noato just shook his head. Nice wasn't enough when you were aiming for the top and Noato wanted his restaurant to shine as the beacon of eating excellence.
"You spend more time sleeping then you do working." Noato was the first one she saw when she woke up again. The first day and already she had passed out twice. Gozo not wishing to disturb her had thrown a spare chef's coat over her and placed a tea towel under her head. She looked like a stray cat th way she was curled up in front of the back door that all the Waiters had recently dubbed her Nyaruu-chan and even patted her on their way out. The girl sleeping through their patronising and yet somewhat endearing treatment of the youngster.
He was apparently ready to leave as he was dressed in an outside coat and held a pair of keys in hand. Naru was slightly damp from the water he had thrown over her to wake her up. The kitchen was in a pale dim light that came from the light above the cooker. Noato's glasses catching the light and turning white in the gleam. "I'll drive you home and dock your pay for the extra petrol." He said not asking but telling as he held the door open. A car waiting by the curb a blink of light from the headlights as he unlocked it. "Hurry up. Your already late home no doubt."
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