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m - stony silence

chemistryisfun in ghostsugar_rp

Be Gentle, I'm New at This [closed to Ren]

Yuzuya dragged himself to the mirror and sink in the teacher's room, hand towel and mug in hand. He only had thirty minutes till the morning meeting started. Thirty minutes to get himself primed and ready, to transform the ashen-faced person he could see reflecting back at him from mirror into alert, bright-eyed, responsible homeroom teacher. He bowed his head when he reached the counter and took a deep breath.

Homeroom teacher Shibata Yuzuya.

Okay, he could do this. He was going to make himself do this.

Yuzuya took off his glasses to wash his face with cold water in the sink. The water was icy, just as he'd hoped. He finished, rinsed, and pawed blindly for where he'd put his towel.
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Not for the first time, Ren was stopped at the front gate for 1) not wearing the uniform 2) still eating breakfast while walking. She explained, also not for the first time that she was not an exchange student and damn it, she was hungry. Even though she started eating her donut in the car Ren was only half way finished when she got to the gate. Ren couldn't very well just throw it away. That was wasteful! Besides, the donut was highly delicious.

She really needed to rake another brush through her unruly hair and maybe wipe the powdered sugar off of her mouth. The other teachers looked at her either in amusement or annoyance. It was pure luck she hadn't been fired yet. Ren liked to think it was pure skill.

"Here ya go," Ren handed the blind teacher the towel he seemed to be searching for with her free hand. His face was wet and he was at the sink-- what else could there be? If he really was looking for something else she would have been embarrassed. A little. "Morning!"

This was a good ice breaker, wasn't it? She was much for socializing (Ren was starting to think that she had a social disease) but she would sure try. Co-workers were fun! Well... the cool ones were.
"Ah. Thanks," Yuzuya accepted the towel and had to dry his face and put his glasses back on before he could tell who his savior had been. He blinked owlishly while his eyes readjusted. "Oh. Hi Ito-sensei. Good morning."

Ito Ren lived in the same apartment building he did, and taught at the same school, and her desk was right next to his this year. If Yuzuya were the suspicious type, he'd think she was stalking him. But she seemed a little too genuine for that. Ito Ren let you know whatever she was thinking-- she was famous for it among the faculty-- and Yuzu was pretty darn sure after knowing her for a year that the woman didn't have the ability for stealth. Yuzuya relaxed visibly in her presence. "You look nice. But, um. You, you have something on your face. Donuts for breakfast again?"
Ren feverishly wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, careful not to smudge her already fading lip gloss or scratch her face with her rings. The rest of her donut was quickly eaten and washed down with a lukewarm cup of coffee. Yuzuya always looked so nervous around her. Ren hoped he wasn't one of those Japanese people who was somewhat suspicious of foreigners-- half foreigners ?-- but he didn't seem the type. Maybe he was a really nervous guy. She wanted to try and remedy the situation and maybe become friends. After all, they lived and worked near each other. They SHOULD get along!

"It's a pretty common 'to-go' breakfast in America. Besides, I bought a deep fryer and I really wanted to try it out," she searched out the tissues in her skirt pocket, still not having gotten used to the whole "handkerchief" thing. Why didn't Japanese bathrooms have paper towels? To save paper, maybe? "What's new? Ready for the morning meeting?"

She hopped up on a space on her desk (there wasn't much room, not with all her Star Wars memorabilia and papers everywhere), crossing her legs as not to flash Yuzuya and make him more nervous. "Want me to teach you how to make them?" Ren joked, leaning her elbow on her knee and her chin in her hand. "We can have a 'Make Your Own Donuts' night."
Yuzuya helped himself to some coffee-- it was a good thing to have the first-year teacher desks closest to the coffeemaker, it really was. He tried to follow Ren's conversation, but this early it all bounced around like popcorn in his head. He furrowed his brow. "Make donuts?" he repeated, his voice thick and slow. "At the morning meeting?"

He brought his coffee back to his desk, set his cup on his Mario Brothers coaster, and hung his towel on the top drawer. Then he let his weight sink heavily into his chair with a sigh. He rubbed his eyes beneath his glasses and yawned. "I don't know about that." Didn't sound like something that was likely to fly with the more stodgy teachers. But the principal would probably love it.
"Not here," Ren laughed and waved at another young teacher walking in. She still had to get used to this bowing thing but a little wave would do the purpose for now. The red head absently played with the zipper on her boot, always need to touch or do something. It was not exactly a nervous habit but still a habit of sorts. "I meant at the apartment. There are no deep fryers except in the home ec. room, anyway. I would know because life would be too good if there were deep fryers everywhere!"

That would probably be heaven. Fryers everywhere. Things IN the fryers. Ah~ Ren cocked an eyebrow at Yuzuya's coaster, unable to believe that a man-- or anyone at ALL-- used a coaster. His desk was just as messy as hers, it was kind of strange that he was being so careful about coffee.

"You sound tired. Couldn't sleep? My internet kept going in and out while I was talking to my mother back in America so I was up until all hours trying to get it to work. I had to fiddle with it and possibly hook it up illegally but I managed."
Yuzuya's head moved slightly as he gathered his efforts to take in all of Ren's comments on so many different topics all at once. It was a little like watching a tennis match, but all the hits were flying from one side. What happened to the donut thing? What was this about frying?

"Yeah, I'm tired," he admitted, his voice lowered to avoid an older teacher overhearing. "I didn't sleep well last night." He paused to drink some of his coffee and bow his head to a passing math teacher. "Wasn't sure if I had everything ready, and then when I finally did and went to bed, I couldn't fall asleep." So many things to make sure were going right. When you really had to sleep for things, those were the times that sleep just wouldn't come.

Yuzuya sniffed and drank more coffee. "I feel like the walking dead," he quipped.
Teachers of academic subjects had it hard. Ren was pretty sure the only person who worked even less than her with the gym teacher. Them again, the gym teacher probably worked out a lot while Ren baked and ate food to "test" lesson plans. Her mother complained that it was a waste of her precious brain but Ren was perfectly happy. Who needed a high pressure job? She got decent hours, didn't need to do (much) paper work, and got to eat all the kid's homework and classwork.

She would probably gain weight if she wasn't careful but who could deny such perks? And maybe, just maybe, she could land herself a good man while she was at it. There were so many men at this school, it was kind of like she hit the jackpot.

"That's okay, the kids don't really pay attention in class anyway," she waved her hand casually. "Maybe you can nap during your lunch break? Even a quick catnap should do you good," Ren hopped off the table, smoothing out her skirt. Some of the teachers eyed her-- Ren only smiled back.
Yuzuya scratched his chin and yawned into his hand again. "No, no naps for me. I'll just have to drink lots of this and tough it out is all," he stated, and gulped some more of his coffee. The bitter, nutty brew was just what he'd wanted as soon as he'd crawled reluctantly from the futon that morning.

It was regrettable not to have slept well, but he would make it through the day on sheer willpower. He'd done it in college and at his old job, time and again. Besides-- if any of his seniors saw him sleeping at school, it wasn't bound to make a good impression. And what was life at work for if not to carefully construct a continuous good impression?

"But thanks, Ito-sensei." Ren was always good at giving advice. She was pretty reliable. Yuzuya was secretly glad that her desk was next to his this year. Someone who was easy to talk to beside him was always good-- a major improvement on his spot next to Sakai-sensei last year. Yuzu still felt like cringing every time he heard the man's voice, fearing whatever the bellow was about was aimed at him. Tuck your shirt in! Your desk is a mess! How old are these tissues? You're a teacher, man, get it together!

Yeah. Not only the friendly presence beside him was good, but there was the comparison factor-- Ren's occasional abnormal behavior stood out more than his did. Maybe Yuzuya could get by this year without getting so many stern comments. He tipped his coffee cup up to his lips with a satisfied smile. Here's hoping.

"Y-you busy tonight?" he ventured, shy. "Maybe we should go eat or something on the way home." They'd gone out for food a couple times last year with other teachers. Ren always knew the places to go where the beers were big and cheap. Today is totally a katsudon day, she'd say, with finality. Or a tempura day, or a hot soup day, or whatever. Yuzu could totally roll with that. Less decisions to make. And after they finished eating, it always seemed like she had been 100% right about the choice. Maybe it was the cook in her. Was that part of being a good cook, to know what food fit the mood?
Ren put her hands to her cheeks, pretending to look embarrassed in a very maidenly way. Yuzuya was absolutely hilarious and adorable when he was flailing around. The other teachers were intently listening to their conversation now, even though they were pretending not to. Most of them were really good natured and liked to have a good laugh, too, so Ren was okay with making a fool of herself in front of them. She liked how easygoing 85% of the teachers at school were. It probably had to do with the fact they were younger teachers.

"Eh? You want to take me on a date? I'm so happy~" she trilled, sighing dramatically. "Now I'm feeling shy~ Will you call me 'Ren' from now on? Or maybe 'honey'!"

She heard some cackles in the background. "Is there going to be a marriage in the future??" one of the male teachers who just arrived called back at her jokingly.

"Maybe! I'll have to quit working here to raise our kids," Ren put the back of her hand against her forehead. "We'll have to have three, you know. There will have to be a son, somewhere in there, to take on the family name~"

"No, no, that's not--" Yuzuya's face had gone from wide-eyed to openmouthed and spilling a little of his coffee with a jitter, to flaming beet red. "Stop it, not so loud!" he scolded her, finally understanding that she was just playing with him. "Geez."

He glanced around the room to see who was overhearing. No Ono-sensei or Sakai-sensei, and the science department head was gone too. Thank god, he was safe. He did note eyes on him, and a few amused titters from behind newspapers and teacups. His ears burned, embarrassed. "You're going to get me fired, I swear," he grumbled.

He shuffled papers around on his desk, away from the coffee he'd spilled, and took out a tissue to wipe it up. "And here I was just thinking that I was glad to have my desk next to you," he let her know with a sigh.
Ren ran a hand through her hair, not looking the least bit apologetic for embarrassing him. She did, however, put on a convincing pout. "Does that mean the wedding is off?" He just needed to loosen up a little, not worry so much about other people. Yuzuya always seemed to aware of everyone around him.
If you can't beat 'em (and while he may have briefly considered beatings, it didn't seem at all appropriate) you have to join 'em. Yuzu glanced around to make sure the wrong people weren't present to hear it, then-- "THE WEDDING IS OFF, YES," Yuzuya announced, raising his voice for the benefit of their audience. He was rewarded with discreet chuckles. Yuzu looked down at the last bit of coffee in his mug. That's me, here to be everyone's lame comic relief.

The very idea! He and Ren were co-workers, and you weren't supposed to date your co-workers. It was one of the biggest rules of life ever! And he knew it was in the teacher's manual too. He'd read it many times over.

Yuzuya glowered briefly, then his irritation seemed to pass. He took a few more gulps of coffee and let it settle in his stomach. Then he shifted back to his so-far-failing attempt at making better friends with his neighbor. "Anyway. Dinner after school, to celebrate our first day of homeroom teacherhood. Yes, or no? Say yes, cause I don't want to go sit in some bar and eat chicken wings all alone today." He was all out of instant ramen, too.
"Well when you say it like that how can I refuse?" she slipped a few files (mostly overdue paperwork) into her large, leather bag and searched around for a hard candy to suck on at the same time. Gum annoyed her because it lost its flavor but hard candy with always, always delicious. Japan really did have interesting and delicious candies. She would have to send a few to her mother. "Going to the bar alone is sad, Shibata. That's a sign of a problem."

Like Ren would ever say no to going out to a meal? Especially with a cute guy. Sure, he was kind of twitchy and a little nerdy but so was she! Nerdy was a-okay with her. "I also have to paint my apartment this weekend. The white walls are depressing me. I'm thinking of painting them red or something like that. I might even buy new furniture and carpeting. To celebrate the new year!"

She would have to dip into the trust fund for that but it was for a worthy cause. Her apartment was her castle! She needed it to be the way she wanted.
Yuzuya blinked over his coffee cup. "Red? Red walls?" Somehow just the idea was discomforting to him. He squirmed. "Wow." They really were different people.

"And it is a sign of a problem," he returned, changing the subject. "The problem would be not having people around to go with." Abe-sensei, the old first-year science teacher, had been his dinner-on-the-way-home buddy last year, but he was gone now-- he'd gotten a sweet job at some marine biology-focused school in Okinawa. The lucky bastard. "So help me with that problem," requested Yuzuya with a crooked little smile. He got up to go get more coffee.
The redhead gave Yuzuya a thumbs up. "Okay, okay! You've pulled my arm. I am definitely up for dinner." She followed him over to the coffee maker and leaned up to whisper in his ear. "But when we're not at school, call me 'Ren', okay? <3 That's the only favor I ask in return!"
"H-huh?" Yuzuya jumped nervously, ticklishly at the sudden feminine whispering in his ear. The hot coffee in his cup splattered onto the floor. He tried to direct it away from Ren, but only too late. He only succeeded in wetting his indoor sneakers and causing the baseball coach (who was passing by) to jump back and shout with exasperation.

"Dammit, Shibata! Watch what you're doing for once!" The coach afforded him a withering glare.

Yuzuya bowed his head humbly. "Ah, I'm sorry, s-sorry, I-I-I didn't mean to. I'll be more careful," he stammered, and kept bowing his head until it felt sufficient. The baseball coach strutted away finally, grumbling. Yuzu stayed still, eyes on his now-coffee-stained feet. His face was hot. He worried who else had seen. Ren was now nowhere to be seen, where had she gone?

He closed his eyes and sighed at himself. He'd better get started spreading out newspapers to soak up the hot mess, he guessed.