By: Brynn Parker
"I'll call you when I get to the airport, OK?" I said, hugging my mom as a voice over the intercom called out another announcement for boarding my plane.
She nodded and Sota hugged me. He was fourteen now, and it really shocked me how much he had grown...I guess I'd just been in the Feudal Era while he did all his growing up. "Bye," he said.
Gramps gave me some good luck charms and I gave him a fake smile for the old, dried up frog and my new rabbit's foot before I turned away from them and walked onto the plane. I looked back a couple of times, wishing Inuyasha would be there with him. Of course, they wouldn't have let him into the airport...I laughed a little and then remembered the last thing he'd said to me, drowning any happiness I had.
I resolutely forced the thoughts from my mind as I sat down on the plane. "He's so selfish anyway," I muttered, trying to beat out the seriousness of the situation. It didn't help much.
"Excuse me," a male voice said next to me. I turned, and I suddenly realized that there was a very attractive guy sitting next to me. He had blonde hair, brown eyes, and a really nice smile... 'Nice, Kagome,' I scolded myself. It had taken me a whole hour to even talk to the person in the seat next to me, and here I was analyzing him as he was staring right at me.
"Yeah?" I asked in English. I wasn't that good at the language, but I didn't know if the guy knew Japanese.
He smiled sheepishly, "Sorry, I just saw how pretty you are and I had to ask your name."
I smiled, blushing, "Kagome Higurashi," I answered. 'Inuyasha would never have said something like that,' I thought.
"I'm Steve Kaye," he stuck out his hand, grinning, "Nice to meet you Kagome Higurashi..." I shook his hand and he shrugged, "So where are you headed?"
"Texas," I said.
"Aw, me too!" he said, "Where, exactly?"
"University of Texas at Austin," I said.
"I'm headed to Austin!" he said, "I'm from there..." he grinned at me again, "Maybe we could come see my band play sometime...where are you from?"
"I'm from Japan," I said.
"It's different in America," he said, sounding a little scornful, "Be ready to meet some pretty stupid, fatheaded people."
"I plan on going back to Japan after I've graduated," I answered. I guess that I'd made up my mind about going back to Japan...maybe I could be with Inuyasha after all.
Oh, great; Inuyasha. Here I was flirting with this guy when I was still in love with Inuyasha.
"Oh..." Steve said, "Well, would you like me to show you around the city when we get there?"
"Sure!" I said, smiling, "That would be great!"
"Hey, mom?" I said when somebody picked up the phone at my house. I was on my cell phone and I was standing with Steve at baggage claim.
"Is that you Kagome?" my mom asked.
I smiled, "Yeah, it's me..." I paused, looking over at Steve. I couldn't really tell if he was listening or not (and I was speaking Japanese), so I continued with my original plan, "Has Inuyasha come by?" My mom was silent, and I sighed, "I guess not..." I said, "Oh well...I'm here, I've made it, I'm going on a tour of the city with some guy I met on the plane..."
"Are you sure that's safe?" she asked me.
"Mom..." I smiled at Steve and then walked away so he couldn't hear me, "I've spent almost four years fighting demons in the Feudal Era, and I've always got some pepper spray handy, you know that. I'll be fine."
"OK," my mom said, "I love you."
"Love you too," I answered, "Bye."
I was really going to miss Japan. I was surrounded by people from here, and they all looked so...American. Most of them were overweight, and they all wore a wide array of different clothing, varying in price, color...everything. Talk about the Great American Melting Pot. Steve, wearing a black bandana, a black tanktop, a blue jean jacket, and a pair of baggy pants, fit right in because everybody looked different. This really was different.
I grabbed my stuff from baggage claim and Steve and I started our walk towards the car rental place. I had plenty of money, because I'd planned for this, and Steve had nothing. He said he could always walk or take a taxi, but I told him that if he was going to show me around, we had to be in the same car. I also told him that if he tried anything, I was a blackbelt, which wasn't true, but was close enough.
On the plane, I'd found out that Steve had grown up in Austin and was a musician, that he was not a blackbelt or any other kind of fighter, and that he was in Japan studying music. I'd told him almost nothing; I mean, I didn't really have much a life outside of the Feudal Era.
"So..." Steve said, putting down his guitar as we stood in line, "Who's Inuyasha?"
"You know Japanese?" I asked, blushing.
"I was in Japan for a year," he explained, "I had to learn the language."
"Oh," I said, "Alright...uh...Inuyasha..."
His eyes widened when he saw my discomfort, "Look, you don't have to tell me if you don't want to."
I shook my head. "No, it's alright," I said, trying to think of how to explain without mentioning the Feudal Era. "Inuyasha was a really good friend, and we always had feelings for each other. He told me he loved me right before I left, so I asked him to come with me...and he told me he wouldn't, because he had to stay behind with an ex-girlfriend of his that's...uh...in a coma, and he had promised her he'd be there when she woke up...and...uh..."
"It's OK, I get it," Steve said, "God, this Inuyasha guy sounds like a freak. To turn down being with a pretty girl like you...he must be crazy."
I smiled weakly, blushing again, "Thanks." My good mood was shattered; talking about Inuyasha just seemed to do that to me.
It was already late, so we just drove around a little and then went to eat at this little cafe on campus. I gave Steve my cell phone number and he used the phone to call one of his friends that he was going to stay with. We agreed that he could call me when he was all settled in. I dropped him off at his friend's house and then drove to the dorms, finding my name on the long list of new students and going up to my dorm.
I opened the door and a girl with light brown skin and short, dark blue hair looked up at me. The hair color kind of shocked me...people here really were interesting.
"Are you Kagome?" she asked me, her icy blue eyes sparkling. Her appearance was almost too coordinated. She was also wearing a light blue tube top and dark blue jeans with some sparkly silver high heels. I suddenly felt very simple in my pink t-shirt and jeans.
"Yeah," I answered, "And you are...?"
"Tiva Pride," she said, smiling brightly and sticking out her hand, "I'm your roommate!"
She'd already put up posters of bands all over her side of the room. I looked at them closely, seeing that all of the band members looked kind of grungy and depressed. I was surprised to see a poster with Steve on it, holding his guitar and grinning., standing out from the rest of the pictures. "Hey, I know him!" I said, pointing.
Tiva stared at me, "Oh my God, are you serious?" she asked, "I've never met him, but I sure do love his music..." she smiled slyly at me, vaguely reminding of me of Miroku when he was groping some woman. That kind of freaked me out, but it also made me like this girl. No matter how perverted Miroku was, it was still familiar to see a smile like his. Tiva winked at me, "He's cute, isn't he? What's he like?"
"Oh, I don't really know, I just met him on the plane today...he's nice, I guess. And yes, he is cute," I yawned, suddenly realizing that I'd been up for a very long time, "Aw...I'm really tired."
"If you met him on a plane, you must be from Japan," Tiva said, her eyes wide, "Wow, that must have been a long flight."
"It was," I said, yawning again, "I slept on the flight over though..."
"Do you want me to help you get some more boxes...do you have any?" Tiva asked quickly.
"Uh, sure," I said, "I haven't got that much stuff though, I wasn't allowed to take much with me."
"Oh, I've only got all this because I'm from here," Tiva answered, "These are all local musicians...but Steve Kay? Wow. He's really popular, you know. I heard he was a hit in Japan."
Maybe I had heard of him, I don't know. I'd been in the Feudal Era for a lot of that time. "Oh, I don't really know much about music, so I wouldn't know if he was."
"You poor, deprived girl," Tiva said dramatically, "We will cure you."
We brought in all of my boxes and began to unpack them. I was going through a box of clothes when Tiva tapped me on the shoulder, smiling. I looked in her hands and saw that she was holding a framed picture of Inuyasha and I that I'd had Sango take right after we'd completed the jewel, me holding it up triumphantly and Inuyasha, who had been in a good mood, wrapping his arms around me. "Who's that?" Tiva asked, giving me that Miroku smile again.
"A friend," I answered, smiling sadly. Inuyasha had been so happy when that picture had been taken...I'd told him I would stay...
"Why's he wearing that weird outfit?" Tiva asked.
"I used to live at a shrine," I answered immediately. I'd used this excuse before, with my friends from school.
"He's cute," she stated, looking closely at the picture, "Ya'll weren't...you know..."
"He didn't tell me he loved me until a few days before I left..." I answered, "But he didn't love me enough to come with me."
Tiva frowned, "That's sad," she said. I didn't tell her any more. I just didn't feel like opening up to her like I had to Steve. Sure, she was nice, but I didn't feel that comfortable with her yet.
"Well, I'm going to bed," I said when we finished unpacking. I'd only had three or four small boxes, one of them packed to the brim with pictures from the Feudal Era, which were all crammed on to my bedside table now. We'd gone through them all, and Tiva had repeatedly pointed out how cute Inuyasha was and how nice Miroku and Sango looked together. I couldn't really find a way to explain Shippo, but she didn't ask. It was nice not having people pry into your life.
I fell asleep thinking of Inuyasha. 'I wish you were with me...' I thought as I drifted off.
The last thing I saw was an image of he and Kikyo together floating through my consciousness.