Title: Akai Ito
Characters: Sho Sakurai, Ninomiya Kazunari, Aiba Masaki, Ohno Satoshi, OCs
Pairings: Sho/OC, Nino/OC
A/N: Really meant to post this for Christmas or New Year, but my brother's laptop was so much fail. Oh well, enough of the excuses. Here's another chapter! Comments are &hearts . (Originally posted: September 30, 2009)
Previous Chapters: One // Two // Three // Four // Five // Six // Seven // Eight
He wasn’t supposed to leave for Tokyo so soon. Had things gone according to plan, he would still have a month left to spend in his hometown. That is, until he and his father had another fight. Shimizu-san had advised him to talk with his father again, but they were both too stubborn. That day, he quit his part-time job and packed his things. He left early the next morning without saying goodbye to anyone. Not even to her.
“What do you mean you’re already here?” his cousin, Yu, exclaimed over the phone.
Sho was supposed to stay with Yu who was studying in a university in Tokyo. He still didn’t have any plans to pursue higher education. Not yet. He planned to work first since he didn’t want to depend on his father anymore, especially now.
“Had a fight with my old man,” he muttered as he leaned on one side of the phone booth. “I’m on my way there now.”
“As if I have any choice.” Sho heard a woman’s voice in the background. There was a pause before Yu spoke again. “I’ve been busy so I haven’t cleaned your room. You could probably do it instead when you get here.”
“As if I have any choice,” Sho echoed with a smirk on his lips. “I’ll see you later.”
He spent almost half of that day cleaning his room and unpacking his things. There were only cup noodles for dinner and he had to eat alone, but he thought it wasn’t so bad. Things only started to turn sour when he started to look for a job. For a whole week he tried, but failed to get accepted. He was tired, penniless, and it felt as though his pride and hopes were crushed.
“Thinking of quitting now?”
Sho looked up and saw Yu who was holding two cans of beer. His cousin tossed one of the cans to him, which he caught with ease.
“Quitting? Of course not.”
Sho muttered his thanks and took a long drink from the can. Yu just sat quietly nearby, as if waiting for him to speak. After a while, he eventually did.
“I can’t do that because I have nowhere else to go.” He set down the empty can of beer on a table and sighed.
Yu chuckled and said something that Sho wasn’t able to hear clearly. He was only able to catch the phrase “like her.” His cousin sat beside him and slapped his back.
“Then do your best tomorrow.” He finished his beer and smiled. “But you ought to talk to Ojisan one of these days.”
“Not that one again,” Sho said with a frown.
The next day, he woke up early. Yu left before he did because of his morning class. Despite the encouragement from his cousin, he still felt down.
If only she was here....
He stopped on his way to the door and shook his head. For the past week, he had been quite busy and focused on other matters that it was surprising how that thought suddenly crossed his mind. He wondered how she was doing.
“Definitely better off without me,” he said under his breath as he locked the door.
He was about to go on his way when he saw someone emerge from the neighboring apartment. It was a woman around his age. A part of him wondered if it was her voice that he heard when he called Yu the previous week. He was surprised when she suddenly turned to him and smiled.
Her cheerful greeting somehow lifted his spirits. Her smile and her colorful clothing also seemed to make him feel better.
Just like her....
“O-ohayou gozaimasu,” he tried to greet back out of politeness. He still wasn’t used to reacting to these kinds of encounters that he couldn’t really get himself to smile back.
“You must be Yu’s cousin,” she said. “Sakurai-kun, right?”
He nodded in reply as he noticed a hand-painted rainbow on her bag.
“Hajimemashite. Murasaki Hanako desu. I go to a nearby art school,” she said in introduction. “Just call me Hana.”
Sho could only blink and stare at her when she said her name.
“It’s... it’s nice to meet you,” he managed to say after a while.
She chuckled as she watched his reaction. She thought he was probably still getting used to a new place.
“Well, I have to get going. I’ll see you around, Sakurai-kun.”
She smiled and waved goodbye to him. This time, Sho couldn’t help smiling back. It seemed as if she was emanating this infectious aura of happiness and positivity.
As he closed his eyes and imagined the rainbow painted on her bag, he thought that maybe... just maybe this day would turn out better.
Hanako will always remember the tightness and warmth of the embrace of her parents after she and Sho returned. Her parents, Sho’s father and even Shoichi were already waiting outside when they came. As soon as her parents saw her, they ran and enveloped her in a tight embrace. She really wasn’t expecting her father to be there so she was truly overwhelmed.
After a blur of different emotions, it all ended with her parents inviting the Sakurai’s for dinner. In return for the invitation, Shoichi decided to give the picture he was drawing to Hanako’s parents. It was the couple’s first time to see him personally and they instantly liked the child.
“This is a very beautiful drawing of the sea, Shoichi-kun,” Hanako’s mother said as she looked admirably at the child’s work during dinner. She then turned to Sho’s father. “Was Sho-kun also good at drawing?”
Sho’s father shook his head and laughed. This made Hanako look at Sho. She was surprised to see him blushing in embarrassment.
“It’s his mother who’s very good at it. She studied in an art school,” he answered uncomfortably.
“Nevertheless, he looks a lot like you,” Hanako’s mother said with as smile as she put the drawing aside.
Hanako’s father silently looked at the child from the end of the table and furrowed his brows when he noticed something.
“But from this angle, he also looks a bit like that nephew of yours who visited you years ago,” he told Sho’s father.
Sho suddenly choked on what he was eating. He was able to get his composure back immediately and apologized. Hanako noticed how he gradually became more uncomfortable.
“We hear that a lot from people,” Sho’s father said with a thoughtful look.
Hanako wasn’t sure why the topic of the conversation was suddenly changed after that. It was as if it included something that shouldn’t have been mentioned during the time of the meal.
“Hanako-neechan, who’s this?” Shoichi asked as he looked at one of Keiji’s pictured in the living room after they had dinner.
In the picture, her younger brother had a very bright smile on his face. She remembered that it was during the time when their father brought them to the beach. Keiji liked the sea a lot. For a while, Hanako wondered what kind of person he could have been, had he been alive.
“My younger brother,” she said as she crouched down to his level and placed an arm around his shoulders. “But he’s no longer with us.”
Shoichi just quietly looked at the picture. After a while, he faced Hanako and smiled.
“But I’m here with you,” he said seriously. “I’ve lost my Mama, but you are always with me. So in place of your brother, I’ll also be with you.”
She playfully ruffled the child’s hair and chuckled to lighten the atmosphere.
“Arigatou ne, Shoichi-kun.”
She turned to the other side of the room and saw Sho looking more uncomfortable amongst the older people. Hanako tapped the boy’s shoulder and pointed to his father.
“Look, your Papa looks funny,” she whispered.
Shoichi suppressed a giggle and continued to watch Sho who seemed to have noticed later on that he was being watched. When he saw the expression on Hanako and Shoichi’s faces, he excused himself and went over to them.
“You guys are horrible to just watch me suffer,” he muttered with a frown on his lips.
“But you’re finally free from them now, aren’t you?” Hanako said failing to suppress her laughter.
“Not quite,” he replied when he saw his father motion for him to come back. “It’s about business,” he added quickly before leaving them.
“Your Papa’s working hard, ne?” Hanako told Shoichi as soon as Sho was out of earshot.
Shoichi looked at his father disapprovingly before turning back to Hanako with a frown.
Hanako gave up on trying to sleep after an hour of staring at the ceiling. She left the bed and decided to open one of the windows. As soon as she did, the smell of cigarette smoke wafted towards her.
In the semi-darkness, she saw him smoking by one of the windows of the neighboring house. He looked like a kid who was caught with his hand inside the cookie jar. That was when she remembered the time when he seemed to really have quit smoking.
“Can’t sleep?” he asked as he pushed down the cigarette into the ashtray. After she shook her head in reply, he glanced at the now extinguished cigarette and laughed nervously. “I should have quit, but sometimes I just can’t help it.”
“I don’t really mind,” she said. She couldn’t believe that he still remembered that promise he made to her years ago. After a pause, she looked at him with concern. “Is there something bothering you?”
“It’s nothing,” he said with a dismissive wave of his hand though he really felt like taking another stick and smoking again. He just crossed his arms in front of his chest and leaned on the side of the window.
Hanako really wanted to prod more, but in the end, decided against it. She noticed that only a lamp was lit up in the room where Sho was.
“Is Shoichi already asleep?” she asked.
He nodded and looked to his left where there was another window.
“He’s with Otousan in the other room.” He looked at her again and smirked. “Not used to your room anymore, are you?”
She closed her eyes as a gentle breeze blew into her room.
“Does that mean we’re on the same boat?” she asked back with a teasing smile.
“Shut up,” he replied with a chuckle. After a moment, an idea seemed to have struck him. “Want to... would you like to take a walk outside?”
Hanako wasn’t sure why she even chose to sneak out as if she wasn’t allowed to go out that late at night. Her heart was still throbbing as she kept down her laughter and closed the gate behind her around ten minutes after Sho’s invitation.
“I haven’t tried doing that... sneaking out of the house at night,” she said rather breathlessly as they walked down the street.
“I can’t count how many times I’ve done it,” he confessed, on the other hand. “Exciting, isn’t it?”
She placed her hands inside the pockets of her jacket and breathed in the crisp night air. Now that she had settled this part of her life, she felt so... free. She was no longer burdened by those problems.
“It’s really quiet here at night,” she said in a whisper as she felt speaking in a normal tone would ruin the peaceful atmosphere. “Unlike in Tokyo.”
“Funny how she said that too before,” he said with an unreadable expression as they passed by the restaurant that Natsumi’s family own.
“Oh... I’m-I’m sorry.”
“Why are you apologizing?”
“For what I said... and the trouble I caused you earlier,” she said with her head down. “You were supposed to visit her grave and your mother’s earlier, right?”
“There’s nothing wrong with what you said. Besides, there’s still tomorrow.”
There was silence between them as they walked along the street. Soon, they neared the park. Sho led the way towards one of the benches where he sat. Hanako wordlessly followed and sat on the other end of the bench.
“I don’t know why, but sometimes, I feel bad and feel like I’m stealing him from his mother,” she suddenly blurted out after a moment. “We’re making all these memories together as those of hers continued to fade.”
“What are you talking about?” Sho said as he leaned back on the bench. “I’m very thankful that there’s someone like you who cares a lot for Shoichi. I’m sure she would feel the same.”
There was silence again as she lifted her feet onto the bench and crossed her legs.
“Sho-san... what kind of person was she?”
“Very cheerful and creative. But she’s a slave driver and she could be stubborn at times.” He looked up to the clear night sky and sighed. “I never thought we’d end up together.”
“Why?” she asked again.
Sho was hesitant to answer, but he thought it wouldn’t hurt if he said it already.
“She liked someone else. It was the same for me,” he answered as he glanced to her direction.
He smiled openly and patted her shoulder, while she could only look back in surprise.
“Y-you’re welcome. Senpai,” she managed to say.
It seemed like he walked slower as they neared their houses. Hanako looked at him in concern and reached up to touch his forehead.
“You have a fever.”
“Come on. You need to get changed quickly.”
Without hesitating, she took his arm and pulled him to his house. But when they were in front of hers, he stopped and then shook his arm off her grasp.
“I can manage,” he said. He patted her head and then walked past her. “That’s why I’ve always liked you. Thanks again.” He smiled back to her before opening the gate and disappearing into his house.
Hanako just stood there in surprise. She thought he said that because of his high fever.
“Are you alright?”
Hanako almost fell from the bench when Sho suddenly spoke and placed his hand on her shoulder. She was thankful that it was dark because she felt her cheeks warm up as she recalled that memory.
“U-um, I guess I’m getting sleepy,” she said as she quickly stood up. “Let’s go.”
Sho didn’t say anything and just followed her. On the contrary, she thought she might not get any sleep tonight.
What the hell am I doing here?
Nino fought another urge to throw up as the fishing boat they were on sailed further into the sea. He thought it all started when he decided to call Natsumi and try to make things up with her. She was really angry, but after a suggestion from her genius of a cousin and his new-found friend, she decided to give him a chance. The next day, he found himself on a fishing boat with Natsumi, her parents, Masaki, Daichi, and Satoshi.
“Ne, Nino-kun, try to enjoy,” Masaki said with a wide grin as he approached Nino who was just standing in a corner. “Don’t tell me you’re no good at this.”
“It’s just... why is everyone here?” he hissed, channeling his frustrations on another reason instead.
“Because I promised to take everyone,” Satoshi answered with a calm smile on his face as he passed by the two men. Nino felt as if their neighbor transformed into another person the moment they stepped on the boat. “I think this is a good place, Shimizu-san.”
Natsumi’s father enjoyed fishing like Satoshi. It’s just unfortunate that Nino gets seasick. But as much as he wanted not to come, he had no other choice. She still hasn’t talked to him properly after what happened the previous day. He wished he had just come to have tea with them so he wouldn’t have to endure this hell. Of course, it was something he wouldn’t loudly admit to anyone.
“Have you gone fishing before, Nino-kun?” Shimizu-san asked as he handed Nino a fishing rod.
Nino tried to smile as he shook his head in reply. He thought Natsumi’s father was really nice. The older man started to teach him what to do, which he picked up easily. His parents were divorced when he was young so he wasn’t able to spend much time with his father. He really wasn’t used to the feeling, but he thought it was nice interacting with her father. Again, it was something he wouldn’t loudly admit.
“You’re very much unlike Natsumi-chan,” he found himself saying as he tried to distract himself from the queasy feeling in his stomach.
Before he could take back what he had said, the older man laughed and glanced towards the direction where his wife and daughter were.
“She’s more like her mother, and they always go together against me,” he said with a calm smile as he stared at the horizon.
“Should we help out each other then?” he joked as the smirk returned to his lips.
Natsumi turned to their direction at that moment. When she saw the smirk and her father laughing, she thought there was something going on. She started walking towards them just as Daichi and Masaki started to get excited over Satoshi’s first catch.
“What are you telling him?” Natsumi narrowed her eyes at Nino as she took the place beside him.
He licked his pale lips and smirked.
“Just offering some help,” he tried to say in his usual way as he felt another urge to throw up.
“Otousan, don’t listen to anything he says,” she said to her father.
“Is that something you tell your father about your boyfriend? How very nice.”
“Well, I know you’re plotting something.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Sometimes you sound like us,” Shimizu-san suddenly butted in.
“We don’t!” they said in chorus.
They looked at each other and were about to laugh when Nino suddenly felt something tugging at his line. After a bit of a struggle due to the surprise, he started to reel in the fish.
“You caught a good one,” Shimizu-san said as he helped Nino with the fish. “Should we take a picture?”
Nino just bit his lip and closed his eyes, which everyone didn’t notice after he got the biggest catch that day. Just when everyone was starting to get into the position for a picture with him and the fish, he ran to the edge of the boat and threw up.
Nino opened his eyes and sighed as he felt the rise and fall of the boat in the sea. He was carried into a small room in the boat where he could lie down after what happened earlier. It was annoying but all of those people had seen one of his weaknesses. He closed his eyes again as he felt someone came in and approach him. Since he already knew it was Natsumi, he just stayed as he was.
“Don’t pretend to be sleeping,” she said in annoyance as she sat on a nearby chair.
He didn’t open his eyes but he smirked. He wouldn’t admit it openly, but having her in the same room at that moment definitely made him feel better.
“Not even a ‘Thank you for coming today’?” he asked as he cracked an eye open.
“Why should I? Baka!” She frowned and looked away. “You should have told me sooner that you’re no good with boats.”
Nino sighed and rolled down his eyes.
“Then you’d be telling me to come up with a better excuse and end up hating me more, right?”
Natsumi thought he had a point, but she didn’t say anything.
“But I had some fun somehow. So it’s okay.” He just found himself smiling as he felt the movement of the boat again because of the waves.
“Stop acting so cool after what—”
“It’s the truth,” he said cutting her off. “I really hate that those guys know a way to blackmail me now. Still, I don’t have regrets.”
When she didn’t say anything, he closed his eyes again. In his mind, he started to count slowly from one to ten. He smirked when she started to speak again as soon as he had reached ten.
“I... I really appreciate what you’ve done today... but don’t make me worry so much anymore!”
He felt like she had moved her chair closer to him.
“Hai. Sumimasen.” He opened his eyes and found her looking down on him. Without thinking, he started to speak again. “You don’t have plans for next Saturday, do you?”
She thought for a while then shook her head.
“Jaa... shall we go on a date?” he asked as he sat up on the small bed. “Well, not exactly just the two of us. My stupid friend asked for a favor... if we could go on a double date with them. I thought it was troublesome but—”
“It’s a date then.”
She came closer and leaned her forehead on his.
“I said... it’s a date.”
Hanako felt slightly dizzy as she suddenly spun her head to look toward the front of the car where Sho was. After what had happened the previous night, it seemed as if she couldn’t get herself to act and talk normally when he’s around. She only talked to Shoichi in the car. When the boy fell asleep, she also pretended to be sleeping. After a while though, she got tired of it that she simply busied herself by looking out of the window.
Through the rearview mirror, she saw his eyes shift from her back to the road.
“Gomen nasai. We’re already going back to Tokyo, but there seems to be something that’s still bothering you.”
She looked down to her lap as she felt her cheeks grow warmer.
“I’m... I’m just tired, Sho-san. Don’t worry,” she managed to reply.
She had been thinking of going back to Tokyo alone, but she thought it would be troublesome once they start to ask questions. She also didn’t want it to become an issue. Besides, the girl might not be her, and Sho probably said that a long time ago as a joke.
When they reached the apartment building, she just quickly thanked Sho and said goodbye to them. She thought that once she was back inside her apartment, she could finally have some peace. That was something wrong for her to assume though.
“What is everyone doing here?” she asked in surprise when she saw her flat mates and neighbors all lounging in the living room though it’s already a little late.
Natsumi’s parents seemed to have left already to go back to their hometown. Masaki and Daichi were talking animatedly about their fishing trip. Nino was teaching Satoshi how to play a certain video game. Natsumi, on the other hand, looked at them admiringly as if they were doing something really good.
“We went fishing earlier and then they decided to hang out here,” Natsumi said with a smile. “Would you like to eat anything?”
Hanako was just about to answer when her cellphone suddenly rang. She went to her room and took the call there.
“It’s me. Are you back in Tokyo?”
She should have felt better hearing Toshi’s voice. But after what happened the last time they talked, she wasn’t sure what to do now. It seemed like after settling her issues with her parents, she has more to deal with.
“Yeah, I just got back,” she managed to reply. “So... what’s up?”
“You may be tired, but I need to talk to you tonight,” he said. “My car’s in front of your apartment building.”
She hurriedly ran to the window and saw that indeed, Toshi was waiting outside. He waved when he looked up and saw her.
“I’ll be right there,” she said before hanging up.
She just grabbed her coat and purse before running out of the apartment again and leaving everyone there with puzzled looks. When she got out of the building, she saw that Toshi was inside his car already. He smiled and motioned for her to hop in.
“Where are we going?” she asked when she got inside the car.
“Somewhere quiet,” he simply said as he drove away from the apartment building.
Neither of them spoke after that. Hanako busied herself by fiddling with her purse as Toshi tried to concentrate on driving. She only looked up when the car stopped in front of a park.
He quickly got off the car while she hesitantly followed him. She felt as if what he was going to say was really important. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have to bring her there just to talk.
“So... what is it about?” she finally asked after a few minutes of walking together in silence.
“Well, I got a phone call last night,” he started. “I was offered a better job in Osaka. I... I thought you should go with me.”
Hanako stopped in her tracks and looked at him to be sure that she heard right. He nodded in reply as he faced her and held her hands.
“It’s an offer I couldn’t turn down. I think it would be great if we could go together,” he said rather excitedly. “You’ve just started with working here so it wouldn’t be so hard to start over again.”
She felt guilty that she couldn’t share his excitement. For her, going to Osaka not only meant leaving her job behind. It also meant leaving her good friends in Tokyo who had been with her for years. She wasn’t sure if she could give it all up just to be with Toshi.
“I’m... I want to think more about it, Toshi-kun,” she replied uncomfortably.
Toshi tried to smile though he really was quite disappointed.
“I knew you’d say that,” he chuckled. “Well, I’m leaving by the end of the month. So you still have a couple of days until you give me your answer.”
“I’m so sorry.”
He shook his head and gave her hands a squeeze.
“I think I should be the one apologizing for this,” he said. “Whatever your answer will be, I’ll accept it. Don’t worry.”
Hanako tried to smile as he inched closer and embraced her. Just when she thought she could finally get some sleep, she had more things to think about.
“That’s why I’ve always liked you. Thanks again.”
Sho lit another cigarette and stared out of the window. He slept early because he had to work early the next morning, but he was awakened by a dream. It just felt so real that it might have really happened. He sighed and pushed down the cigarette onto the ashtray. He seriously should stop this.
Shoichi was already sound asleep, but he was still careful not to wake him up as he walked back to the room. It was crazy, but just like that day and the previous night, he felt like doing something rash... something he wouldn’t normally do. He quickly grabbed his phone and went to the other room.
There was a moment of hesitation as he sat on the bed in the semi-darkness. But when he finally clicked on the button and dialed her number, there was no turning back.
A part of him wasn’t surprised anymore that she was still awake at that time. She seemed really troubled that day, but she wouldn’t talk about it.
“I knew you’d still be awake,” he said and couldn’t help smiling to himself.
“Why am I not surprised that you also are?” She sounded like she was smiling too. Sho felt that something was still troubling her though. “Why’d you suddenly call?”
“To be honest,” he started to say as he stood up to walk to the window, “I just suddenly felt like calling. Like... like I really have to talk to you, but I’m not sure why.”
There was silence from the other line, but he knew that she was just there.
“Toshi-kun’s going to Osaka for a better job, and he wants me to go with him,” she suddenly said, breaking the silence.
“Oh... have you... have you told them?” Sho asked, referring to her best friends.
“Not yet. I don’t know how to,” she answered in a hushed voice.
The idea of her leaving again was something unacceptable to him. He just couldn’t stand to lose her again. Keeping himself from saying anything unnecessary, he bit his lip and spoke again.
“Do you want to go with him?”
Another long silence followed his question. She was probably so confused about the situation now. After a while, he heard her sobbing.
“I really don’t want to go,” she answered honestly. “I don’t think I could leave you guys.”
If it was only possible, Sho wanted to leave his apartment and be with her at that instant. He took a deep breath and said what he had wanted to say all along.
“Then don’t go,” he said firmly. “I don’t want you to go either. I wish... we could make more memories together. I’m sure Shoichi would say the same thing.”
He felt a bit nervous when she didn’t say anything. She just continued to cry, and he stayed there, listening.
“Would you like to have breakfast with me tomorrow before work?” he asked when he thought she stopped crying.
“I think I’d have to decline this time,” she answered. “I have to talk to Toshi-kun.”
He moved away from the window and leaned his back on the wall. No matter what her decision would be, it still made him feel bad to know that she would be meeting that man the following morning.
“I see. I guess that is more important at the moment,” he said halfheartedly. “I’ll be going now. Get some sleep, okay?”
“I’ll try,” she answered with a chuckle.
Sho couldn’t get himself to hung up first. He waited for her, but it seemed like she has the same thing in mind. He closed his eyes and sighed. She should stay. He wanted her to... no matter what. Unexpectedly, she spoke just before she hung up.
“I’m happy that you called... Sho.”
Hanako asked for another refill of coffee as she waited for Toshi to come. She thought it helped a bit that Sho called the previous night. It had been easier to tell him about the situation as opposed to telling Natsumi. Up until that moment, she wasn’t so sure with her decision. There were a lot of consequences to deal with either way.
“Sorry if I’m late,” Toshi said as he sat on the chair across the table from her.
She noticed that he wasn’t his usual cool and collected self. It was probably just natural for him to worry about her answer to his offer.
“It’s alright. It was a sudden invitation anyway. At least I got more time to think,” she said rather jokingly thought it was quite true.
“Are you sure you’re going to give me your answer now?” he asked in concern after he placed his order.
She nodded slowly in reply.
“Because... I’ll be busier with work in the coming days,” she replied, unable to look him in the eye. “So I wouldn’t have much time.”
He looked at her and tried to smile.
“That means you’re staying.”
She pursed her lips and nodded again.
“I’m so sorry. But I don’t think I can leave everything that I have here.”
He ran a hand through his hair and sighed.
“I guess I should be the one to apologize... for asking that much from you.”
She reached out across the table and held his hand.
“Thanks for everything. I wish for your success there,” she said sincerely. “I had a really good time with you.”
“Yeah, it was fun,” he replied, grasping her hand firmly. If only things could go his way, he wouldn’t let her go. But it wasn’t in his nature to force people to do what he wants. “I’ll just call you and Ito-san the next time I go back here in Tokyo.”
Hanako did feel better having told Toshi what her decision was. At the same time though, it was also painful to finally let go of what they’ve had, even if it was just for a short period of time. Surprisingly, they were still able to have breakfast together, just like good friends. To an outsider, it didn’t seem like they just “broke up.”
“Let’s go,” Hanako said after she glanced at her watch. “It’s almost time.”
She started to gather her things and stood up. Unexpectedly, Toshi was already beside her. He suddenly closed in the distance between them and hugged her right in the middle of the café.
“Sorry. But can we just stay this way for a little while?”
Hanako felt the tears prick her eyes as she nodded in consent and wrapped her arms around him.
It really was goodbye.
go mood: bored