Chapter 3:

Chapter 1 (Reira)

ヒドンライス (Hidden Lies)

The sound of the alarm blared in my ear as I worked up the strength to turn it off. Sunlight beamed down onto my eyelids, signaling a new day. What a wonderful way to wake up. Slowly opening my eyes, I finally pressed the button on my alarm clock. The room in which I spent most of my time in was beyond messy. Books and idol magazines littered the floor to the point that even walking in here was a challenge. The walls were boring and bland like a hospital, with only my cute pink bed sheets giving life to the otherwise dull and sad room.
It was a good thing I didn’t live with my parents anymore. My mom would probably have cried at my deficiency of cleaning skills, but I didn’t mind it… or rather, I didn’t care enough to do anything about it. I merely did enough to survive; you don’t need a clean room for that. Once my eyes adjusted to the light, I stumbled out of bed. Lethargically, I shuffled things around until I finally got to my laptop. I settled back down into the comfort of my bed. After booting up my laptop I wasted some time looking at the different idol news sites. Maybe, I was a masochist looking a these sites everyday. Even though I knew I could never be a part of it, I was still fascinated with the world of idols. Honestly, this was the highest point of my day and it was the only time I truly felt — at least somewhat — alive. The rest of my time I was just going through the motions. It was like I was programmed with simple if/then statements.
If school hours, then go to school.
If stomach feels empty, then eat.
If idol career is ruined, then watch life spiral down into flames.
I closed my laptop after checking every idol news site on the web. I couldn’t put off getting ready for school any longer. Gathering what energy I could, I made my way to the bathroom. While I didn’t always shower before school, I always tried to at least take a shower when I felt it necessary. As I removed my clothes I stared into the mirror. What I saw was… disgusting. A short girl, just barely pushing forty‑six kilograms. For many guys, this would be a turn on but I was not one to care for their opinions. Girls were the only ones worth the trouble.
Once I had completely stripped naked I entered the shower, making sure to set the water to warm. With the water flowing down my body, the tension in muscles immediately started to melt away. Soaking my crimson red hair, I decided to use some shampoo this time around. After a few minutes of rinsing my body clean I proceeded to dry off and put on the school uniform.
In truth, I hated the school uniform that we were forced to wear. Not just the design, but for what it represented. Another cog in the machine; a mass produced gear with no individuality. Some doom and gloom philosopher could more eloquently explain why this way of thinking was bad.
After putting on a pair of white underwear I put on the white button up blouse and the short red checkered pleated skirt. Looking at myself in the mirror for a final time, I hated it. I just didn’t stand out among the rest of the students. It felt like I was not an individual — even if I was treated like an outcast.
Once I was back in my room I ransacked the dresser to try to find a pair of matching socks to wear. The standard socks students could wear were thigh‑high, knee‑high, or ankle socks in black, white or navy blue. Tights were also allowed. After looking through an almost limitless amount of clothes I finally found two black matching knee‑high socks. I started putting them on, pulling them up as high as I could to keep them form fitting. While many guys would probably say my upper body was a sight to see, with billowing breast and a thin waistline, others would say my legs and perfectly trimmed toe nails with pink toe nail polish was the best.
Looking at the clock, I realized that I still had time to eat breakfast even though part of me didn’t want to. I found it painful to get food ready… hell, living was painful enough. I grabbed my school bag from under my bed and sluggishly made my way into the kitchen to figure out what to eat. My living room was hardly what a normal person would call living. The dull gray carpet made the room look lifeless. It didn’t help that the room was bare as a girl in a swimsuit. A simple couch and wooden table, nothing more aside from a book on the table that I had read through a thousand times. As I made my way into the kitchen one would be able to see that it was just as lackluster as the living room. Simple black and white tiled floor with the same bland white walls as the rest of the interior.
Stacks of ramen boxes laid on the plain counter. Although ramen noodles were not the most healthy thing in the world, it still beat cooking a meal from scratch. I enjoyed my cheap, easy meal and proceeded to put on a pair of black dress shoes. After making sure I had what I needed I made my way out the front door, locking it behind me. I took out a pair of headphones from my bag. Walking from place to place with them on made things easier for me due to the fact that bothersome people would greet me with arrows of good morning and how are you, unaware that I was a mute. I became tired of it so these headphones helped with those irritating people. It was okay, though, because the sound of Mikyu Haruna — the best idol to come out of Japan — drowned out the common chatter.
Around this time the streets were pretty quiet aside from a few shops and morning runners getting in their daily practice. Although that would change the closer I got to the school. The air was nice with a small light breeze that felt pleasant. It wasn’t to cold or too hot, almost perfect, almost being the key word. After walking for a bit I turned the corner at the end of the street only to feel the pain of being knocked to the ground. The force was enough to knock my headphones to the ground. I could hear the sound of a girl groaning in pain as I got up to my feet. Picking up my headphones, I was lucky to still hear music being played from them, however, they were a bit scuffed up from the landing they took. Looking at the girl that had ran into me, I noticed that she was also wearing a school uniform like mine, however, this girl stood out even in our uniforms. With blue hair tied into two perfectly long pigtails held by two pink ribbons, this girl was beyond cute.
“I am so sorry,” she said with a bow.Bookmark here

Before anything else could be said, she quickly ran off down the street before finally turning a corner while I stared off a bit dumbfounded by the flash of events that had just taken place. I simply shrugged and continued on my way after putting my headphones back on. Her words played back in my mind… that voice… she sounded exactly like Mikyu Haruna. Was it really her? If it was, why was she here in Nakashiya? The more I listened to the song, the more I analyzed the girl’s voice. Did I really meet the Mikyu Haruna?
An idol among idols, she was a shinning star for young girls that wished to be idols themselves. She had everything, money, fame, looks, and talent. Tours across the world would sell out in just a few days. I would have given anything to see a live performance.
Continuing down the street, I thought more and more about Mikyu while her hit single played. Her voice was like an angel with each passing lyric. However, I started to recall those painful memories of the audition. Bitterness started to plague the depths of my mind as flashbacks reminded me of the failure I was. The biggest question on my mind was, why her and not me?
I stood at the school gate of Yukimato Academy, an all-girls school, more geared to the entertainment business but still a fine private school. It was quite a nice school and kept up well given its — rumored to be — true age. Plus the school was pretty well known for many artists and idols that started as nobodies until they graduated from here. Okay, well, that is not completely true… the idols and artist from the school were more known locally and in neighboring cities. It was a bit funny though as this school did not have an official idol club. Part of me wondered why I even applied to the academy in the first place. I was pretty sure I could never be an idol, as idols needed to be cute, and adorable of which I was neither. Being a mute also made it clear that I would never be on stage.
Beyond the school gate I followed the paved pathway to the stairwell, which lead up to the front entrance of the school. It was a pretty big school that stood at three floors tall if you did not count the roof. Upon opening the door and entering the building I placed my headphones into my bag. I removed my shoes and placed them in my shoe-locker, slipping on the uwabaki provided by the school. Wearing them was a sign of respect when entering, but I just found it more annoying than anything. Although, this did give me a chance to watch the other girls remove their shoes if I was lucky enough to catch sight of it. This was the one thing that I kept a secret, my fetish for girl’s feet.
Along the way to my classroom other girls seemed to be standing around and chattering about nonchalant things most girls talk about. Things like painting nails, the latest fashion, music and the like. Deep down, all the pointless talking made me sick. Speaking, it was a precious gift that many would take for granted. Words could have so much power if one picked them with care. At least that is what I believed, but then again, I have to write everything I want to say which can be a pain. Without that ability to ambiguously express my emotions, my words lose some of the powerful contextualized emotions behind them. Logically, the words were there but not emotionally. Plus, it was bothersome to have to have a pen and paper on hand all the time just to say something. People could speak their mind on a whim, however, I was forced to write. The only small advantage I had was the fact that I could think meticulously about what I wanted to express unlike some people that blurt out the first thing that came to mind.
Making my way into the classroom, a few girls were sitting in groups and talking more or less about the same stuff as the other girls throughout the hallways. I made my way over to my seat which was just one desk away from the large window; I started to think about that girl I saw. She did look a bit like Mikyu aside from the blue hair. Recalling the idol news, I saw a few months back that Mikyu retired from the idol world. The media did not give clear reasons why but it seemed as if it had something to do with her health. I don’t understand why she couldn’t just wait until she was in better condition and continue from there. It was a major shock to me and all her fans. It also made me sick to my stomach… how dare she throw away something as astonishing as being an idol. Why did she do that?
At 8:00 a.m. the bell rung as more students gathered into the room and took their seats. After a few minutes the homeroom teacher entered the classroom. Miss Akiko Okazaki, a young teacher of about twenty-six, usually looked like she was tired and did not want to be here. With black bags under her eyes it was clear that sleep was not a common thing for her. The plain business suit and skirt she wore with a simple pair of nylons made her look more like a lawyer than a teacher.
“Okay class today we have a transfer student joining today.”
A transfer student? I had noticed that the desk between me and the window was still empty. Once the teacher was finished the door suddenly opened. The girl was the exact same girl that I had ran into on my way to school. Making her way to the front of the room she stood there with an aura about her that was like that of noble descent.
“Hello, my name is Miku Hatsumi. It is nice to meet you all,” she said with a small bow.
Her voice rang through my ears. No, that was not her real name. She was Mikyu Haruna!
“You can sit in that empty desk over by the window,” Miss Okazaki said pointing to the desk.
As Mikyu made her way to the empty seat I could hear the whispers of the other students as they talked among their peers.
“Hey, isn’t that Miku Hatsune?”
“Yeah, it looks like her!”
“Are you two like dumb? Miku Hatsune isn’t even real, duh.”
After Mikyu made it to her seat Miss Okazaki decided to sleep on top of her desk. She was quite an odd teacher but most of the teachers at this school had their quirks. Most of the students went back to talking to each other while I could not help but stare at Mikyu. She was beautiful in person, more so then I was.
Suddenly, the bell started to ring which made me jump a bit. Unlike most public and private schools in Japan, Yukimato Academy made students change classrooms, instead of having them stay in the same classroom all semester. I was not looking forward to my next class at all. The bane of all mental abuse to humans… math. Before I realized it, Mikyu had appeared next to me.
“You’re that girl I ran into before, right?”
I nodded.
“Well, I hope we can get along.”
She smiled, her presence radiated with the aura of a goddess. It was something that all idols had about them.
“What classes do you have next?”
I quickly pulled out a notebook from my bag that had all my classes labeled on the front of it.
“Oh, it seems we both have the same classes.”
As we made our way out we both headed to our next class with Miss Chiaki Matsutoshi. We entered the classroom which looked more or less like all the rest of the classrooms in the school. Hardwood floor, wooden desk with metal chairs, and a blackboard, aside from some posters on the walls the rooms were usually identical. Mikyu and I took our seats in the same positions as our homeroom seats. I knew that I would be bored for this class as math was not a subject I was good at. Mikyu took out her notebook and a math textbook, she seemed pretty ready to learn. After the bell rung and the students took their seats Miss Matsutoshi made her way to the blackboard, grabbing a piece of chalk.
“Now if everyone can turn to page three hundred six, we will begin talking about Pythagoras and his theorems. He is considered a huge influence in today’s mathematics for his well known equation…”
She drew a horizontal line on the blackboard and labeled it with the letter ‘a’ and then drew one on the end drawing it upwards from the point labeling it as ‘b’. Finally, she connected both of them with a slanted line at the two exposed end points. She labeled it ‘hypotenuse’ a word that I did not understand. What did the word even mean?
“As you can see, we square the hypotenuse, which will be equal to the sums of both sides…”
She continued to drone on for what seemed like hours. I tried to retain the information but it was not sticking. None of it made sense to me. Perhaps, my brain was not cut out for this high-level thinking. Out of boredom, I looked over to Mikyu who was taking notes like a young scholar. It was, in some way, mesmerizing. Unlike most idols that I had seen Mikyu was more than just another cute idol. Seeing the poetry in her note-taking was like watching a master craftsman. As I continued to stare, blissfully mindless of the world around me, she looked in my direction as if she had a sixth sense about her.
I quickly turned back to the blackboard, hoping she did not see me staring. The board was covered in many mathematical problems and notes. On the inside, I was crying. How could anyone understand this stuff? While I was dying on the inside the bell finally rung and I was glad to be done with this class.
Science class was next on the list followed by history class, more subjects that I detested with a passion. Science was far worse than math, and history just seemed to be useless. Memorizing dates and learning about civilizations that came before us hundreds and thousands of years was not interesting. While Ms. Kojo Tashimato was a genuinely sweet history teacher, her subject of teaching was wasted. Looking over at Mikyu it seems I was not the only one that was also bored by the eras of bygones past. The look was one of what am I doing here, and who could blame her. While she wrote down mindless notes I noticed Mikyu slip off both of her slippers revealing her feet. Even in black knee-high socks her petite feet were perfect. As expected of an idol like her.
The morning continued on until it was time for lunch. I made my way out of the classroom quickly as students started to pile out of the other classrooms. Fighting against the flow of the crowd making their way for the cafeteria, I made my way to the library. The library was not a place where many students hung out at. Usually, it was only the shy people or book-smart nerds that were always around. Lucky for me the building was a short walk from the main school building.
Inside the library was a smell that any bookworm would love. The smell of old books and new books; fondling over each one while walking down the aisles, trying to find the perfect book. It was a massive two floor library. And, unlike the main school building, had the softest carpet one could ever step on in their life time.
Being a school library it was a boundless place for knowledge with a plethora of books on any subject, from complex technical science books to manga. I made my way to the manga section and browsed through all the books on the shelves. As I searched I came across a manga I had yet to read called Rose of the Dark Moon which seemed interesting. On the cover was a young, cute girl with white hair tied on the left side with a black ribbon. Her skin was flawless but as pale as a ghost, while her eyes were two different colors. The left eye being red as blood and the right eye more of a twilight color. She was dressed in dark a Gothic-Lolita outfit, complete with black and white striped knee-high socks and combat boots. While Rose — the main character of the manga — seemed unique, the plot itself seemed pretty common from what I read of the synopsis on the back.
With the book picked out I sat down at a wooden table and started reading. Although the plot was pretty cliché, I found myself slowly sinking deeper and deeper into the world of the book. I was enthralled with the manga to the point that I had completely lost track of time… and my senses.
“I really liked that manga.”
I was startled by the sudden sound of the voice that I should have easily recognized. Mikyu stood beside me looking over the manga in my hands.
“Oh sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.”
The soft tone of her voice sounded calming. I pulled out the small writing pad and a pen from my bag. Keeping both on me was hard at times seeing as how the summer uniform did not have pockets of any kind to carry any items around.
“I never did catch your name.”
I scribbled down my name on the paper and showed it to her.
“What a beautiful name you have.”
“My name is Miku Hatsumi, but you can just call me Miku.”
How long was she planning to keep up this lie? Maybe no one else could tell but I knew that this girl was Mikyu Haruna.
(You’re Mikyu Haruna, aren’t you?)
I was hoping she would drop the act. The look on her face told me that I was right.
“I-I am sorry, you must have me confused with someone else. I am afraid I do not know a Mikyu Haruna.”
Liar! She was Mikyu Haruna and it was clear from that sentence, there was no mistaking it. Silence filled the air as she tried to think of what to say. I had a lot of questions to ask her but I decided to ask the main one on my mind for the longest time.
(Why did you quit being an idol?)
The look on her face told me I struck a nerve.
“All right look… I am Mikyu Haruna and yes… it is true that I used to be an idol but not anymore.”
There was an almost sad look upon her face but she managed to hide it with an enervated smile. She merely avoided the question by confirming my statement regarding her being a famous idol. I decided that it would be better to not pursue the question, at least for the time being.
“Please do not tell anyone, okay?”
Suddenly, she had a coy smile about her face while her posture was relaxed as ever. I nodded as I looked into her calm blue eyes. It was like staring out at a vast, endless ocean. Before I could pick up my the paper on the desk Mikyu quickly took it along with the pen straight from my hand. She quickly wrote down something on the paper but kept it hidden from view.
Like a true idol she smiled and with a cute wink that made my heart skip a beat. Why couldn’t I had blamed my being a mute from her wink? That would have been so much better.
“I will let you have this autograph for free. Usually, I charge for this kind of stuff, you know?”
Who would have ever believed I would get a free autograph from Mikyu Haruna? Wait, was this her way of getting me to keep quiet about her being an idol?
“Anyways, I think—”
Before she could finish her sentence the bell started to ring.
“Oh, looks like we have to get ready for our next class.”
Spinning like a ballerina on the ball of her foot she faced the exit of the library though not before turning her head back to me.
“We should hangout sometime Reira.”
I just nodded as she smiled and made her way out of the library. Before I left, I checked out the manga that I still had not finished. Hopefully, I could finish the first volume and then continue to read the others in the series. After putting the manga in my bag I made my way out of the library, and headed for my next class, Language Arts.
Language Arts class — which most students just shorted to English Class — was taught by Miss Niyaki Juname, one of my favorite teachers in possibly the whole school. I was happy to have her for the whole semester. She was the youngest of all the teachers at Yukimato Academy being only twenty-one years in age, which showed. Her dress was borderline appropriate and bordering almost on sexy. While black hair tied in a ponytail and square-rimmed glasses would make any woman look more mature, the same could not be said of Niyaki. She was known for being an eccentric teacher and even told students to call her by her first name. Once the bell rung and students took their seats Niyaki made her way up to the blackboard. Quickly writing down a sentence in a language I was sure no one even knew, much less could even read, Niyaki removed her slippers as she always did when she got tired of wearing them.
“Now who can tell me what the sentence on the blackboard says?”
The sentence on the board was written in odd letters.
“If you can tell me what it is, I will let all of you have a free period today!”
That will never happen. I could not even understand it. Je suis allée avec ma sœur, chez un de ses amis, it was clearly not Japanese. It was in a language that I did not know at all and while I loved language arts and our own language, learning other languages was just not my forte. I only understood Japanese and never really bothered to learn another language, not like I would be able to speak it anyways. The only language that I tried to learn was English, mainly due to the fact that Mikyu had only one song produced that she completely sang in English. However, I gave up because the English language was so complex that I had a hard time learning not only the grammar but also understanding how to spell the words and how it all came together.
Hours flew by until the final bell rung for school to be over for the day. Now was the time school clubs began, which I was proudly a member of the unofficial club the Go Home Club. A glorious club where you create your own excitement. Although, it is not recognized by the student council, I like to think the club would be great if I was to start one. Mikyu and I made our way to our shoe-lockers and traded out our slippers. If I had to be honest, watching her remove her slippers was truly a pleasure.
As we walked down the street and back to our own homes a question formed in my head. What does a former idol even do in their free time?Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.