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True Aspirations | Part 1

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It was a pleasant, yet short-lived sunny day, for dark, grey storm clouds were starting to appear in the blue sky. Therefore, the school bell had rung a bit earlier than usual, announcing the classes’ dismissal. A multitude of students excitedly left their colorful classrooms, and stepped out into the hallways, as some decided to stay inside and talk to their friends. Sitting at their desks were two young girls, around the same age. One was sitting behind the other, and played with her pink hair, which was styled in pigtails. She had wide, cerise-colored eyes which glistened in the night, and fair skin. The girl in front of her had feminine, amethyst eyes, and wavy violet hair. She turned around in her seat to face the other girl, and tapped her desk.

“I’m so glad class is over, I’ve been wanting to talk to you this whole time.”

“Man, really? I didn’t think I was that cool looking...!” The pink-haired girl egotistically piped, smiling widely.

“Yeah, you seem really nice! My name is Miette, but a lot of people just call me ‘Mimi.’” She kneeled in closer towards the girl, and asked, “What’s yours?”

“I’m Lisa, it’s nice to meet ya!”

“Nice to meet you too! So, what do you think of this school? It’s your first day here, isn’t it?”

“It was great! I actually moved in from Japan with my friend a little while ago, so I’ve never been to a school in America.”

Miette exclaimed, “Well, you’re in luck! Us 5th graders have a lot of cool stuff to do everyday, and our teachers are neat, too. But, for some reason, it isn’t the same for classes in secondary.”

“What do you mean? Is it bad, or something?” Lisa raised her eyebrow in confusion.

“I honestly have no idea, ‘cuz we’re still in elementary. I don’t know what it’s like over in the other building, but there have been all sorts of rumors being passed around.”

“Like what?”

“Someone from 7th grade told some friends of mine that a kid tried to light a firework in the boy’s bathroom. Isn’t that crazy?”

“Are you serious?” Lisa gasped. “That sounds so weird!”

“I know, right? And it gets worse, too. Apparently, a lot of fights break out, and if you’re not popular, you’ll get bullied. The middle school staff are a bit laid-back, and usually don’t even care about anything. And get this, there’s a ton of drama between the kids, and even clubs, too!”

“That sounds scary… I don’t think I wanna go to middle school anymore.” Lisa thought, Wait, no, I need to look on the bright side! She nervously laughed, “At least not everyone is bad, right?”

“Maybe. But I dunno, that’s just what I’ve heard. Maybe you’ll get lucky!”

“I hope so! I just wanna have fun and stuff. Do you think that I’d be popular?”

“Of course!” Miette tugged on Lisa’s sleeve, “You’re like the cutest girl in this class! I bet you’d be really popular with the boys.” She giggled, smiling softly.

“Nah, no way…” Lisa thought over what Miette said before, and blurted, bragging, “Or, yes way! I’ve got it! I just gotta keep being the cutest girl in class, so that way, I’ll survive middle school! How does that sound?”

“Perfect, a plan that won’t fail.” Miette reassured her. “I hope you end up having a great time here, I meant it. This school is awesome.”

“Thanks, Miette! Hey, what kind of stuff are you into?”

“Hmm, well, I’m in the Chemistry Club.”

Lisa’s eyes widened in surprise, “Really? You can be in a club at this grade?”

“Yup! At this school, if you have good grades, then you’ll be allowed to enter a club by the time you reach 5th grade. I got accepted into the club, but the room isn’t set up yet, since it’s their first year. In 4th grade, I just knew someone who said to me, ‘Hey, I’m gonna make a Chemistry Club next year, do you wanna join?’ And I said yes.”

“That’s neat! Man, I wonder which one I should join…” Lisa pensively looked up to the ceiling, lost in thought.

“There’s plenty of time to think! The year just started, after all! I’m sure that you’ll be able to find one soon.”

“Thanks!” She flattered, “Hey, maybe I’ll just join the Chemistry Club so I can see you after school.”

“Sounds good!” Miette looked up at the clock, and abruptly left her seat. “Anyway, I have to meet up with my art teacher right now. I’ll see you tomorrow, Lisa!”

“See you!”

Miette waved goodbye, scooted her chair in, and exited the classroom, leaving Lisa with nobody to speak with. Lisa figured that she should socialize with the other students, but she’d leave that for the next day.

“She seems really nice.” She spoke to herself. “I hope the rumors aren’t true… Wait a minute, after school?! I almost forgot, my mom is waiting outside!” She hastily got up from her chair, and ran out of the room, clumsily bumping into some of the desks on her way. “S-Sorry!” She grabbed her backpack from the cubby, and made her way into the hallway, only to be surrounded by multiple students gathering around, either going to certain classrooms, or heading outside to go home.

Accidentally running into a student, she gasped, “Gah, sorry! I didn’t mean to-“

“It’s fine, are you alright?” The student questioned.

Lisa internally squealed, Woah, he looks cute! She eventually snapped out of her trance and got up. N-No, wait, I’m getting sidetracked!

“Yeah, I’m good. I have to get to my mom, see ya!” Without any explanation, she ran outside, escaping the large crowd of people.

“Wait, I need to-“ The student sighed, “Oh well, I’ll talk to her later. This is gonna take forever anyway. I bet sis doesn’t even have a plan.” He walked to the front doors, and exited the building.

*****

In the middle of Springfield, Missouri, a peaceful place abundant with beautiful neighborhoods and sights, is where Springfield Academy has been built. It's a school that has existed for decades, and has always been filled with satisfied teachers, parents, and students. Until now.

Just like with any other school, you could walk around the school building aimlessly, yet still see students exchanging numbers, fighting with each other, and just them doing what kids do. But lately, it's been worse. It used to be quite the strict school, but ever since the staff (especially the principal) have started being more laid-back, chaos ensues every day. Just about anything is made a big deal. From what someone said the other day, to volunteering for just about anything. You'd have to look carefully to spot any mature or high-scoring students who weren't willing to get in a fight. For them, the only time they can get a break is during the weekend.

And so, it's currently September 2nd, and on a day like any other, the two siblings Ruby and Rudy, belonging to the Myers family, were playing video games together on a Sunday.
"That's the third time I've beaten you!" Ruby happily exclaimed, patting her brother on the back. She laid back onto the couch, laying the controller down.

"Oh well. I guess you've just always been a natural at this. I bet you could beat Dad one day." Rudy calmly stated with a smile on his face. "Nevermind that, I'm glad you're having fun. It's been getting really boring… Even on the weekends."

Ruby sprang up, "I know right? There's just nothing fun to do anymore! I wanna obey Mom, since she told us to not play for so long, but what else are we supposed to do? Just lie around?"

"There's no need to complain. We could just go and clean our rooms.” Rudy suggested. “Mama told us to do that earlier, anyway.”

"There’s nothing to clean, though… Oh, I got it! The last time we played in the yard, I left some stuff out there. That’s another thing we can do, right?"

"Yeah, it’ll help time go by a bit faster."

"Well, let’s go then!"

Ruby hopped off the couch and walked up to her gaming console to turn it off. Walking up the stairs, they both arrived at their rather spacious room, and started with cleaning their desks.

It didn't take too long to tidy up. After all, the Myers' household was quite neat. No, it wasn't just a regular household. They were the richest family in that area, and owned a very expensive house that was built for themselves. It looked like a mansion to the neighbors (since it was one), but to them, it was just a regular house. Ruby is quite proud of her family's wealth, but doesn’t brag about it too much. However, Rudy just belittles the fact, and prefers to not speak of it.

Once they finished cleaning their room, Ruby ran back down the stairs, as Rudy carefully followed behind her. They both made it to the yard, and started picking up a few toys. Ruby likes to practice her soccer-playing, and often brings some toys outside for their house guests to use, if they have a small kid. They took a shorter amount of time than expected, and went back inside, walking to their rooms.

Once they arrived, the two siblings laid down onto the floor, and had a few minutes of silence to break. Ruby looked up at the ceiling and repetitively tapped the floor, as Rudy noticed a book beside him and grabbed it. Flipping through the pages, he wasn't in the mood for it, so he neatly put it back to the side. Apparently, it's been boring for them the whole entire year, ever since Rudy graduated elementary school, that is. Ruby had just remembered about the suggestion she told him not too long ago, and wanted to see if he remembered, not just for the sake of small talk.

"Hey bro, how's it going with your friends at school? Any drama?" She asked, turning her head to face him.

Rudy replied, "Well, I haven't made any friends at all, but school is going fine, I guess."

Wait, what? Ruby paused. Didn't he have all sorts of people surrounding him the other day? Wasn't he popular? Was everything a lie?

"Funny joke," Ruby muttered, slightly chuckling. "But for real, that makes no sense! I thought everything was going well?!" She sat up, turning to face her brother.

"I mean, there are people who like to hang around me, but I doubt they'll try to get to know me." Rudy looked to the side, laughing it off. "It's fine, I told you to stop wo—“
Ruby quickly grabbed Rudy by the shoulders and shook them, interrupting him.

"But it isn't fine! Why haven't you made a club already? That's the best way you can make friends with people this time around!" Rudy seemed unaffected by the sudden action. Ruby then backed off of him and mouthed 'sorry' before continuing. "Of course I would be worried about you. You've seemed so lonely these past few years, and I wanna make sure middle school doesn't suck for you. I've seen it in movies! And you don't wanna be in those movies!"

"I bet I don't. I honestly didn't think you were this concerned for me. You shouldn't be in the first place." Rudy smiled faintly.

"Well of course I am! Aren't I your little sister? Please take my advice, bro... Go and make a club or something! You won't regret it!"

“What if I feel like that I will?”

“Then you’re just wrong!”

*****

And a day later, here we are now: September 3rd, on a Monday. No matter what Rudy tried to say, he ended up being convinced to make a club because of Ruby. Why was this a problem for him? Well, he hated attention. He usually tends to draw a lot of attention to himself for some reason, despite not even meaning to. He gets embarrassed by it very easily, so how would starting a club resolve this situation? It wouldn't, and that's his dilemma. As much as he wanted to make some friends, he also didn't want to embarrass himself at all costs.

The school day was mediocre. Any kid would agree, since everyone feels kinda off on a Monday. As per usual, he tried to not get any attention drawn to himself, but it's always bound to happen. Many have told him it's either because of his money or looks, but some say it's both.

Rudy quietly walked throughout the hallway to take a look at the club flyers that were on the pinboard, to get some ideas of his own. What would the club even be about, anyways? He was completely unaware of a mysterious girl that was watching him, standing by the corner of the hallway. She eventually left, and went inside a classroom.

Exiting the school building and making his way to the schoolyard, he noticed someone sitting on the bench outside, all by themselves. All he knew is that they were incredibly tall, and looked like a boy. They were wearing a dark blue oversized sweater that Rudy assumed went over their school uniform, and a black baseball cap. They were seemingly reading a book, and weren't paying attention to anything else. Out of both concern and curiosity, Rudy sat next to the student.

"Hey, what's your name?" He asked. The student wasn't paying attention, and kept reading the book. Rudy tried again, asking, “Hello? You there? Can you hear me?"
He tapped the student's shoulders, attempting to grab their attention. The student eventually looked up, and at last looked his way. They didn't respond, but their action was all Rudy needed to know that they were finally listening.

"My name is Rudy. What's yours?" No response. “You seem quite lonely over here. It’s none of my business, but… What’re you reading?" No response. "Can you at least say something? Anything?" They shook their head, and it thankfully wasn't out of irritability. At least that was something. Rudy sighed but smiled again, "Haha, that's fine. I wasn't much of a talker when I enrolled into this school either. Say, I don't think I've seen you before."

He nervously laughed. What else? What was he supposed to say next? He hasn't really spoken with someone other than his sister like this in awhile. Although, his nerves went away a bit quicker. This person was a bit different. Despite their little-to-none responses, they seemed like an approachable person. A very tall, approachable person.

"Nagisa.” The student spoke at last. "My name. It's Nagisa."

Rudy was happy to hear their reply. But he could've sworn he's heard that name being tossed around during school hours before. No, he definitely has. Everyone has.
The rumors. In Middle School, everyone would know that having rumors being passed around about you was a normal thing, but at this school, it's lately been getting to an extreme level. Due to this, all sorts of drama would break loose. It was drama that Rudy didn't wanna be a part of. Was this why Nagisa wasn't being very responsive? Perhaps. They don't seem like a bad person though.

"It's nice to meet you Nagisa. Do you wanna chat for a little bit?" Rudy asked. Nagisa nodded, and waited for him to continue. "So, Nagisa, isn't that a foreign name?"

Nagisa replied, "Yes."

"Where from?"

"Japan."

"Were you born in Japan?"

"Yes."

"That's neat. Puerto Rico was my birthplace. Same for my sister."

A few seconds of silence fell upon them once again. Rudy's inability to start up a conversation and Nagisa's short answers were not a good mix. They both observed the area around them, noticing all the numerous friend groups either speaking with each other or leaving school, and club members planning their activities for the day. About a minute later, Rudy suddenly got an idea.

"You know," He brought up, "Have you ever thought of creating or joining a club? My sister really wants me to make one. Would you even be interested?" He waited a few seconds for a response, only to not receive one. "...That's what I thought." He mumbled.

It’s obvious, he thought, Who’d join a club that’s made by me? I’m not even a good leader. Why am I doing this…?

"Maybe," They replied, "You’re a nice person. I’ll join.”

Their voice was quite monotone, so Rudy couldn't tell if they really meant it or not, especially because this whole entire time there wasn't a single expression on their face. But he still took it.

"That's great! I'm glad at least one person would be interested." Rudy sighed in relief. "I guess I really should go through with this idea."
Nagisa nodded in agreement, closing up their book.

If it's one thing Rudy had accomplished, it was that he finally made a proper new friend for the school year. He figured it might be difficult to understand each other, but eventually, everything would work out. This is the first time he's felt so comfortable speaking with someone other than his sister before, since most of the students at school bombard him with a bunch of questions, or are just noisy in general.

"So, do you have many friends? If that's the case, then you might be able to invite them." He asked out of curiosity.

"No. I have none."

They put a lot of emphasis on the word 'none,' which caused Rudy to feel worried. He knows how painful it is, and how difficult it must be for them. Sure, he was popular in class, but none of them were ever real friends. They'd never be willing to stand alongside him when he's feeling sad, and comfort him. Heck, they probably didn't even know his last name, or know that much about him.

"I see. We're both in a similar situation then. I want to make some friends as much as you do, I bet. But, we might be able to reach our goal through this club. What do you think?" Nagisa nodded happily in agreement, and put their book away. "So, I was thinking that we should start up by creating flyers, right? If so, then we should think of a few design ideas." Rudy immediately started brainstorming. Ruby always told him that he was the type to take initiative. "But I'm not that great at drawing or coming up with designs, so do you have any suggestions?"

Nagisa asked confusedly, "What’s it about?"

Of course... like every other club, we need some activities, right? Doing nothing can’t be one of them...Rudy brainstormed internally. There's already a Music Club, so scratch that…

What else was he into? He counted the number of hobbies he had in his head. Writing music, drawing (even if he wasn't good at it), playing video games, and watching TV. Sadly, it was either that most of these hobbies already had a club for them, or they weren't good enough for a club to be formed based on those ideas. Perhaps he should just ask Nagisa what they're into? It'd be another opportunity to get to know them more, after all.

"Hey, Nagisa, what are you into?” Rudy asked.

"Hmm," Nagisa replied, "Fishing."

A fishing club? Would that be possible? Plus, to his knowledge, there aren't that many people in school who enjoy fishing.

"Anything else?" He asked once more. No response. "That's alright." Rudy assured them, but before he could continue, he looked at his watch and noticed it was time to go home. He spoke, getting off the bench, "We'll figure something out sooner or later. But I gotta go home. Let's talk about this a bit more tomorrow, alright?"

Nagisa nodded and waved goodbye as he left. But, acting as obstacles in his path to get home, there were… Girls. Lot’s of them. It’s not like he’s against girls, or anything. He’s just tired of the majority of them surrounding him in the halls, or coming up to him after class every single day. That’s what happens when you’re popular. He tried to avoid the group, but once they noticed he was there, they immediately ran up to him like a pack of wolves. They all shouted at once, bombarding him with multiple questions.

“Hey, Rudy! Thanks for helping me with that quiz yesterday!”

“Are you interested in that talent show coming up? We can enter it together!”

“Are you going home already?”

“Why were you talking to that weirdo just now?”

“Are you gonna join the sports team?”

He slowly backed away, stuttering, “U-Uh, I gotta go home. I’m sorry.”

“Wait.” A green-haired girl walked up to him, and urged, “I need to tell you about my—“

“T-Tomorrow, alright? I’m sorry, I gotta go!” Rudy managed to get away from the group of girls, and hastily ran onto the sidewalk, finally getting some peace and quiet.

Rudy never thought he'd be able to find someone that easily, but he figured it would be difficult from then on. Other than that, he hoped that none of the students would make it hard for him. There have been a few people in the past who picked fights with him, which he wanted no part of. The last thing he wanted was any trouble. He used to be able to declare that easily, but now, he just can't. Lost in thought, he opened the front door, finally arriving at his home, but was abruptly greeted by his sister.

"Welcome back! So, how was it? Did you make some progress?” Ruby wondered, excitedly waiting for a reply. Rudy took a bit to process what was happening, but smiled.

"I already found someone. It's only one person, but-"

"You already have a member? That's perfect!" Ruby exclaimed, hugging her brother. "I knew this would be easy-peasy for you! That's just how cool you are."

"I doubt that..." Rudy muttered. "I barely even did anything. Plus, I know we're supposed to make some flyers, but I don't have any ideas."

"Well..." Ruby went on, slightly backing away from her brother to give him space. "Try looking up some cute designs on the internet! Using references for art usually helps, right? So looking for a design should be the same. I bet it’ll be, like, really effective!"

They both went inside the house and closed the front door behind them, as Rudy walked towards the staircase.

"You're right. I'll try to look at a few things tonight. Thanks sis."

He went into their room and sat at his desk. Ruby decided to stay downstairs and keep playing video games, so she hopped back onto the couch and turned on the gaming system.

If she doesn’t do her stuff, Mamá is gonna get upset… Rudy thought. Oh well, she’ll do it eventually.

He chuckled at the memory of him and Ruby playing games together when they were younger. Not having a care in the world, they'd usually make a huge mess, and he would have to fix everything. Afterwards, Ruby would always apologize and go to extreme lengths to make it up to him. That's how their home-life has always been. She's always been wanting to help him after all, so perhaps this club thing really was a good idea. It might just seem like a normal thing to anyone else, but Rudy hasn't socialized with other people that much, and prefers to focus on his studies, so it'd make sense that Ruby giving him the suggestion to create a club and make some friends is perfect.

It's common knowledge that other kids were going through a similar situation, especially during middle school. The moment you enter secondary, all of your friendships and long term relationships have already been established. Rudy would constantly be reminded about the situations and drama in elementary starting to become serious now.
For example, if two kids in 5th grade were pretending to be dating, then it's up to destiny if they end up being together after graduation or not. Plus, large friend groups (which usually consisted of 4-9 people) are already either forming clubs, or joining some together. After all, at this school, by the time you reach 5th grade, you might not be able to create a club, but you sure can join one.

He hasn't tried this hard for anything else before, other than practicing on his acoustic guitar. He spent almost the whole entire night thinking of design and topic ideas instead of studying, which is rare. All worries of not being able to get good grades suddenly disappeared for a while. He didn't know if forming a club could cause his grades to be lowered in the future, but right now, all he could focus on was getting this club gig to work.
The clock kept ticking.

12:00AM...

1:30AM...

2:47AM...

And then he finally slept, getting his rest. The last time he stayed up this late was during 5th grade. On a certain day, merely by coincidence, every single one of his subjects had a test, and he needed to study for them. He ended up getting A's on all of them, as usual. But just the idea of getting a C or lower on a test scared him to death.
Willing to risk his grade depletion for a club is a huge deal, and he knew just that. But if it meant that he could help other people for once, then he'd be glad to. Even so, preparing for the upcoming chaos was a must.