La fille avec la cheveux rouges (The red-haired girl)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Lerouge is a beautiful girl with a mysterious background. During summer vacation, she meets a group of teenagers who would become her schoolmates in the coming term. La fille avec la cheveux rouges is packed with several elements that readers will love. From the main character's comedic monologues, to Lerouge's mysterious past. It also questions the modern interpretation of "love" and how to make someone "love" you.

Submitted: May 02, 2014

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Submitted: May 02, 2014

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One hot summer day, my friends and I were gathered in our favorite diner. We were all called together by my best friend, Verte. Most of us arrived at the diner several minutes ahead of the agreed time. I arrived at the meeting place exactly on time. For sure, I thought I would be the last one to come, and would be the only one they were waiting for. However, I found out that the main star of the hour had not yet arrived. In fact, she didn’t arrive until an hour after my arrival. To our surprise, she did not come alone. She was clinging unto the arm of a girl about her height. The girl had long black hair that extended all the way to a few centimeters above her waist. Her forelocks covered half of her right eye, which upon closer inspection, had a color of shiny blue. Her lips were the reddest I have ever seen in any woman, and I am proud to say that I have met quite a lot. The redness of her lips was unlike other girls who look like clowns in an effort to make their lips red. It fit her so well that it seemed as if the redness was natural. Perhaps, it was. Her skin was snow white, yet she did not seem pale. It was as if this was the first time she had stepped out of her house. I told myself that she must have come from a noble family, or even royalty. However, her clothes betrayed my expectations. She wore very simple clothes, a plain-colored shirt with baggy jeans and sneakers. Nevertheless, despite the lack of emphasis, it was obvious that her proportions were of high grade. A voice from beside her brought me back to reality.

“Her name’s Lerouge.” That was the very brief introduction by Verte.

 

That’s it? No background information? No information on her likes, hobbies or her age? Not even if she already has a lover? A name’s not enough for a boy in the middle of puberty, woman!

 

“Er... Why don’t we start with the reason why you brought her here, Verte?” Undeux, the guy beside me, decided to speak up. I really wish he asked about her love life, though. Well, since he said he’s just “starting”, I suppose he’ll ask that later on.

 

“She’s joining our group.” My heart skipped a beat with Verte’s declaration. I cannot believe I’d be able to see this angel almost every day of summer starting today. Imagine all the things I can achieve if I can be together with her all the time. Although, that means all the ravenous wolves in our group would be, as well.

 

“This is the first time someone would be joining us ever since we all grouped together. Is there a good reason for this, Verte?”

How dare you oppose her joining, Undeux? And how dare you call yourself a man when you can’t even ask about her lover! There’s no need for a good reason, not even a bad reason, to let a gorgeous girl join. I shall personally quit this group and make a new one with her if you dare send her away.

 

“She’s actually going to attend the same school as ours in the coming term. I figured she’d need a few familiar faces to give her confidence.” Every time Verte speaks today, my heart skips a beat. No, it’s not because I’m in love with her and I have butterflies in my stomach every time I hear her voice. It’s just that her revelations keep giving me signs that I can become closer to this gorgeous angel and become her lover. However, if Verte is going to keep revealing these facts one by one, I’m afraid I might have arrhythmia.

 

“Please take care of me from now on” was Lerouge’s short greeting. Her voice was so sweet and soothing, it almost sent me back to dreamland. Although her greeting was only an expression, I was tempted to take it seriously and volunteer to personally take care of her. I was about to stand from my seat when all the other members of our group suddenly stood up faster than me and crowded around her. I can’t help but feel embarrassed at the scene they were making. They were literally standing in the middle of the diner crowding around a beautiful rich lady type of character. By the way, around eighty percent of our group were male, with only Verte and another girl being the only non-males, which makes the scene even more embarrassing. Although, I can’t deny that I’m jealous of the boys crowding around her.

 

We spent the rest of the day getting to know the new member of our group. Sadly, the introductions never drifted towards her love life. Given her appearances, she must have a lover, or two. It would be wonderful if I can be the third one. Nevertheless, I found out a lot of things about Lerouge, although useless. She was a conservative type of girl. She didn’t speak much, and it took a long time for her to warm up to us. Could it be she’s not used to company? If so, it makes making her fall head over heels for me a lot easier. I just have to simply make her notice me all the time. Like a baby chick that gets attached to the first living thing it sees, a girl who has never been around many men will get attached to the boy she gets to talk to a lot. She will then mistake this attachment for attraction, then lo and behold, she comes under my spell. The only problem is that the beasts in our group rely on their primary instincts, and will keep flocking around her, which makes things a little harder for me. Although, if they can manage to annoy her, then I can be the knight in shining armor that sweeps her off her feet and takes her away from the cannibals to save the day.

 

The sun was already setting when the group finally got tired and decided to call it a day. Our group slowly decreased in numbers as each of us went our separate ways to go home. We passed my turn a long time ago, but no one knew where I lived, so no one noticed. I decided to start my exposure plan as early as today and take Lerouge home as a pretense of an act of chivalry. The naive immature boys of our group were too shy to be aggressive on Lerouge, so I decided to take the chance to get her all to myself.

 

Soon, the numbers have decreased to three, Lerouge, Verte and I. For a strange reason, this number remained for several minutes. Despite Verte’s being my closest friend, I have no idea where she lived. We have never had sleepovers, slumber parties, pillow fights, or girl talks. When I needed to talk to her, we would either chat on the phone, or meet up at the diner. Of course, I’m not some kind of stalker who tries to find out other people’s home addresses from the numbers of their telephone. The other members of our group know where the others live. I do not know if they know where Verte lives, but as far as I know, no one knows where I live. Likewise, I do not know where the others live. It’s not that I don’t trust them. I just don’t want people barging into my sanctuary, where I am at my most vulnerable. Interestingly enough, no one had asked where I lived nor have I been stalked, I think. Perhaps they respect each other enough to not ask when not discussed. I have been pondering these things for half an hour now, yet the number still won’t decrease, and I’m losing my patience.

 

Why are you still here, woman? This was supposed to be a romantic walk of a man and a woman underneath the moonlight! Do you see anything romantic in a scene where a handsome man is sandwiched between two beautiful ladies? I, for one, do not. It makes me look like some narcissistic playboy.

 

“Have we not missed your turn, yet?” Verte asked me the very same question I had for her. I’m supposed to be the chivalrous knight in shining armor here. How did I suddenly turn into a malicious creep following them home? I am a gentleman, I tell you, a gentleman!

 

“Well, if you’re curious as to how her house looks like, then I can’t judge you. I’m very curious as well. The others are too shy to come, but you’re a man who knows no shame!” Verte’s high voltage smile after her exclamation made the insult at the end very inconspicuous. Nevertheless, it never crossed my mind to get curious as to how her house looks like. Her character seems like the rich lady type, so perhaps she lives in a mansion with several maids and butlers? Though, it raises the question why we’re walking.

 

“Thank you very much for seeing me home.” I could clearly feel that Lerouge was only saying it out of obligation. Many of the sentences I’ve heard her speak today were obligatory. They weren’t heartfelt. She was just taught manners to thank people all the time when they do something, to say sorry when you do something, and please when you want to do something. If I can just break this wall of hers, perhaps I can enter her life. However, I have no idea how thick this wall of hers is, so I must carefully chip and observe first before bulldozing it.

 

“She’s gone.” Despite being only a whisper, it was enough to drag me back to reality. When I focused my eyesight onto the real world, I noticed that Lerouge was, in fact, gone. I have been too lost in thought to notice that she was gone. However, by the tone of Verte’s whisper earlier, it seems she did not notice either.

 

How dare you let her get away, woman? You were both in the same dimensions. How can it be physically possible for you to miss her? I refuse to believe that she has some kind of supernatural powers! I refuse to make the connection of her snow white skin to her disappearance. She’s normal and she’s human. It must be ninja skills!

 

“She said she was only going to buy some refreshments, but when she did not return after several minutes, I got worried and decided to check up on her. The lady on the register of the store told me that she left a message stating that she already went on ahead.” Well, that was a surprisingly logical explanation. So, she really is normal and human. Nevertheless, I cannot believe that I have been duped by a woman. I only hope that being the only male to escort her home had an impact on her. I have no interest in taking Verte home, so I said my goodbyes and called it a day.

 

The next day, we assembled together, once again, to play. We went to several places and exhausted ourselves. We were playing every day of summer because before the start of summer vacation, our group filled out a piece of paper with the things we’d like to do in summer to make it fun. We are now spending every day of summer to accomplish the long to-do list. Of course, because Lerouge is now a member of our group, we had her make an entry to our list this morning. With every entry we did, I tried making a move on Lerouge. It wasn’t long before I realized that her walnut is hard to crack. She would always politely refuse my advances. If things would continue going at this rate, then it would be impossible for me to make a positive impact on her. I have to make her cry.

 

I only needed one night to come up with a plan. However, I needed the whole summer to execute it. On the last day of summer vacation, we assembled at our usual meeting place. Lerouge has warmed up to the group already, and was talking more frequently than before. However, her defensive shell was still far from being dented. Nevertheless, the fact that she warmed up to the group is enough to make my plan successful.

 

“We’re really sorry, Lerouge. We’d like to continue being friends with you, but you can’t stay with our group any longer. We all like you, but the majority of our group has voted to not accept you in our group.” Half of what Bleure said was a blatant lie. There was no consensus in kicking her out. They were all actually surprised when I declared that Lerouge should be kicked out. They did not question my reasons or motives, they all agreed and Bleure volunteered to break the news. She said it would be better if it came from a girl.

 

Lerouge could only nod meekly at the news. She smiled weakly, with tears welling up in her eyes, and scanned the faces of our group and paused when she saw me. I tried my best to make it obvious that I was behind everything. While everyone in our group were making sad and apologetic faces, I had a cold wry smile. She looked at me for a few seconds, then excused herself and went home. Judging from her reaction, it seems she figured who was controlling the strings. Of course, my plan doesn’t end there. If it did, then I’d just be scorned for the rest of her school life. The next phase of my plan does not even require my invisible hand. She would soon find out the hardships of beauty in this world.

 

The next day was the start of a new term. I could only laugh inside when I saw the scene by the school gates. It was a familiar scene. It was the same as when Lerouge was introduced to us at the diner. However, this time, the number of males flocking around Lerouge was multiplied by ten. She was a very conservative girl before the start of summer, so being surrounded by this amount of boys would definitely take a toll on her mental strength. She was also alone in the lair of carnivorous beasts, so her emotional strength would soon collapse.

 

All day long, the men followed Lerouge around like some sort of mafia group with Lerouge as their big daddy. Discomfort can be plainly seen in Lerouge’s eyes. She did not like the feeling of so many men flocking over her. She did not like the public at all. Verte had seen this coming from the start. That was why she introduced her into our group in the first place. I expect to hear Verte’s blames and complaints this evening. However, if everything goes according to plan, the evening would be much more exciting.

 

The sun was setting, and most students were already going home. However, Lerouge was still sitting inside one of the classrooms. I had Bleure tell her that the group wanted to talk to her about her reacceptance into our circle. Due to her traumatic experience during the day, Lerouge instantly agreed and is now patiently waiting for us in the classroom. Of course, the rest of the group had already gone home. I told them I would talk to her personally. I was standing in front of the classroom, together with Lerouge’s bodyguards. I talked to them to pass the time while waiting for nighttime to come.

 

Soon, dusk has fallen and only a few students remained in the school. The hallway we were in and the classroom Lerouge was in had gotten completely deserted. It was already dark since most of the lights have been turned off. All of these were fuel to the fire I have ignited during my talk with these animals. Soon, they were completely under the control of their primary instincts. Lerouge was completely shocked when each of them slowly entered the classroom, one by one. They surrounded Lerouge, who was showing anxiety and fright. With their numbers, and Lerouge’s size, it wasn’t hard for one of them to pin her down. Lerouge had figured out what was happening and she knows what’s coming next. She screamed at the top of her lungs to try calling for help. Tears were rapidly rolling down her cheeks. Her expression had a mixture of fear, shame and anger. All these emotions were shown in her tears and heard in her screams. However, these men are now animals relying on their instincts. They have lost all their sense of reason, and did not know the meaning of Lerouge’s tears and screams. One of them brought out a box cutter. The moment I saw that, I knew things have gone out of control. I no longer care about my plan. I have to save Lerouge. I rushed to the door and turned the doorknob, but it was locked. I knew there was a small chance that a group of men about to do a sin would leave the door unlocked, but I just had to try. I kicked the door as hard as I could. The wolves inside the room can only see the piece of meat in front of them, and cannot hear anything. Lerouge is drowning in her screams and tears, and has also lost her sense of hearing, so no one heard the thunderous knocks on the door. A minute after kicking the door, I finally gave up on that approach. It seems it’s not as easy as it seems in novels. I rushed to the fire exit as fast as I could. Each classroom were connected to the fire exit in case of emergencies when the doors cannot be opened from the inside. Soon, I reached the classroom where Lerouge was in. I peeked through the window and saw that the men were now half-naked and although Lerouge was still clothed, her clothes were cut and ripped by the box cutter earlier. It was lucky that the men were taking their time playing around, and have not gotten to the main course yet. I quickly removed my shirt and wrapped it around my fist. With all my strength, I punched the window. Since these windows were used for fire escape, there weren’t any bars. Nevertheless, despite that and the fact that my fist was wrapped in my shirt, punching the window still hurt a lot. Unfortunately, one punch was not enough to break the glass. Since there weren’t any bars, they had to reinforce the glasses to prevent robberies. The second punch hurt even more, but the window has started shattering, giving me the mental strength I needed. The third and final punch finally broke the glass. I could feel the shards impaling my knuckles, but the pain was nothing to what Lerouge was feeling right now. The sound and sight of the window breaking was enough to get the attention of the beasts. Perhaps, it was my killing intent. Nevertheless, they all froze where they were and stared at me.

 

Let her go, you damn bastards. How can you have the guts to defile such a pure woman with your filthy hands? All I wanted was for you to intimidate her, and you actually have the shamelessness to actually do it? Unforgivable. Wretches like you should die.

 

The one with the box cutter rushed towards me. Perhaps due to my killing intent, he was running clumsily. It was very easy to evade his thrust, and I counter with a punch to his guts. When I did, I fell to my knees and clutched my hand. Was he able to parry with his box cutter? I was sure I had evaded it. His return shouldn’t be that fast. If so, then why am I feeling a stabbing pain in my hand? I realized my mistake the moment I looked at my hand. It was covered in thick white cloth. The part where my knuckles should be was dyed in red. My punch earlier pushed the shards in my knuckles further in. When I looked at the guy I punched, his shirt was also stained in blood. I do not know if that was his or mine. However, despite my rage, I hoped I did not hit a vital organ. Since I was aiming at his solar plexus, the guy was knocked out. Perhaps I killed him. Only one thing is for sure. Right now, in my kneeling position, I am vulnerable. The others realized this too, and rushed towards me. I wished this was an action novel, so they would only come at me one by one. Then, perhaps, I may be able to counter. If they all come at me at once, I can do nothing. I felt someone kick me in the region between my forehead and my ear. It was enough to momentarily knock me out. The others were stomping me, others were kicking me. Since they were using their feet, I cannot stand up. I figured there was only one thing I can do in this situation. I hugged my injured hand, and then crouched my body as low as possible. I had to limit the number of things they can do to me. And so, the attacks slowly started turning to only stomps and no more kicks. Next, I closed my eyes, and felt the rhythm of their stomps. If I wanted to endure the pain, I would think of nothing to decrease the pain. However, if I want to counter, I have to feel every stomp I receive. After enduring so much pain, I felt the number of stomps per second decrease. The moment I felt that, I used my knees as spring to launch my body upwards at high speed. I inevitably butted several heads on my way up, and knocked several people back. When they saw me standing, they all knew they no longer had any chance. None of them wanted to end up like the guy who was still unconscious on the floor. All of them quickly scampered out of the room. I looked in the eyes of the crying Lerouge on the floor.

 

You are safe now, my angel. They won’t be coming back for you anymore, not as long as I’m here. Do not cry. Dry your tears. Show me the smile I have grown to like. Show me the smile I risked my life to protect.

 

I extended my uninjured hand towards Lerouge to help her up. After wiping the tears from her eyes, she reached for my hand. I pulled her up, and the momentum brought us to a clichéd hugging position. Perhaps, it wasn’t the momentum. Lerouge buried her face in my chest and cried her eyes out. I could only hug her as tight as I could to comfort her. We were locked in this position for an hour, maybe longer. I lost all my sense of time after standing there for so long. What I do know for sure is that I have finally cracked Lerouge’s shell of defense. When she finally got tired of crying, I knew it was time to go home. I decided to personally escort her home. However, since Lerouge’s clothes were ripped while my shirt was dyed with blood, we took the clothes of the unconscious guy first. I took his shirt while Lerouge wore his pants and jacket to cover her ripped clothes.

 

When we were going out of the school, we were met by Verte. I do not know what she was doing here. Perhaps she was planning to nag me tonight, but couldn’t get in contact with me, so she got worried and went back to school? But, it would be a too convenient coincidence for her to go to school just as we were leaving. Could it be she had been here since after school? If so, then she must have seen all those men rushing out of school. Then she must have known something bad happened inside. Why didn’t she rush in?

 

“I need to talk to you, alone.” The seriousness in her tone sent shivers down my spine. What is it she has to say to me alone? Is there anything she can’t say in front of Lerouge? I was reluctant to leave Lerouge alone after all the things she experienced today, but I can’t just leave my closest friend alone, either. I told Lerouge to go back inside the school and wait inside the lounge. When I was sure she was beyond earshot, I gestured Verte to speak.

 

“We can’t have Lerouge in our group.” She said it with a straight face, but I had a hard time believing my ears.

 

What are you talking about, woman? You were the one who introduced her to us in the first place! Now, you’re telling me to send her away? Did you not see how much she suffered when boys flocked around her because she was alone? Why are you saying things completely opposite of the things I thought you would nag me about?

 

“She doesn’t need us. I introduced her into the group because I thought she’d be alone in school. I thought she needed some company to be her friends. However, on her first day here, she had already made new friends. It’s better for you to forget her.” With that, I figured everything out. I realized why Verte is rejecting Lerouge now after everything that’s happened. It wasn’t that she was heartless. She was just confused. This reminded me that Verte was, in fact, a girl.

 

You are indeed fit to be my closest friend, Verte. We think alike. However, I cannot love a person whom I share my secrets with. I forgive the things you have done in your confusion. Who am I to judge you, when I attempted to do the same things you have done? Rest assured, my relationship with you would not decrease. Nevertheless, it shall not increase, either. For that, I am sorry.

 

I called for Lerouge, and we said our goodbyes to Verte. I, then, proceeded to escort Lerouge home. A little while after we departed the school, Lerouge asked permission to go to the toilet. I agreed and she went back to the restroom we passed by a little earlier. Being left alone, I started pondering on my experiences together with Lerouge. In the middle of my reminiscing, I remembered our first meeting and the similar situation I was in. It was when we were all going home and Lerouge suddenly disappeared without telling anyone. A cold sweat dropped from my forehead, and I rushed back to the school. I nearly tripped several times due to the speed I was going. Perhaps, I did trip but do not remember due to the adrenaline that blanked my thoughts. When I finally reached the school gates, I was shocked at the scene I saw. Verte laid there, bathing in her own blood. The box cutter I was so familiar with was stabbed in her heart. Beside her, stood a girl, about the same size as Verte. She had snow white skin, and her shining blue eyes were covered halfway by her forelocks. Her long black hair, which was dyed red a little by blood, was tied in a ponytail by a green ribbon. She was bathing in the moonlight. I fell in love with her.


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