Note:This is Elsa’s POV of the first chapter of One Year. For Tuesday’s prompt (First meeting). That bit about renaming San Fransokyo was from The Art of Big Hero 6.
“Areyou sure about this, Elsa? Surely you don’t have to go all the way to SanFransokyo to complete your studies—it’s an ocean and a continent away!Professor—“
She normally would not interrupt her father, but her mind was made up. She
couldn’t live like this anymore, this limbo of being so close to someone she
cared for so much, yet out of reach—literally. She couldn’t bring herself to
touch her sister Anna, fearful she might be hurt by her once more because of
needed to get away. While she had accepted long ago that there was no escape
from the storm inside of her, staying physically away would bring her a measure
of relief. She was so tired of carrying her burden.
when she learned that Robert Callaghan, one of the foremost minds in robotics,
was teaching at the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology, she jumped at the
chance to study under his tutelage. Not only will going at SFIT provide her the
escape she desperately needed, it was also her chance to further her interest
in programming and coding for robots. Elsa suspected that her interest stemmed
from her need for a semblance of control in some aspect of her life. At the
very least, it would help her prepare for her eventual role as the CEO of
Arentech when her father retires.
forcibly brought herself back to the present. “I’m sure of this,” she said, her
steady gaze meeting her father’s worried ones.
Arendahl sighed. “If that is what you want,” he capitulated.
month later, Elsa stared at the tiny figures her father, mother, and Anna
through the window of her family’s private jet. Anna looked stricken with
disbelief that she was leaving. “It’s what your sister wanted,” Agdar had tried
to placate his younger daughter over dinner, after Elsa had announced her
decision. But Anna, true to her stubborn nature, had refused to accept such a
thing, redoubling her efforts to make Elsa notice her by knocking at her door
and pleading to talk and clear the air between them.
had proven to be just as stubborn as Anna, keeping the door shut between them.
Papa,” Elsa whispered. “I never wanted this. But what else can I do?”
that she was alone in the jet’s cabin, she choked out a quiet sob as snowflakes
danced gently around her.
you are, Ms. Arendahl. Please fill out these forms to complete your
registration,” instructed Mrs. Jones, the matronly registrar, handing Elsa a
sheaf of papers. The tall, amply-bosomed woman had a head of curly white hair
that reminded Elsa of clouds and a beaky nose. “Be sure to have these submitted
by next week if you want to start by this coming semester,” Mrs. Jones
continued, peering at her through horn-rimmed glasses.
you,” Elsa replied politely, tucking the papers into her satchel. She made her
way downstairs and exited through the administration building’s double doors,
shielding her eyes from the bright San Fransokyo spring sun.
the decision to leave her home and everything she was familiar with was the
most difficult and scariest one she had ever made, she was beginning to see
that it was the right one. Her first night alone in a strange city left her
sleepless and anxiety-ridden that when she finally lost the battle out of sheer
exhaustion, she found herself waking up amid a large, wet patch on her bed that
suggested she had let loose a small snowstorm while unconscious. But over time,
as she got used to the city’s sights and sounds, her confidence and sense of
comfort grew. The business of living had left her no choice but to shunt those
initial feelings aside, creating a façade of normality.
faint male voices snapped her out of her musings, and she found herself walking
along a cobblestoned path lined with cherry trees in full bloom. A light breeze
blew by, dislocating some petals and carpeting the path with pink. A sense of
whimsy overcame Elsa—cherry blossoms were unusual in Arendelle, though not
unheard of. Before she left for San Fransokyo, she researched about her new,
temporary home and found out that it was originally named San Francisco. But after
an earthquake in 1906 practically ground the city to rubble, many of its
Japanese immigrants helped in reconstruction efforts that it was renamed San
cherry trees all over San Fransokyo were said to be from a hundred
fifty-year-old cherry tree from Japan, which Elsa found a little incongruous considering
that for the Japanese, cherry blossoms symbolized life’s transience.
jarred Elsa out of her whimsical mood. “Life’s transience, huh?” she muttered,
plucking an errant petal from the air as it passed her by. Once again, she was
reminded of the accident. That her carelessness almost snuffed out Anna’s life.
sighed and let the petal go, watching it flutter away. No matter where I go, what I did will always haunt me, won’t it?
she realized, gritting her teeth to keep the tears at bay. She blinked them off
when she heard the male voices coming closer, sensing one to be nearer to her
than the other.
started at the exclamation and whirled around to see a guy sprawled by her
feet, his papers (she assumed) strewn all around him. “Are you okay?” she blurted
out, concerned. She wasn’t sure because a black cap obscured his face, but it
seemed he was okay, if highly annoyed that he had stumbled and made a mess of his
papers. He pushed himself up to his knees and collected his things, muttering
something under his breath.
guessed he wasn’t saying something nice, even if she didn’t understand anything.
stepped back when he suddenly looked up at her. Brown, almond-shaped eyes
blinked at her in surprise and widened before they quickly over her face.
you okay?” she asked again, bending down and resting her hands on her knees to
get a closer look at the guy. She started to wonder if he really was, because
he looked rather gobsmacked. That was the correct term to describe the
slack-jawed expression on his face, right?
Yeah. I’m fine.” The guy shook his head briskly as if to clear it. Elsa saw a
flash of embarrassment cross his face, so she tried for a reassuring smile. “Here,
let me help you with that,” she offered, going down on her knees as well to
help gather his scattered papers and things. She adjusted her gloves which
attracted his attention, but thankfully he didn’t say anything.
surreptitiously studied him out of the corner of her eye as she helped him.
Underneath the cap he had black hair, an aquiline nose, and a strong jaw. He
was cute, she supposed. Japanese-American, perhaps, considering that San
Fransokyo had a sizable Japanese population.
he stuttered when she handed him his notes.
no trouble,” she replied, nodding and rising to her feet. “Do you have
everything?” She was a little taken aback when he rose to his full height—a
little over six feet, she guessed. Same as her father.
bobbed his head in a jerky nod and grinned down at her. Though his grin was
wide, there seemed to be an undercurrent of tension about him. Was she making
him nervous? Why?
anything, did I?
he asserted, his voice a touch too loud, probably to mask his apprehension. He
stuffed his notes in his satchel and brushed off his jeans, presumably for her
benefit. “See? I’m good.” He grinned again.
a moment the two of them stared at each other, unsure of what to say. Elsa
resisted the urge to fiddle with her gloves—the fact that she wore a pair was
unusual enough, and the last thing she needed was to call attention to it.
guy cleared his throat. “Anyway, uh. Thanks. You know, for helping me and
stuff.” He rubbed the back of his neck, cluing her in that she really did make
him uncomfortable, sinking her spirits a bit more. But as always, she didn’t
let her face betray her feelings. Elsa nodded to acknowledge his thanks.
You’re welcome.” She gave him another slight smile, intending to walk away.
Tadashi. Tadashi Hamada. And you are?”
stopped and glanced back up at him. Why was he asking for her name? She made
him uncomfortable, didn’t she? Did he have some kind of agenda? And besides,
she was here to study, not make friends. This guy—Tadashi—he—
Arendahl,” she found herself saying.
it was his earnest brown eyes. Or his crooked smile when he introduced himself—it
was cute the way one corner of his mouth was higher than the other when he did.
It was genuine and friendly, which had probably disarmed her enough to
introduce herself too.
nodded. “Nice to meet you, Elsa.”
liked the sound of his voice—a warm, slightly raspy baritone. She tried to keep
her expression neutral, but she guessed that the slight frown she was feeling
between her eyebrows was probably making her look standoffish. Just as well,
because she wasn’t in SFIT to make friends. “Take care, Tadashi,” she said,
spinning on her heel to walk away.
sighed and shook her head. No surprise there over how awkward she had been with
him—after all, she did spend years trying to keep away from people. Normally
she would have shrugged it off, but this time it bugged her like a pebble in
sound of running footsteps alerted her, and she had barely turned her head when
Tadashi sped past her. A jolt of awareness shot through her when his brown eyes
zeroed in on hers. “Hi and bye, Elsa!” he tossed over his shoulder, waving.
was the last time someone had been that happy to see her? She couldn’t
remember, and Tadashi’s happiness over seeing her had unhinged her jaw slightly
with disbelief. He had only just met her—there was no way…
berated herself mentally. Shaking her head again to clear it of such thoughts, Elsa
decided to head home and fill out the forms the registrar gave her.
Probably check out
what’s on Netflix, too.
You’re here in San
Fransokyo to study, not make friends. You’d best remember that.
Tagging the usual suspects makingtodayaperfectday, blunaowl, copper-anise, geometrynerd, et al.