Episode 02 - I can't go back! - is the second episode/chapter of Loveairaharune's first fan series, Pretty Rhythm: Melodic Dream.
Amane has finally achieved her dream - She is now an official Prism Star at Pretty Top! But what will she tell her mom?
Those were the most precious words Amane had ever heard.
As she travelled home on the train, she repeated them to herself over and over again.
I'm in, I'm in, I'm in!
Her heart leapt with happiness at the thought. She smiled, and opened her palm to reveal the sparkling Prism Stones in them. The costume which she had remade, the outfit which helped her shine. And that Prism Jump...
And before she knew it, she was home. Which meant that she would have to hide her Prism Stones. Amane sighed, and walked through the door. As she glanced at the clock, she saw that it was already 6:02 pm.
Well, now that I know the way, it won't take so long next time, thought Amane.
"Hey," said Akio from the living room. It was clear that he was gaming - the shooting and loud ringing sounds coming from his laptop didn't suggest anything else. Amane honestly couldn't see what was so good about those games, but her brother seemed to live off them.
"Hi!" said Amane. "Guess what?"
"Uh, what? You went and bought Prism Stone stuff?" asked Akio.
"Nope," said Amane, grinning as she remembered what had happened. "I got into Pretty Top!"
"What's that?' asked Akio, his eyes still trained on the laptop screen.
Amane sighed. "It's a Prism Star school, the one Prizmmy goes to," she said, getting more and more excited as she reached the last word. "I did a Prism Jump."
"What? Wow," said Akio, finally looking up. "What's it called? Aurora Rising Fruit Basket?"
Amane sighed, but found herself laughing along too. She knew her brother was happy for her really.
The sound of the door made the two siblings jump, and scurry back to their rooms quick as lightning, shoving their phones and laptops in a corner.
"Ugh," mumbled Amane.
"I know," muttered Akio.
Then they both turned around and put on a smile.
"Hi mom!" said Akio cheerfully.
"Hi," echoed Amane.
"Hello," answered their mom, seeming more cheerful than usual. Amane's mood picked up a bit. At least her mom wasn't mad at her for now. "How was your day?" she asked.
"Good," answered Akio.
"It was okay," said Amane, as usual. Not mentioning the bit where me and Asuka sat out isolated from all the girls, not the bit when I told her about the Prizmmy show next Friday, not the bit when I sneaked off...
"How were the people in your class like?" asked their mom.
"Yeah, they were nice. I made a couple of friends today. Turns out they like gaming too," said Akio.
"I don't know, I don't know them well enough to say," answered Amane. That, but I already know they don't like me.
"Who did you hang out with at lunch?" The questions continued on, and on, and on, and Amane tried her best to make decent responses, skipping out as much detail as possible.
"Did you talk to Naomi and Reiko?" her mom asked her.
Amane bit her lip. In truth, she hadn't said a word to her childhood family friends. They seemed happy enough hanging out with the girls in their class. She didn't want to join, or seem like a tag-along, so she kept out of their way. They barely took notice of her anyway...
But her mom didn't need to know that.... right? She knew her mom would get mad if she knew the truth.
"Um." went Amane, trying to come up with a good response which wasn't a lie. "I didn't see them much, they were in another class."
"But you must have seen them at lunch," said her mom, narrowing her eyes a little.
Amane felt her heart beat faster. "I couldn't find them," she said. More like, they just didn't see me. "That school is so big, it's hard to find people sometimes since I don't know the place very well."
"Well, say hello to them when you see them, okay?" asked her mom. It was more like a command really.
"Yes, mom," said Amane, relieved that it had worked.
The next day going to school
"Bye!" called Amane to her mom as she hurried out of the door with her brother, who ran forward to catch up with his friends.
If only I had that many friends, thought Amane wistfully.
"Ohayo!" called a voice behind her.
"Uh, oh, ohayo, Miyako!" stammered Amane. Miyako was the only girl who lived near them, so the two walked to school together in the morning.
"Where were you yesterday?" asked Miyako, sounding slightly exasperated. "I waited outside the school, but couldn't find you!"
"Umm..." mumbled Amane. She definitely wasn't telling Miyako about going to Pretty Top! "I left my jacket in the classroom, and went back to get it. After I finally found it, everybody was gone... Sorry..."
"It's okay," said Miyako. "Well, let's exchange phone numbers, so you can tell me next time!"
"Sure!" said Amane, and scribbled her number on a small scrap of paper. She smiled. At least, friendly, cheerful Miyako didn't mind talking to her.
"Hi Asuka!" called Amane.
"Hi," said Asuka.
Should I tell her? Should I tell?! I want to... but I also don't want to!
The two girls sat on in silence, but it wasn't unusual. Neither of them were very talkative, they were both quiet ones who sat in the corner. Amane found that besides what happened yesterday, there was no more Prism Show news to tell Asuka. And she didn't feel like telling Asuka just yet...
Why don't I wanna tell her? thought Amane. I know I should. But I don't want her to be jealous, or...
Amane felt ashamed for thinking the next thought. I don't want her to come along. I want to be the only one who goes...
But why? she asked herself. That's so selfish!
Just as she was thinking that, she felt her phone buzz. She picked it up, and saw a new message.
Amane's heart skipped. She had exchanged phone numbers with Aira, Mion, and even Wataru the previous day after her Prism Show, but had never expected to hear from them so soon.
Hi Amane-chan! ✿◕ ‿ ◕✿ Mion-chan was asking if you could come to Pretty Top again today, so you could have your first Prism Show lessons and get your Prism Stone Trunk and all that stuff ✿ Maybe you could try coming after school?
~Aira ✿◕ ‿ ◕✿
"Aira-san," thought Amane happily. You actually messaged me! She couldn't believe that she was just... texting her heroine now!
As Amane began to type, "Of course I'll come ◡‿◡✿ Aira-san" a thought which she had tried to push away came back to her.
Her mom would be home when she finished school today. Which meant no sneaking off to Pretty Top on trains. And Amane knew that her mom wouldn't let her go today. Not on a school day. Not by herself. She would have to wait till the weekend for her mom to take her, at the earliest. But most likely her mom would say, "No, it's during school time, you should focus on school. We can go during the holidays..."
But the term break was a whole 2 months away. Amane couldn't afford to wait...
Dammit, what should I do? She thought.
Suddenly, a plan formed in her mind. She couldn't help smiling at it. It'd be perfect, if only, if only Aira or Mion would agree on it...
Hi, Aira-san! she typed, I'm not sure if I can come... ◕︵◕... but...
Wait, Amane told herself. She had only met Aira yesterday... and yet she was treating her like her best friend and equal. Obviously Aira wouldn't want to be best friends with me, thought Amane. Almost no one wants to be friends with me.
And asking a favour of Aira seemed a little outrageous... didn't it?
Amane knew the divide between them - Aira was a top class, 19 year old Prism Queen, fashion designer, and she, Amane, was just a 13 year old girl. She couldn't believe that she was asking Aira to do a thing like this...
-but I need to talk to you about something. Can I call you back at 1:10 pm today? ❀ Amane :(
And Amane slipped her phone into her bag. She would worry about that later.
Right now I'll just worry about facing those girls again, thought Amane with a heavy heart.
"Hey, uh, Asuka, I'm going to the toilet. Just wait a sec," said Amane as soon as class was over.
"Okay," answered Asuka absentmindedly as Amane dashed down a hallway where she knew she could do a phone call in peace.
Amane scrolled for her messages, and there it was!
Alright ◠‿◠ I really hope you can make it there, you were really good yesterday. You've really got an aura ☆
P.S You don't have to call me Aira-san anymore, we're friends now! Just "Aira" is okay ◕‿◕｡
"Aira," she mumbled. It felt so unnatural on her lips.
"Guess I'll continue calling her Aira-san," thought Amane with a smile. Aira's message had cheered her up immensely. And now she had confidence to carry out her plan...
"Uh... H-Hello, Aira-san?" asked Amane.
Amane's heart leapt at the familiar voice at her ear. "Aira-san, I need to talk to you about something..."
"You see, yesterday I wasn't supposed to go Pretty Top... I sneaked out..." And from there, she told Aira all about her move to Japan, about how her mom was like about her going out. The words just leaked naturally out of her mouth, she had never talked so much about this to anyone before.
"Oh, is that so?" answered Aira as soon as Amane had finished.
Amane only then realized how much she had babbled. "Ah- I'm sorry Aira-san! Sorry I talked about all those stupid things..." she trailed off with embarrassment.
"No, no, its perfectly alright," Aira replied cheerfully. "My dad also didn't let me go to Prism Shows at first, you know?"
"I-It's true?" exclaimed Amane with surprise. "I've heard that as a rumor before, but I wasn't sure what to believe..."
"It's true," replied Aira. "I pretended I was studying with Rizumu." Aira couldn't help smiling fondly at the memories from long ago.
"S-so what did you do?" asked Amane desperately.
"My dad found out in the end," replied Aira. "He was angry at first, but after seeing me perform, he just accepted it. Turns out he was just scared for me," she said with a laugh.
"Yeah, it is! He even supports me now," answered Aira. Then, after a pause, "But what do you think you're gonna do about it?"
"Well... Aira-san... I actually have a plan," explained Amane. "But I... um... could you help me out a bit?" Amane flushed with embarrassment at the last words. She almost never asked for help because she dealt with most things on her own.
"Sure!" Aira even sounded... excited about it? Excited to help me? thought Amane.
"Well, I was thinking... couldn't you wait outside my house at 3:25 pm today?" Amane gave her address, then said, "And... could I come into the house with you? I could say I found you and made friends with you, my mom already knows who you are..."
"She watches Prism Shows too?" asked Aira in surprise.
"No, of course not!" answered Amane. Her mom and Prism Shows just didn't go together, and she began to laugh. "Just that I loved them so much that she learnt a bit about it too."
"So," Amane continued, "After we tell my mom that, I ask if I can go with you to Pretty Top, with her coming along if she has to, and if that works, I can just go into the rink and skate a little then you could just tell her that I'm accepted into Pretty Top... I don't have to tell any lies that way!"
"Sounds like a great plan!" said Aira happily from the other side. "But are you sure she'll let us go?"
"Umm..." mumbled Amane. "I'm not sure."
"I think it's still worth a try though," said Aira. "Maybe she'll let you go if you finish all your homework at school?"
"Great!" Amane's mood was finally picking up. "I'll go do some now!"
"Okay, see you later then! I'll come," called Aira.
"Oh... yeah, and Aira-san?" asked Amane.
"What is it?"
"Why are you doing all this stuff for me? Why do you care?"
From the other side, Aira could sense something. I wonder what's happened to Amane in the past, thought Aira. She's nice! Why does she think people don't care about her?
"Because I'm your friend," said Aira as cheerfully as possible. "Friends care about each other, right? And you're a nice person, I'm sure you'll make a lot of friends through Prism Shows!"
Friends... thought Amane. A... nice person? Me?
"Hi Amane!" called Miyako from the school gates.
"Hey," answered Amane. She didn't want to leave Miyako there, or she would miss an easy friendship opportunity.
"How was today?" asked Miyako.
"Boring," replied Amane with a grin. "You?"
"Today was fun," replied Miyako. "We were doing this fun game thing, where you're given a list, with stuff like 'Somebody who likes football' written on it, and you have to find somebody in your class who likes football. I already know everybody's names now!"
"Eh-you find that fun?!" Amane remembered that it was torture for her. She didn't have the courage to talk to anybody, so she only had Asuka's name down.
"Bet it sucks for you," said Miyako, grinning at her friend. She already knew a bit about Amane's shy personality from the gossip going round her class.
Their small talk continued as they reached Miyako's house. Phew, thought Amane. I can finally meet Aira soon!
"Bye Amane," called Miyako. "See ya tomorrow!"
"See you!" called Amane, and she burst into a sprint as soon as Miyako was out of sight.
Amane wasn't disappointed. She saw the familiar figure standing by the wall, with her phone in her hand.
"Aira-san!" called Amane. She almost couldn't believe that Aira would bother to come such a long way.
"Hi, Amane-chan," said Aira, looking excited. "So this is your house?" she asked, pointing up to the high building.
"Yeah," answered Amane. "Just a boring old apartment. I would really want a house!" she said wistfully.
The two girls headed up, and knocked on the door nervously.
"Hi mom!" said Amane, smiling as sweetly as she could, sounding as bright as possible. "Um, this is Aira. Harune Aira the Prism Star." Aira stepped out. "Hajimemashite!" she went.
"Oh- Pleased to meet you, Aira! Why did you come here?" asked Amane's mom with unusual sweetness.
"Eh- I just decided to walk by this part of Yokohama today, and I said hello to Amane as she passed. We started talking from there," explained Aira.
"Well, sit down," said Amane's mom sweetly as she pulled out a chair.
"T-Thank you..." stammered Aira awkwardly. The sweet voice sounded a little weird to her.
"I'm sorry my daughter had to drag you here," said Mrs. Miyamoto, giving Amane a look. "You know, she's always..." Her mom launched into the talk about her daughter as usual.
"It's alright," said Aira smiling. "I was wondering, could I take Amane to the Prism Stone shop and the Pretty Top school? I know she's a fan of Prism Shows too."
Amane's mom gave Amane another glare. "Sorry, but Amane needs to do her homework-"
"I've got it all done at school," replied Amane, feeling relieved. "Here!" She took out the two essays she had written during lunchtime.
Amane's mom looked suspicious for a moment, glancing from Aira to Amane.
"Mom, you could come along too," said Amane, hiding the reluctance in her voice. She definitely didn't want her mom coming along, but if her mom knew the way there, maybe she would be more willing to let her go in the future.
"Alright," said her mom finally. "I'll be coming with you two." (Amane exchanged a look with Aira) "We've gotta be back by six."
"Thanks mom!" yelled Amane happily. She knew she had to show an extremely grateful smile for this.
"Wow, this is a long way," remarked Amane's mom as they rode the third train.
"Well, it's actually pretty easy now we have Google Maps," said Amane.
"Okay, we're there!" said Aira. The three of them got off the train and as they stepped out of the station, Amane felt the thrill of excitement. She remembered the way, but had to take care not to show any signs of recognition, in case her mom would find out everything.
"The shop's this way," said Aira, winking at Amane, who smiled back as Aira led them to the shop.
"Um," said Amane's mom. "I'll be going into the other shops now, but make sure you guys are back here at 5:45." Yes! thought Amane. At least her mom held no interest in Prism Stone.
As they got there, Amane knew she didn't have to pretend she didn't know the place. She truly had never been inside Prism Stone before, and today was a less crowded day, so she got a view of the whole spectacular place, seas of multicoloured clothing and accessories.
"Whoa..." mumbled Amane.
"Wait what?" Aira had already hurried into the shop, scurrying around and picking every T-shirt out.
"Oh! This is soooo cute! These pants would look so good with those shoes... Ohhhh! That skirt is so pretty, it would match that shirt and necklace so well... UWAAAAA!!!!!!!" Aira's voice could be heard all over the shop.
"Hey, Amane, why don't you try this on?" asked Aira excitedly, handing a blouse and skirt over to her.
"Sure!" Amane was more than happy to be able to do this finally, when she'd dreamt of it all her life.
After shoving on dozens of dresses, Amane saw a figure walking across the shop. The wavy purple hair said it all.
"Mia-san!" called Amane, feeling more and more excited. Meeting a Prizmmy member in real life was another one of her fantasy dreams.
"HI, THE GIRL WHO PULLED OFF A PRISM JUMP YESTERDAY!" yelled Mia. "I CHALLENGE YOU TO A SHOWDOWN!"
"E-Eh..." Amane didn't really know what to say.
"Hey, Mia, she's new..." said Aira, finally recovering from her clothes-craze.
"HOW ABOUT I CHALLENGE THE BOTH OF YOU TO A SHOWDOWN?!" yelled Mia.
"Ehhhh?!" went the two un-competitive ones.
"Ah, sorry, but Amane needs to go have her first voice and dance lessons now," said Aira.
"Well, I'll beat you next time then! MIA GA ICHIBAN!!!!" yelled Mia as she sped away.
"As expected of Mia-san," said Amane, smiling nervously.
"H-Hey, Mia!" "Mia-san, where are you going?" More voices were heard.
Amane and Aira peeked outside to look.
"G-Gomenasai, Aira-san!" went a girl with two curly pigtails. Amane recognized her as... Reina?!
"R-Reina-san!" exclaimed Amane with surprise.
"She's the newest official Prism Star at Pretty Top," explained Aira.
"She is?" Reina looked down at Amane with interest. "I think I might be coaching you someday then!" she said, smiling.
Reina-san will be coaching me?! Thought Amane. This was better than she had expected!
"Reina-san! Hurry up, we've got to go now!" called another girl with a curly brown ponytail.
"Reina-san and Mia-san ran away today.... memo memo desu..." went a quieter voice.
"Eh?! Karin-san? Ayami-san?" exclaimed Amane.
"Who are you?" asked Karin to Amane, but she didn't sound intimidating.
"Um... let me see..." mumbled Ayami, flicking through her notebook. "She's the newest Prism Star of Pretty Top, who pulled off a Prism Jump at the trials yesterday. Miyamoto Amane."
"Whoa! That's galactical-amazing!" said Karin.
"A-Arigatou..." said Amane, trying hard not to blush. Ayami gave her a shy smile, as if to say, I know how you feel! Amane smiled back gratefully.
"Karin-san, Reina-san, I think we have to go now. The lesson has started!" said Ayami urgently.
"YOU GIRLS ARE SO SLOW!" called a voice from above.
"So that's where Mia went..." said Reina.
"MIA GA ICHIBAN! I'M THE FIRST TO THE LESSON!" yelled Mia.
Reina sighed. "Guess we'd better get going."
"Bye-bye, Aira-san, bye-bye, Amane-chan!" called Karin. Ayami and Reina both gave them a wave and disappeared from view behind the staircase.
"Whoa... Prizmmy..." mumbled Amane as soon as they left.
"They always seem to be late for something," said Aira with a laugh.
"Dang it!" muttered Amane.
"Eh? What is it?" asked Aira.
"My mom's calling," she mumbled crossly as she picked up her phone.
"Hi mom!" said Amane on the phone with a tone of false cheerfulness.
"We need to go now, come back over to the Prism Stone shop," went her mom.
"Ehhh?! Already?!" asked Amane, and instantly regretted it. "Ohh, okay, I'll be there!" she gabbled quickly, and ended the call.
"Ughhhh..." mumbled Amane. "Aira-san, I have to leave already, thanks to my mom..."
"What?! But it was barely half an hour!" said Aira.
"I know, my mom's always like this. Probably she just wants to make me go home and do some more homework..." mumbled Amane.
"Ohhh..." said Aira awkwardly.
"Okay, Amane, we're going now," went Amane's mom as soon as she saw them. She gave Aira a look which said "Okay leave us alone now."
"Ummm..." mumbled Amane. She still hadn't told her mom about getting into Pretty Top. If she missed the chance...
"W-Wait a second..." mumbled Amane nervously. She gave Aira a desperate look.
"Um, Mrs Miyamoto?" asked Aira hesitantly.
"Hm?" went Amane's mom impatiently. She just wanted to leave.
"Well, so Amane-chan tried skating at the rinks at Pretty Top... and we found that she has potential-"
"Why did you just go skating like that?!? Couldn't you have asked?!? Huh?!?!" Amane's mom was half yelling now, and gave Aira a fierce glare.
"We're going." And she dragged Amane off without giving her a chance to say goodbye.
Aira stood there, staring after Amane, and feeling pity for her. Is this what she has to deal with every day? thought Aira.
"Mom," began Amane. "I really love Prism Shows, and I-"
"And you're gonna be wasting time. You should be focusing on your studies, not wandering around with weird girls!"
Amane felt the anger inside her. How dare her mom talk about her friends like that?!? Calm down, calm down, she told herself. If you get angry, you break the unspoken rule. And you'll never get what you want.
"Um, mom?" said Amane, trying to steady her voice. "I just need to do this. It's my passion. I-"
"You're going to be singing and dancing? I can't imagine you ever doing that. You're such a scaredy cat, all you ever do is hide and run away. And you're too clumsy to ever be graceful, forget it," went her mom coldly.
Calm, calm, calm, thought Amane as she felt her eyes sting at the words. Don't show anything. And you should be used to this. You've dealt with this stuff enough before.
"Mom," began Amane again, "I don't mind singing and dancing and skating. I love Prism Shows." Amane took a deep breath and said, "They accepted me in. Into their Prism Show school."
"So you've been doing all this stuff behind my back? So once I turn my back, you go do your secret stuff, right?" asked her mom angrily.
"No! It's not secret!" started Amane, and with horror she realized she'd lost control for a second. "Mom, please, just let me perform! I'll let you see! And I promise I'll get all my homework done and my grades won't fall! I promise!" said Amane passionately.
"Fine. We'll go to your stupid show. And after you fail, we come home straight away and you'll never come back," said her mom.
The words stung, but Amane felt a rush of happiness... she was allowed to do it! And I won't fail, thought Amane. No matter how much you want me to.
"Aira-san!" called Amane happily. "I can. I can do it."
"Ehhh?!??! Really?!?!" gasped Aira excitedly.
"Yeahhhh!!!" And Amane lowered her voice for a second, "She was mean about it though. She wants me to fail." Amane turned to smile at her friend. "But I won't."
"You won't," said Aira happily.
Amane's mom was impatiently checking her watch, waiting for the show to be done with.
"Excuse me," she said to a girl nearby. "How long is the show? When is it going to start?"
"If you have no passion, then don't come here!!!!!!" the girl half yelled. She turned around.
"M-Mia!!" gasped Reina. "Um, we're very sorry! The show starts in two minutes, and it doesn't usually last more than..."
"5 minutes," said Ayami softly.
"I promise you, it's going to be galactical-amazing!" said Karin.
These people are weird, thought Amane's mom.
"And now we have our newest Prism Star, Miyamoto Amane, to pull off a great show for us!" announced Ono Meiji, the new MC.
Amane smiled and waved, trying to pretend her mom wasn't there. Aira gave her another encouraging smile, and Amane shyly smiled back.
"Rainbow coloured light in the dark sky,
Drives out every and any sadness," sang Amane. "My prism wings have come!!" Amane felt herself glow up radiantly. I'm gonna show her, thought Amane. I won't fail I won't fail I won't fail!!!!
Her mom stared at her. Is this... really my shy daughter? The girl who said she hated dancing? she thought.
Amane laughed, and skated across the stage, twirling up into the air.
"My, we have another Fly High Jump from Amane-chan," said Mion softly. "Her dancing was really improved from last time, she's obviously been practicing."
"Yes," said Aira. "She really has potential... Maybe..."
"No. Not yet," said Mion, cutting her off.
"Sparkling Fairy Paradise!!!!!" shouted Amane, glowing with radiance.
"W-Whoa..." mumbled her mom. "She's... glowing..."
And Amane landed back on the stage gracefully.
"T-Thank You everyone!" said Amane. "THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!"
The crowd cheered. Amane saw her mom, and took a deep breath. Do it, do it...
Doing the cutest smile she could manage, Amane stretched her legs out sideways, bending a knee, and bent over to the left a little. She stuck out her right hand, and waved.
"KAWAII!!!!!!!!!" went a voice in the crowd.
"Whoa... that girl's awesome!" said a girl with straight dark purple hair.
"That was cool," said the girl next to her, who had reddish brown hair tied up into a side ponytail.
"Maybe... maybe we can do it too! Come on, let's try!" said her purple haired friend. "Come on, Sayuri-chan! Let's go there and apply for it too!"
"What the heck, Yumeko-chan?!" gasped Sayuri. But she happily followed her friend out.
"So, mom, how was I?" asked Amane triumphantly.
"You were... good," admitted her mom. " I was surprised to see you do all that though, I never thought you would try to do silly poses like..."
Amane sighed softly. "But mom, so can I go to Pretty Top??" The moment of truth is now, she thought.
There was a long silence.
"If you dare let your grades slip, forget any homework, miss out on any school events..." began her mom, "I'll drag you out, and you'll never come back again."
"T-Thanks mom!" said Amane, feeling shocked, but happy. Happy happy happy.
"Here," said Mion, walking up towards them. "Here's your Prism Stone trunk, Music Heart, and Prism memory pass. I'm guessing you already know what they are?" she said, handing the items to Amane.
"Y-Yes..." said Amane. "I did research," she said proudly, holding out her items, and feeling happier than ever.
"Come every day after school, and practice for an hour at least, if possible," said Mion. "If that's okay with you?" she said, looking at Amane's mom.
"O-Okay..." said her mom finally. "But remember, you can't neglect homework, grades..."
"Oh no," mumbled Amane. "Here it goes!"
And after a second, all three of them started to laugh.