1160: In the Absence of Cherry Blossoms – Chapter ThreePosted: August 31, 2015
Hello, everyone! Last time on “In the Absence of Cherry Blossoms,” we watched as Sakura started her first day of American school in which she met a principal that knew way too much about the daily happenings of one random male student that happened to be passing by. That student turned out to be
Creeps-a-lot Bear named Teddy and we witnessed what could only be called clothing porn without the clothing. The purple got pretty thick and then Teddy decided he’s going to just call her “Cherry” instead of using her real name. When we left them, Sakura and Asshole were about to start their first class of the day.
Koori is MIA at the moment but I’m sure she’ll be along soon. Last I saw her she was heading back to Sub-Level 12 to find spare parts for her new Pretentiousness Meter. Herr’s “Great Rift” fic broke it last week.
Chapter three is called “Ten,” which doesn’t currently make any sort of sense. Maybe we’ll find out by the end of this chapter.
The cafeteria was at the lowest level of the school, same one the boiler room could be found on. Despite being so secluded, the large room was filled with natural light and a cool breeze. The school was built atop a hill, and as a result the front rested on the knoll, and the rear spilled out the back and onto the slope. Hence the cafeteria’s given location.
Shit, get the shoring material! The school is spilling over! Where are the sandbags!? Call the National Guard!
Why is it important to know that the cafeteria is on the same floor as the boiler room? And why does the school being built down the side of a hill have anything to do with the placement of the cafeteria on the bottom floor? Is this going to be important information for later in the story? Probably not, since this is the last chapter posted. She hasn’t updated since January so we probably won’t get any answer to these questions.
Sakura’s school back in Japan had a cafeteria, although not as strangely located as the one here. Often time, she ate in her classroom. Like at home, in America students weren’t required to only eat lunch in the cafeteria. She had seen kids spread all over the campus, sitting in hallways by their lockers. However, Teddy had wanted her to meet some friends of his, and she didn’t want to turn down the offer.
They had a cafeteria at her school in Japan? Really? I mean, I’ve never been to a Japanese school and I admit that most of my knowledge comes from anime, manga, and the internet, but I’ve never seen a Japanese school cafeteria depicted in one of those sources. I’ve always seen students bringing bento boxes from home that they either ate in the classroom or elsewhere on campus. Ghostie, any insight on this?
Now I want a bento.
And isn’t she being incredibly all-inclusive with her “American kids don’t have to eat in a cafeteria” comment? We didn’t have a cafeteria at my high school. We had a commons. The commons was a gathering place of sorts filled with round tables and many chairs. You could eat your lunch there if you wanted, or you could find somewhere else to bivouac down. My friends and I usually ate in the hallway behind a staircase, tucked out of the way from foot traffic. Other than lunch, the commons was used for before or after school yammering and some meetings and events where a lot of room was needed. Before we had an auditorium built, it was also where school plays were performed. But I’m pretty sure there are some schools where students are required to eat in their cafeteria. Not every school is open-campus. And not every school even has a cafeteria. In my elementary school, we ate in our classrooms because there was no cafeteria. In middle school you were required to eat in the cafeteria. In high school, open campus. No school is the same.
“Don’t eat that,” Sakura, startled, pulled away from her thoughts, and turned her attention to the source of this new voice. She found that it belonged to a pair of pretty, glossed lips turned up in a sweet smile.
Sentient lips! AAAAAHHHH!
*ducks for cover*
“Oh, okay,” Sakura managed to spit out before she closed her mouth stupidly.
What was she eating that was such a faux pas? Was she eating her napkin? Her lunch tray? A purely decorative garnish that would have killed her to consume? And who is this Bossy McBosspants to tell her what she can and can’t eat? My ex-husband?
*holds her hand up for a high-five from Koori and then frowns*
Where is that girl?
The girl let out an apologetic laugh, which to Sakura, sounded incredibly warm and comforting. “I’m sorry if I startled you, I just wanted to see what it was before you ate it.” The girl placed her folded arms on the table and leaned forward, surveying the decorated lunch the foreign exchange student was picking from.
Seriously? That was the reason she didn’t want Sakura to eat the thing? She wanted to know what it was? What the fuck is wrong with this character? Why not just ask “Hey, what are you eating?” instead of making someone spit out their lunch? Rude!
*glances over at Koori’s empty chair and frowns*
I didn’t realize how much I miss having someone agree or offer a counter point. I hope she doesn’t get lost down there.
“Oh, it’s just omelette,” Sakura put it back in its place in her lunch and set her chopsticks aside. An uncomfortable and self conscious wave swept over her as she realized the girl was watching her eat.
Did she bring her own lunch? Omelette is kind of an odd high school lunch offering but maybe it’s one of those more progressive schools that thinks outside the bun? It would make sense if she’s eating with chopsticks that she brought a bento. It would also make sense for her to have brought a bento since she’s Japanese.
Man, I really want a fucking bento now. Koori?! Are you within ear shot?! Bring me a bento!
*waits for a few minutes*
“Hmm,” the girl inspected it more closely, scrutinizing every detail of her lunch. “It looks cute, the way your lunch is arranged. Maybe you could make some for me one day, share it?” The girl smiled more, before opening her mouth again. “My name is Sunday, by the way. Sunday Muse.”
That is a horrible name. I can’t really fault the rest of the paragraph, though. I’ve known some forth-coming people that have behaved like that.
Sakura smiled, “My name is Sakura. It’s nice to meet you.”
“So, how do you like it here so far?” Sunday placed a bag on the table and opened its contents to reveal her lunch.
It certainly wasn’t a bento, which Sakura’s aunt had made for her, despite her protests. Instead, Sunday had a container of salad, and other colorful food sorts among other things.
It IS a bento! And her aunt made it. Seems legit. A woman who grew up in Japan would have mad bento skills.
“Oh, you know I’m the exchange student?” Sakura, a little perplexed, put her fingers to her lips, pondering if she had done something wrong to garner attention to herself. In the movies she watched, the new girl was always confronted by a dangerous force on the first day. Usually in the form of a pretty girl. “Have I done something wrong?”
You’re a new student. Apparently, everyone heard there was an exchange student from Japan on their way. You’re obviously Japanese. You’re eating a very un-American – and delicious – looking lunch. It doesn’t take an Einstein to put the pieces together there, Skippy.
Sunday seemed confused, “no, not at all. It’s just that I haven’t seen your face around before, so I knew you were the newest student here. It’s been a few days since school started, so we all know who the other foreign exchange students are. You’re the last one to arrive.”
How many exchange students do they have?! We had maybe two that I can recall when I was a senior in high school. One of them gave me the most delicious green tea chewy candy. Japan makes the best treats.
A few moments of silence passed between the two, before Sakura lightly tapped her first into her other palm in realization. “Ah! I see. Oh, I was scared for a little bit there,” Sakura gave a relieved smile.
What? Why? I’m confused by why she was scared. Was she scared because Sunday knew she was the new student, or was it because she thought she’d made some cultural faux pas? The latter would make more sense.
Sunday let out another laugh, which seemed to ease the awkwardness and tension out of the conversation. Sakura took the opportunity to notice Sunday’s hair fell around her shoulders in a shower of strawberry blonde. Her eyes were amber colored and always attentive.
How does she know that Sunday’s eyes are always attentive? She’s known her for five minutes.
“Why’s that?” Sunday’s head tilted in curiosity, and Sakura felt her throat catch. She couldn’t very well explain to someone she just met that she thought they were evil. Especially when such a sweet and pretty girl had bothered to talk to her in the first place.
Wait, what? She assumed Sunday was evil and that’s why she was scared? What?
*rereads the encounter*
She asked how you you liked it at that school. How in the fuckity-fuck could that possibly come across as evil?! Is she seriously basing her real-life high school experience on potentially badly translated American teen movies?
Sakura opened her mouth to say something-hopefully words to smooth over her less than kind assumption-but she was interrupted before she could even begin.
Oh my sweet monkey lovin’ Jeebus, she did. Sakura’s first impression of friendly, smiling Sunday was that Sunday was evil.
“Hey, Sunday,” they both turned at the sound of Theodore’s voice, who was making his way to the table with a tray full of food.
“Hey Teddy!” Sunday called back, seeming to have forgotten the earlier conversation.
“Looks like you two have already been acquainted. Sakura, this is Sunday. She’s one of my friends that I wanted to introduce you to.”
“Ah, where are your other friends?” Sakura asked, before flushing red in embarrassment, “I-I mean, not that Sunday isn’t good enough-” Sakura stopped herself before she could say anything more.
You know, despite the weirdness of her assumption that Sunday was the spawn of Satan, I have to give Regina a few props for this little scene. It does a pretty good job of making Sakura look incredibly socially awkward without telling us she’s incredibly socially awkward. Well done.
*shoves a redemption cookie through her monitor*
Sunday only smiled more, waving her hand as if she could brush aside the matter, “it’s okay! No harm done. I wouldn’t have even noticed it. Only because you said something about it that I did.”
“I think I’m a little too excited, maybe a little nervous,” Sakura let out a cross between a laugh and a sigh.
“It’s only your first day, Cherry, you’ll get it down,” Theodore took a bite of the pizza he had gotten from the lunch line.
“Cherry?” Sunday raised an eyebrow at Theodore, inquiring about the nickname.
“Yeah,” Theodore turned to Sakura, examined her face before smiling at her, “Cherry.”
“It’s only been, what, two hours and you have a nickname for Sakura?” Sunday drew her fork away from her mouth and waved it at Theodore, her voice taking on a teasing tone.
Is this normal for him, to rename people? Who does that remind me of… oh yes!
“It’ll help make her feel more closer to us, don’t you think Sunday?” He bit into his pizza again, lazily wiping his mouth with a napkin and discarding it on his tray.
“Oh, yeah, totally,” Sunday’s cheeks seemed to flush, and she rolled her eyes and smiled, attention drawn back to her food.
“Oi, what do we have ‘ere?” A new voice drifted towards the table, and Sakura heard Theodore laugh.
“Daaaaaan,” Theodore’s face was lit up by his grin as he waved at the newcomer. “This is Sakura, the last foreign exchange student.”
The last one EVAH! That’s just a weird way of introducing her. Why not just “This is Sakura, one of the exchange students”?
“Or, Cherry, which is Teddy’s little nickname for her,” Sunday cut in, not missing the opportunity to swipe at Theodore’s silliness. Sakura laughed along with Sunday, finding it hard not to join in with her contagious giggles.
Weeeeee-ha-ha! Such funny. Much amusement. So giggle.
“I wish you would have waited for me, Dan. I was this close to spilling my nachos on my shirt, that would have been really embarrassing,” another person sat herself at the table next to Dan, slight irritation in her voice.
Character overload time, I see.
Why would Mystery Student have nearly spilled with Dan hurrying away? Does Dan usually carry Mystery Student’s lunch to prevent this sort of thing?
Sakura surveyed the two. Dan’s hair was a dark coppery red, paired off with green eyes almost the color of grass. He was shorter than Teddy from what she could tell, and seemed to dwarf the girl he sat next to. Her hair was a long, thick black mass of shiny strands that framed her face, which seemed to compliment her sun kissed skin and sea glass colored eyes.
Jeeeeeezzzzzzus… I have no idea what anyone is wearing but I’ll sure has hell get a description of their hair and eyes. I think we may have found a sub-category of clothing porn.
“Yasmine! This is Sakura. Sakura, Yasmine.” Sunday gestured back and forward between the two, her heart beat accelerating as she felt Yasmine’s eyes on her.
“Wow, you’re so pale and thin. I wish I was pale and thin,” Yasmine seemed to scan Sakura, eyes studying and flickering here and there. In contrast to Sakura’s more smaller frame, Yasmine was more voluptuous. Sakura felt her confidence slowly slip away to the woeful pit in her mind, where it usually stays and never comes back.
Oh Gawd… we did not just slip into Pretty Ugly Girl territory, did we? Yasmine is jealous of Sakura’s traits but Sakura thinks she is inadequate despite being so pretty.
“Now, now, Yasmine, you shouldn’t be wishin’ for things all the time,” Dan’s voice was accented, Sakura noted. “I think you should be more wary and appreciative of what you’ve got.”
Because he dropped a “g”? That’s not accented, that’s the inability to enunciate.
“Oh, I am, I am,” Yasmine smiled and leaned onto Dan, her arms wrapped around one of his, before she kissed his cheek and went back to her lunch. “Although,” she began, her attention once more on Sakura, “I really want to go shopping. Think you’re up for it after school?”
Sakura’s cheeks flushed, and she felt her heart speed up again. “I would love to! But it’s my first day of school, and I think my aunt would want me to go home.”
I’m sure your aunt would be glad you’re making friends. Schools have phones. Call her.
Yasmine seemed to understand, and nodded her head after swallowing. “Hey, I understand. It doesn’t have to be today. On the weekend then? Sunday, how about you?”
Shit, and Koori’s not back yet.
*glances around her office and starts digging through desk drawers. Finds some paper and scribbles “Out of Order” on it before taping it to the outside of her door, then closes and locks it*
That’ll hold them for a bit.
“Yeah, I’ll ask the others if they wanna go,” Sunday said.
“Not invitin’ the gents, are you?” Dan put his fork down and pulled Yasmine closer to him, burrowing his face in the crook of her neck even as she squirmed and protested. “Lookin’ to do some flirtin’ while I’m not around?”
PDA. Great. Now, I’m all for an ass-squeeze in the grocery store, but you’ve gotta be covert about it or it’s not as fun.
Yasmine flailed to no avail in Dan’s arms, laughing loudly. “Look Mr. Boyfriend, can’t a girl just buy some clothes with her friends?”
“Dan, control yourself why don’t you?” Another boy sat down next to Sunday, with near white blonde hair bleached by the sun, and skin tanned from being outside too much.
“Emm, no.” Dan stuck his tongue out at the other. “When you get your bloomin’ emotions under control, then you can tell me what to do,” Dan wiggled his eyebrows, a knowing grin plastered onto his face.
It would be really nice to know what sort of “accent” Dan is supposed to have. I’m going to imagine it’s a thick Bavarian one since we’re not told. It makes it funnier when he uses words like “Bloomin’.”
“Julian,” Theodore threw a napkin at him, “this is Sakura.”
That’s a heavy napkin, but I can’t really fault this. I throw napkins at people all the time, although they’re usually wet so they fly further.
“H-hello!” Sakura greeted him, suddenly nervous around so many new people.
Julian grinned and raised a hand in greeting, and she felt temporarily blinded by the amount of which he resembled sunlight. Sakura once read a manga about a girl who despised bishounen, and found them too blinding to look at. If there was ever a time she knew how the girl felt, this moment would be it.
So she despises Julian because he’s inexplicably glowing like iron in a forge? First, she thinks Sunday is evil, then she’s jealous of, uhm, what’s-her-bucket’s* voluptuousness, and now she hates Julian because he probably has some sort of skin condition he can’t help?
*A word on this: If I cannot remember your character’s name five sentences after they’re introduced, you have introduced too many fucking characters in a short span of time.
Sunday perked up, waving at two girls from across the cafeteria. “Eva, Esmeralda!”
*groans and drops her head to the desk* MORE?
“Where’s Alex and Phil?” Dan scanned the cafeteria for two other boys Sakura hadn’t had the chance to meet.
Jesus H. Monkeyballs. Dragging this out like this has got to be one the most boring character introduction scenes I’ve ever read. Maybe they should just form a line to meet Sakura instead of being ass-pulled out of the Void that is the cafeteria.
“I think those two were at a party. A back to school party? You know how they are.” Julian shrugged, dismissing the matter.
They were at a party so they didn’t come to what appears to be the second week of school? Are they hung over? Where the hell are their parents?!
“Hey!” Sunday greeted the two girls she had flagged down earlier. “This is Sakura. Sakura, this is Eva,” the girl with bobbed, peach colored hair waved. “And this is Esmeralda.”
Esmeralda’s eyes were dark blue, almost purple in hue. It was hard to tell, the way they seemed to shift back and forth between colors. She had dark brown curls, the kind that turned frizzy if you weren’t careful with them.
“Bonjour~” Esmeralda brought up a hand and wiggled her fingers at Sakura, who in turn, nodded her head in recognition.
*steals the tilde and puts it in the Spare Punctuation Box*
We don’t get too many of those!
“Ah, so, Yasmine wanted to go shopping with Sakura over the weekend. Are you two up for it?” Sunday clasped her hands together, waiting for an answer.
“Sounds like a good way to welcome Sakura,” Eva gave a toothy smile and popped a spoonful of pudding into her mouth.
“I’ll remind you that it won’t just be you girls either,” Teddy chimed in, “we’re also coming along.”
You are? I thought the boys weren’t invited? Has my reading comprehension suddenly gone to shit or is Teddy making shit up?
*goes back and reads*
Making shit up. Teddy seems to be the kind that says something and instantly expects it to be obeyed or allowed.
Sakura watched Sunday’s reaction, who did nothing but occasionally glance admiringly over at Theodore. Sakura became curious over the matter, and made a mental note to ask her about it later.
So the Evil One aspires to be like the Jerky One? I’m not sure admiringly is quite what Regina meant when she wrote “admiringly” but the word choice is odd to me and brings up for a sense of, well, admiration more than adoration. I think the latter is what Regina was trying to portray.
“Wait, where’s Grant?” Julian whipped his head around, trying to locate the last member of this extremely large group.
“He’s probably trying to finish the assignment for the engineering, knowing him.” Teddy noted, “don’t worry, don’t worry I’ll make sure to drag his butt along on Saturday. Or maybe you’ll meet him before then somewhere around school, Cherry.”
Engineering?! Are these kids in high school or the Star Fleet Academy?!
“CHERRY?” Julian repeated, his eyes widening in amusement and his lips unable to contain the smile twitching along the corners of his lips. “Waaaait a minute, you’ve got a nickname for her already?”
Did someone flip back a couple pages? We’ve already been over this.
“That’s what I said,” Sunday rolled her eyes at Theodore, picking at the remains of her salad.
“Wow, okay,” Theodore began, “it’s to make her feel more like one of us.”
One of us, one of us, one of us…
I’m starting to get a weird, cult-y vibe from Teddy. Run, Sakura, run!
“So does that mean we get to call her that too?” Julian jabbed a finger at Teddy’s direction, and everyone laughed at the silence from Teddy that ensued.
IT ISN’T TEDDY’S CALL WHAT SAKURA IS NAMED! Gods fucking damnation! It’s Sakura who has the right to tell them that they can or cannot use that name to reference her! The girl has some rights to her own autonomy!
Sakura breathed in, “this is a pretty big group of friends, Teddy,” she looked around at the multitude of new faces.
“There’s ten of us, so I hope you’re not too overwhelmed” Teddy swiped at his nose, smiling at her.
“No, no. I think I’ll really like it here.”
Even though you think one of them is evil, one is too boobalicious that it hurts your obviously fragile self confidence, and you hate one for being unrealistically shiny? Why do I get the impression that, if this fic had continued, Sakura would have just rolled over and done whatever her “cool” American friends wanted her to do? This entire scene felt pointless and blobby, and made Sakura look like a wet blanket that couldn’t even speak up for herself.
We’ve got an author’s note and then I’m finished with this crap.
it’s almost been a year. i was gonna give up on this fanfiction, but i became curious, and i peeked at it. i had one review. overcome with terror, i ignored it. but it’s okay, because it was a kind review.
You were scared of the only review you got? And you waited a year to read it? Why?! And it was okay to ignore it because it was a nice review? That doesn’t make any sense!
then i felt like i had so many hopes for this fanfic that i needed to continue. thanks to the words of one kind anon, and my sister(fun fact: when i was little, i wrote a care bear story and she called it stupid), i have returnnned.
For one convoluted chapter. Go you.
And we all write stupid shit when we’re little. Just look at the fic of Taco’s that I riffed here a while ago. If it hadn’t been lost to time and an old computer disk that was thrown away for being no longer compatible with anything I’d have shared an old Mossflower fanfic I wrote when I was 12. Now that shit was bad.
i should apologize for being gone, and even more so that the first three chapters are so dreary. fear not! the fourth one will definitely be a little more interesting! at least i hope!
A sign of a bad author is one who knows their chapters are bad but puts them out there anyway.
so can you guess which care bear is which? try to guess before looking below.
I really don’t care.
theodore – tenderheart bear
sunday – cheer bear
dan – good luck bear
yasmine – wish bear
julian – funshine bear
eva – friend bear
esmeralda – love-a-lot bear
And yet, throughout the entire thing, I found absolutely no parallels with Care Bears that would have led me to believe this was a fanfic and not just some random story about an exchange student’s first day at school-
*the door to her office bursts open*
Koori: I made it! *plops into her chair*
See you all next week.
Koori: Wait, I missed it? Were there finally Care Bears?
Go clean the honey badger enclosure.