Disclaimer: I do not own
Flame of Recca or any of the characters. I’m merely using them for my own
pleasure. Please don’t sue me. Thanks.
A/N: Hi again! Here we go with the next chapter of Isolation. I was looking back at some of the chapters and noticed that there were some grammatical errors there. Typos. Gomen nasai! I wrote that during a really hot afternoon and everything was making me sleepy. ^^;; Anyway, expect more staring from Tokiya since he’s only starting, *ahem*, to get amused with Fuuko. However, things aren’t as easy as he expects them to be. ...consider that as a preview. Also, thanks to all the reviewers! Your reviews help me to write! Thanks again minna!
Chapter 5: Charm and Perplexity
“So where are we going next?” Fuuko took the opportunity to ask Tokiya.
He shrugged in reply. “Where do you want to go?”
A few hours ago, both were seated and discussing various subjects over servings of waffles and pancakes. Soon after, Fuuko had managed to express a simple apology, which was instantaneously accepted by Tokiya. Strange enough, both found themselves quite comfortable within each other’s presence as soon as the simple ‘sorry’ was uttered.
However, the comfort of having a friend to talk to wasn’t there long enough for him. Half of the time they were there was spent with endless ponderings, momentary looks and all sorts of unknown thoughts that nearly caused him to go crazy. Until now, a tiny voice and a practical conscience argued about how he was feeling for this girl who surprisingly caused his amusement.
“Hmm.” Fuuko paused. “The mall?”
Tokiya nodded, finishing the mocha latte he had in his hands. “Why the mall?” he asked as he threw the container into the trashcan. A perfect shot, one might add. He turned to face Fuuko.
Fuuko gave him a strange glimpse and continued walking towards the crossing. “Do you still need to ask women why they would want to go to the mall?”
“If it’s a shopping spree you want, it’s out.” He said cautiously. “I’m not a billionaire, you know. Besides,” he added, giving her a side glance, “you don’t seem like the type who enjoys them”
“You silly person!” she exclaimed. “I’m not asking you to buy me clothes! I don’t include guys in my shopping escapades, for your information. I only do that with Yanagi.”
“So what then do you want to do in the mall?”
She blew a few strands of hair from her face. “Probably look around, I guess. I suppose it isn’t your cup of tea? We can go somewhere else, if you want. Anyway, I don’t get the point of this thing. What are we really supposed to do anyway?” she asked.
“If you want to go around the mall, we can do that.” He agreed. “The purpose of this thing? Nothing. Haven’t you been taught how to relax Fuuko?”
“Of course I know how to relax. I’m not a robot.” She retorted, paused then continued. “...I haven’t really done that for quite some time.” She admitted quietly.
Tokiya took another turn. “Really now, you should lighten up a bit. Being a miserable ice block isn’t the nicest thing in the world, isn’t it now?”
She gave a little laugh. “I’m surprised Tokiya.”
“Why is that?”
“Most of the things you’re telling me were what the Hokage used to chide you with a long time ago, remember? ‘Lighten up iceman!’ or ‘Tokiya, come out and have fun with us for a minute’ those kind of messages we left in your answering machine...which were never heeded. We actually had to use Yanagi to get you to join us during those rare times...” she mused.
He smiled in amusement. “Consider those times gone. I’m a new person now, so none of you have to talk behind my back like you all used to.”
“And you neither have to mutter mocking names about us anymore.” She returned with the same smile. “It’s my turn to be healed, cured, transformed or whatever.”
“Well, this is your chance to loosen up.” He responded taking a short turn by the corner. “Here we are.”
Fuuko momentarily forgot her worries as her face lit up at the sight of the tall, silver building hovering over them, casting a long shadow. “Oh goody.” She happily picked up her walking pace and grabbed Tokiya’s wrist to pull him inside. “Let’s go inside.”
It was a good thing that Fuuko had all eyes focused on the winding glass doors for she would have noticed Tokiya’s cheeks flush pink at the very moment she locked his hand in hers. Like many of the new changes about him, he wasn’t used to his hand being held by a girl who, he added silently, had managed to charm him with her remarkable aura.
“Fuuko, wait up. This thing won’t burn down, you know.” He called out, trying hard not to mind the warm sensation, prickling his hand to his very fingertips.
She didn’t pay any attention to what he said, and tugged harder. “So what?”
So would you please let go of my hand now because frankly, I have no idea on what I’m feeling and why I’m feeling this way, he mumbled privately, nearly stumbling across the marbled floor.
Hold on Tokiya, he drew a deep breath and exhaled. She’s only holding your hand. And so? There’s nothing wrong with friends holding each other’s hands, right?
So what’s with his hand now? And WHY was he blushing then? Fuuko had only CHARMED him. Defined, charm would mean fascination. So he was interested with the way she was handling the situation. That was about it. Was that something to be bothered about?
Definitely not. His practical side took over his senses and led him back to reality.
“Where are we going from here?” he willed himself to ask, lest he forget himself again and drown within thoughts cause by different hormones running about.
She had let go of his hand and shrugged, facing him. “I have no idea. You do the choosing.”
Relieved that she had done so, he paused to check himself, making sure that all signs of awkwardness were gone, and then replied. “Do you enjoy amusement centers?”
“Recca, Domon and Kaoru do. Usually Yanagi, Ganko and I do the window shopping.” she answered. “But yeah, I occasionally join the guys and whack their butts in the video games.”
“I bet I could beat you.” He dared her.
“I’m not so sure you’ll be that confident after an hour.” She smirked. “Sure, why don’t we go there? Winner gets the free food at the movies.” She decided.
“Yup.” She glanced at him. “Can we see a movie later?”
His eyes motioned towards the arcade’s sign. “I wouldn’t care that much since you’ll be the one to pay.”
“You don’t know that yet.” She challenged him.
“We’ll see.” He replied,
“Okay, I’ll take one large
box of salted popcorn and soda please.” Tokiya said smugly, his eyes twinkling.
Fuuko sweatdropped. “Yeah, yeah...whatever. It was a tie! You knew it! We should have set the options to no time limit.” She argued.
“I won by .25% Kirisawa.”
“Not to me!” she stuck her tongue out. “Round it off and it does you no good. Since when did you become such an expert in Tekken anyway? It’s a tie, believe me.” She insisted.
Tokiya shook his head, pointing a finger towards the flashing screen, indicating that player 2 won 5 consecutive rounds. “Sorry. Even the computer believes me.”
She took one last glare at the screen and exhaled, blowing playful strands of hair from her eyes. “Fine. Lead the way, champion.”
“I think I will.”
“Don’t get your hopes up. I only have enough money to buy us tickets.”
They approached the line. “No, I’ll buy the tickets. You can buy the food.” He offered, feeling a bit generous this time. “Go ahead.”
She looked at him doubtingly before scurrying over to the woman selling all sorts of assorted tidbits. Tokiya watched her for a moment before heading towards the ticket counter. He paid for the tickets, his mind on other things, not even noticing a pair of young girls giggling at his good looks.
He was about to head towards Fuuko when they approached him.
“May I help you?” he asked politely, his thoughts still on other things.
“Uh, well...I was wondering...” the girl blushed while her companion batted her eyelashes at him. “If I could have your number...”
Oh. Another one of them.
He was tempted to snub them off as he usually did to the girls his school. But he stopped himself in time. He was a gentleman after all and it probably wasn’t that necessary in a place like this. “I’m sorry,” he started, “but...”
Fuuko appeared at his side. “Oh, there you are. I was wondering where you went. Here is your order.” She raised a plastic container holding a big box of popcorn and a large soda. “Who are they?” she inquired, taking notice of the two standing in front of them.
The two, realizing that they were obviously not getting anything from him, gave one mean look at Fuuko and a desperate signal at Tokiya (which he promptly ignored) before rushing off.
Fuuko faced him questioningly.
“I don’t know them,” he answered, shrugging.
A smile played on her lips. “I’d take that they’re your fawning admirers Tokiya.”
“Not really. That’s too much, Fuuko.” He replied, returning the smile.
Her grin grew wider. “Oh, so we’re being modest now are we? Come on Mikagami. Everyone knows that you’re the most popular guy in school, being smart and everything.”
“Whatever, you say.” He checked his watch. “We’d better be getting in if you don’t want to miss the movie. It’s due to start in a few minutes.” He headed towards the door.
She followed him inside the
dark room and to the two seats he chose. “Wait, um, your popcorn and soda.”
He paused and glanced at her for a moment. “Oh yeah. Thanks.” He took the bag. “No condiments?” he grinned complacently.
“Don’t push your luck.” She warned him, settling herself down on a chair. “By the way, I hope you don’t mind if I placed two straws into the soda can. I might get thirsty later, so expect me to be popping up and taking a short sip from your drink.” She leaned back against the velvet cushion and instantly plopped her hand inside the box of popcorn and took some out, popping them into her mouth.
She’s crazy, he thought silently. “What are you doing?”
“Getting what I deserve. I did pay for this thing.” She mumbled while chewing the white kernels. “Yuck, Mikagami. Why, of all things, did you have to ask for plain popcorn? It isn’t even salted that much.”
He dropped a few in his mouth. “It’s healthier than butter or cheese. And besides, it isn’t THAT plain.”
“Yeah, like what? 2 sprinkles of iodized salt?” she asked sarcastically, digging for more. “You worry too much about your health. You already have a perfect figure...”
He was about to tell her not to get anymore if it didn’t please her, when her hand brushed against his. He nearly drew back his hand but remembered that it held the box of popcorn. It was there again. That warm feeling that spread throughout his whole hand and face. He was lucky that it was dark and that the movie had started. Or else Fuuko would start bugging him again about his near absent-mindedness.
He didn’t get to pay attention to the movie that much. His mind kept on running around to different corners of his questions. He was still trying to figure out why he was acting this way. It wasn’t like him at all. Never in his whole life did he experience these kinds of things. He refused to acknowledge his hormones. His logical side kept on trying to figure out the answers.
After all, that was his whole life.
He always had a quest to find the answers. And now that a simple situation that couldn’t be analyzed frustrated him a little. WHY couldn’t he explain anything? WHAT was happening to him?
Tokiya leaned towards the
can of soda, about to sip from the cool can when he felt something warm
against his cheek. He turned his head slightly and found himself staring
at Fuuko’s lips centimeters away from his.
He almost jumped back, nearly upsetting the can of Pepsi.
“Hey!” a startled Fuuko whispered. “What are you doing?!”
He composed himself, his cheeks flaming red with embarrassment. “What do you mean?” he whispered back indignantly. “Don’t scare me like that!”
She narrowed her eyes at him. “I wasn’t intending to scare you. Stop being silly. I was only going to drink from the can. But since you insisted on---”
“SHH! Do you mind?” a voice hushed them.
She gave him one last glare and shifted her eyes back to the screen.
It took him a few minutes
before his face finally cooled down and he leaned back against his chair.
That was so close and again it had sent him to blushing. Tokiya crossed
his arms, furious with himself for acting that way. He was already getting
fed up with these kinds of uneasy encounters. And he still didn’t know
what to do about it.
Whether mischief was smiling upon him this day, he did not know.
“That was a great movie, wasn’t it?” she chattered happily, walking beside him towards the sliding doors of the lobby. “It was a little cheesy though, but it suited me fine. I loved the part when the cop decided to use the big box of ammo to kill the assassin...”
He nodded graciously, motioning for her to go first. She did, but her talking didn’t stop. She went rambling on and on about the movie, how good looking the villain was, how the plot was twisted at the end...
“Ei, Mikagami? You’re pretty quiet. Something wrong?”
“Hmm? Nope. I’m fine.” He responded, though not quite sure himself.
“You seem a bit dazed.” She pointed out. “Didn’t enjoy the movie?”
He didn’t even pay attention to a singled part! “Uh...it was okay.” He lied.
She scrutinized him for a second. “Wait, don’t tell me these are the effects of too much plain popcorn.” Fuuko joked, her Prussian eyes laughing at him.
He smiled and faced her. “No. I think I was spared from that.” He lingered for a moment and his voice softened.
He tilted her chin with his finger. “Your eyes. They’re so bright yet filled with dark blue, the color of the oceans.” He mustered thoughtfully, once more getting lost within the depths of her mystery.
She is so pretty.
WHAT?! His mind yelled. Oh no, Tokiya. You are definitely NOT falling for her! He was losing it already. What was happening now to him and his guard? Attraction? Come on, man!
“Uh...Mikagami?” her eyes looked at him with questioning.
...But come to think of it, she WAS pretty, after all. Her violet tresses surrounded her delicate face and her eyes were so full of the dark color blue. Her smile, her laugh, her lively way of speaking... It captured him for a moment and he could do nothing but stare at her, helplessly.
NO. He told himself firmly. Get a grip on yourself.
Wet drops falling on his shoulder and on her cheek interrupted him. He released her chin and glanced at the sky, now covered with dark gray clouds.
“It’s going to rain.” She observed.
He nodded. “I guess we won’t be walking home. I can take you to your place.” He offered.
“How?” she asked, pointing upward to the elements now present.
Tokiya looked around. “We can take the subway.” He indicated the small tunnel a few meters across the block they were standing on. “We can take a cab then to your place and then mine.”
“Sounds good to me, but we’d better hurry because I believe it’s starting to pour down.”
They dashed towards the stairs leading to the underground, but not without getting a good number of droplets wetting them profusely. Fuuko took the lead and hurried to the descending steps with him following her. Within a few minutes, they were out of the cold and inside a busy tunnel, streaming with people hurrying off to places and offices.
Getting the subway tickets didn’t take too much time. Tokiya had them in within seconds. The trouble was getting inside the moving cars. It was too crowded with people. They had only managed to get in after waiting for 2 turns of the subway train. Still, they were with a fairly large group of individuals also trying to escape the rain and the traffic.
“Gee, I feel like a sardine here.” Fuuko commented.
“Same here.” He replied.
“Actually, I feel more like the tuna slices packed into those cans---”
The train shuddered, causing him to nearly stumble.
“Ah..aah..whoa!” Fuuko lost her traction and staggered towards him. Another jerk had her flying into him, causing his hand to immediately wrap itself on her waist to steady her and to prevent both of them from tumbling down. His grip on the metal bars tightened and he secured his balance. “What the...” he muttered at the sudden jolts.
“Are you okay?” he asked her.
“Yeah, barely.” She responded, shakily.
Their car shook for another moment and then finally lurched to a stop. The lights flickered then also went off. Nervous and anxious voices filled the car. People were trying to shift and move around, feeling for the emergency exit and alert buttons.
Tokiya stayed put, making sure his hold on her was firm. “Are you hurt or anything?”
“Nope.” She answered, a bit calmer now. “What happened?”
He squinted his eyes. Nothing. Pitch black. “I reckon it was some electrical problem. They’ll probably have it fixed in no time.”
“Nice service they have, ne?” Fuuko remarked.
Tokiya didn’t reply. On cue, the emergency lights flicked on and most of the people seemed to calm down too. A voice on the PA system announced that there was a technical problem and that the train would be up and running in no time.
“Phew.” Fuuko exhaled in relief. She looked at up him. “Hey Mikagami.”
“Thanks for catching me. I would have uh...fallen over.”
Now that there was light provided, he noticed their position. He held her in such a protective pose that both of their bodies were inches away from each other. Though it was such a warm feeling of security a few moments ago in the dark, he was now starting to feel a bit awkward. He let go of her hastily. “No problem.” He told her. “Both of us would have toppled over if I didn’t catch you.”
He wasn’t used to such contact. Especially with a girl like Fuuko. Of course he had his moments with Mifuyu, when he was a younger kid. Problems at the subway were not a surprise to him. They were quite common. But Mifuyu was his older sister, for God’s sake! They only had each other. She was entitled to hug him, to tuck him in, to keep him warm, to hold his hand...
This was different. Being with Mifuyu was cozy and snug. Being with Fuuko on the other hand...
He forced himself to stare at the windows, to stop his ceaseless staring and so that she would not notice the color pink creeping up to his cheeks. Fuuko is just a friend, remember? He reminded himself sternly. You are not supposed to entertain any thoughts of appeal. Moreover, she was still trying to get over Raiha’s death and you are supposed to help her, not fall for her!
“Hey, we’re getting near to our stop.” Her voice interrupted his thoughts.
“Oh, right.” He sighed, gripping firmly at the bar above him. “You had better hold on.” He informed her.
She obeyed him. A few more seconds, a few shudders were felt as the train halted to a full stop. The doors opened and people rushed out and others went in. He let her walk ahead first before he followed her to the stairs.
“We can take a cab from up there.” He said.
Fuuko nodded. “My place isn’t that far off anyway.”
“Hopefully, we can get one as soon as possible.” He told her, taking note of the downpour that was taking place. It wasn’t just any ordinary rainfall.
“Looks like a storm.” She said, echoing his thoughts.
He signaled her to hurry to the corner of the subway station. It was slightly covered by a small roof and it was the only safe place where they could hail a taxi to take them out of here. She followed him quickly and took her place beside him. He inched nearer to her, trying to avoid the rainfall.
“That was fun despite all the bumps, ne?” she commented cheerfully. “I’m not really used to riding the subway, you know. I always walk or bike to school or to the mall.”
“Mifuyu and I used to ride them all the time.” He found himself saying.
He nodded. “She and I enjoyed going around during the weekends and when she didn’t feel like driving her car, we would simply take the subway to get about.” He closed his eyes, distantly remembering his older sister, beckoning for him to follow her into the train car.
He felt a hand on his left one. “You miss her still.” She stated soberly.
“Of course I do.” He replied. “I loved her very much. She was the only one I had.” He bowed his head slightly and sadly.
She squeezed his hand. “It’s alright. I’m sure she’s happy up there.” She reassured him positively. “I mean, by the way you talk about her, she must be an angel.”
He gave her a small smile. “Nice of you to say that.”
“Well,” she gave him a nervous chuckle. “Both of us have lost our loved ones, right? In a way, I guess we can relate with one another...I’m sure Raiha’s up there with your ’neechan. He died so peacefully, so calmly as if he were never afraid of it.” She stated softly.
“What did he die of?” he asked before he could prevent himself from doing so.
“Cancer.” She said bleakly. “It was terminal. The moment I found out about it, I ran to Yanagi. I begged her to help Raiha and to cure him if she could. She was more than willing, however there were too many risks if she continued with the procedure. Kagero-san had already informed us that Yanagi might lose her life trying to cure the tumor.”
He watched her silently. Hints of sadness were present in her voice, but she continued.
“I couldn’t blame Recca if he refused to let Yanagi do it. I began searching for other methods then. Sadly, there were none. Yanagi could only give him a few more months before the tumor would spread throughout his whole body and kill him.” She trembled. “There was really nothing I could do and I felt so helpless at that time...” she trailed off.
It was his turn to press her hand. “I felt the same way when Mifuyu was killed. But listen to me.” He shifted his gaze from the dark sky to her eyes. “It wasn’t your fault. You couldn’t do anything about it even if you tried. Cancer, sadly, still has no cure Fuuko. It was a very ill fated event and I’m really sorry about it. But you should stop blaming yourself.”
“I...I can’t help it.”
“You’re making yourself miserable in the process.”
She sighed sadly. “Maybe. It’s hard, though.”
“It is hard.” He agreed. “But you won’t gain anything if you don’t try.”
“Words of wisdom?” she joked half-heartedly. “I know, I know...I should keep on trying.”
He let go of her hand. “That’s better. I know you are.”
“You’re not really bad for a confidante, Tokiya.” She gave him a small grin.
Tokiya glanced at her pale face and her shivering form. He only noticed it now---it was getting cold. And she was only wearing a simple tank top and jeans. She was rather near to being soaked and the fact that Fuuko had had traces of fever worried him.
He slid off his jean jacket and placed it on her shoulders, leaving him with his black shirt on. She looked at him inquiringly. “What’s this for?”
“You’re cold.” He pointed out, in a matter-of-fact tone.
“Not really.” She said, shrugging. “You should take your jacket back. You might catch something.”
Tokiya hailed a cab a few blocks away from them. He turned back to answer her. “I assure you, my resistances are pretty strong. While you, in the mean time are still recovering from a bad cold and fever.” He said, reminding her of her previous condition.
“Gee, all concerned now are we?” she smirked, “I’m fine Tokiya. Why do you worry about me so much? I’m not that delicate you know.”
Oh yes you are, and I worry about you, He said silently. “Are you going to waste your time arguing with me again? Because no matter what you do, I’m going to win this round.”
She rolled her eyes, her back on him as she got inside the cab that stopped. “Don’t tell me that I have to start another one with you.” She said jokingly and leaned back against the cushions. Fuuko didn’t bother going all the way to the side---she had always gotten used to sitting in the middle. Since she was a child with her mom and dad at the back.
He soon got in and shut the door. After giving the driver quick instructions on where to go, he also rested his back and continued saying, “if you don’t agree with me, I’ll be forced to take you inside my house again. Don’t make me do that.”
“I’ll bolt out, I swear.”
He rolled his eyes upward. “Whatever you say Kirisawa.”
Then both of them were silent. Tokiya was again indulging in his own thoughts by glancing at the dark sky through the window by his side. She, on the other hand was basking in the warmth of the vehicle. It was much better than the cold and wet feeling she had outside. Much as she hated to admit it, but Tokiya’s jacket helped her. She was about to freeze back there. She also felt sleepy. All the activity made her exhausted, for some reason.
::Must be the fever::
Damn, he was right again! It irked her slightly, to know that Tokiya was really such a smart and remarkable person. She stole a side-glance at the calm person sitting silently beside her. It was true that in all aspects, he had beaten her. From the fighting skills, to the level of intelligence...hell, even the looks! There were indeed no doubts on Tokiya’s handsome and good-looking features. Why, he could actually attract a handful of girls (and even guys, she added giggly to herself) by simply putting a smile on that striking face of his.
Maybe that was also why a lot of people had been casting momentary looks at the two of them while they were at the mall. ...probably to ogle at the man walking beside her. Fuuko was amused and was even tempted to chuckle because her long haired friend didn’t notice a single thing.
Was Tokiya her friend now? She wasn’t even inclined to hesitate on admitting that. Of course he was her friend! He helped her, and is still doing so, right? Anyone who helps a person out of concern is considered as a friend/pal/buddy. At least that’s what she believes. Of course during the past, she never really thought of Tokiya being a good companion.
But things were different then. The guy changed a lot. There was big difference with the way he carried himself. Though he retained the same calm and polite demeanor, all the ice and traces of bitterness were gone. Come to think of it, he could almost qualify for being labeled nice.
Fuuko grinned mischievously. The guy still had pints of sarcasm coming along every so often. But overall, he wasn’t doing so badly. In fact, she was proud of him for overcoming all the obstacles in his life. She was one of the rare people who’d see all the anger and fury expressed within him during the days of the Urabutosatsujin. It was she and Domon who had jumped down to help him after his fall during his battle with Kai. She would never forget the look in his eyes.
The look of wrath and pain.
She thought he’d never go through with it. He had, after all, disappeared right after the tournament was over. He didn’t care to join them in their celebration or the free trip they won. He simply vanished for 3 months without telling anyone. They heard of him a few more months after. She had never really gotten to the point of spending quality time with the guy. Fuuko assumed that the rest of the Hokage welcomed him back warmly. She was too caught up with her own romantic affair.
She bit her lip. You are not going to start weeping all over again. Not here, she told herself firmly. In her mind, she rapidly tore away from the very memories she had with her loved one and shifted to Yanagi and the rest of the group. People she hadn’t seen for a while.
It had only been 3 days, but she missed Yanagi terribly. She missed her best friend, who received the harshest treatment from her. Now that she looked back at it, she had been incredibly unfair back then. She tried to recall the birthday party they tried to celebrate with her. Fuuko winced. She had snapped at Domon, yelled at Yanagi---even expressed her dislike for birthday parties and ungratefulness for all their efforts to cheer her up.
::You were such a bitch::
She admitted guiltily her faults and mistakes. That day _was_ awful. While she had been moping away at her own problems, she had managed to cause a lot of people a great deal of pain. She nearly punched Mikagami, for God’s sake! Mikagami, who also attempted to help her up.
And he was the only one successful in getting her attention. She threw away the rest of the others’ pains to help her out. Man, was she ever grateful to have met a guy as stubborn as she was. Had he not persisted, she might have been gone by now. Her frantic measures with suicide were another part of her misconceptions. Where did he ever get the motivation to save her anyway?
She swung around from her seat to ask him when she saw his dazed look once again.
::What is that guy thinking about?::
Little did she know that
his mind hosted the same question too.
“Thanks, Tokiya. I had fun today.”
“Me too.” He smiled sincerely. “Now don’t do anything stupid, or I’ll have your head.” He warned her.
“What if I’m already dead by then?” she teased him.
His narrowed. “Kirisawa...” he started.
She slapped him on the back, hard. “I’m kidding, I’m kidding! Sheesh, lighten up a bit!”
“Funny how you say that,” he frowned at her. “Your intentions were completely different the other day. Maybe I should change my mind and bring you back to my place.”
“I’m not a child Tokiya,” she said, her tone changing to a more serious one. “I can take care of myself. I promise not to do anything silly. I’ll be calling Yanagi up, err...I wanna talk to her about some things.”
His face lightened up. “That’s a relief. You should rest first. I’ll be going now...call me if you need anything.” He said, smiling again at her and giving her light hug.
She returned the squeeze and waved goodbye as he dodged raindrops, hurrying back to the cab, waiting to take him back to his place. As soon as the car sped off, she turned to the door and fumbled for the keys in her pocket. She found the metal set after a few seconds and opened the door.
Upon entering the living room of her house, she quickly shrugged off her shoes and jacket and proceeded up to her room to change. She figured that her parents were going to be late since it was already 5:30 pm and there was still no sign of human presence inside the house. Her mom and dad were usually home by this time. She pulled off her clothes and replaced them with a purple shirt and cycling shorts.
Fuuko went back and checked
the answering machine. There was one message from her parents, confirming
that they would be late and that they would be stepping out for dinner.
With that, she padded towards the kitchen and checked the contents of the
ref. She brought out leftovers from her mom’s stew and popped it into the
microwave. While waiting for it, she moved to the other room and picked
up the cordless phone.
Fuuko sat by the den and ate her dinner in silence. The TV had nothing to offer her for tonight so she settled for making herself comfortable on the couch. Outside, the rain poured endlessly but the fireplace had a cheerful blaze roaring. The stew her mom made was full of spices and she sat, nestled among the soft cushions. She stayed there, sipping the broth from the spoon quietly.
::I wonder if he’s okay::
She laughed out loud at her sudden question. Of course Tokiya’s fine. He should be home by now, eating his dinner by himself too. Why the heck is she worrying anyway? She leaned back and let her shoulders relax on the pads, supporting her neck. Tokiya would be fine, she reassured herself. Water is his key element after all. She shouldn’t fret about him.
Her eyes shifted to the phone lying beside her. She had just gotten off the phone with Yanagi a couple of minutes earlier. She also said her apologies. They weren’t rejected and in a span of less than a minute, she had her best friend back.
“So I saw you and Tokiya-senpai at the mall today”
“Hmm. Yeah. We went around and saw a movie”
“Just a movie?”
“Yeah. Just a movie.”
“Okay, if you say so...”
“What? Stop giggling Yanagi-chan. What’s up with you anyway? You seemed like you had an overdose of mush today.”
“...okay, I’ll stop. It’s just that you make such a cute couple, walking around together like that. I mean, you two looked good together!”
“Oh Fuuko-chan, I didn’t mean anything. I’m sorry. I know that you and Raiha---”
“Yanagi, Tokiya and I aren’t going out, okay? He happened to offer to take me out to the mall today. That’s it. What made you think of such silly things?”
“Well, even Recca pointed it out.”
“Ah, you guys are weird, you know that?”
“I don’t mean to imply anything Fuuko-chan...but don’t you think it’s time to move on?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, move on. I’m not saying that you should forget about Raiha and the memories you’ve spent with him but you should also try new possibilities. You never know...love might come knocking on your door once more. As a matter of fact, he might be even be the one who’s with you right now!”
“Are you saying that Tokiya and I will soon end up together? Dream on Yanagi! That’s impossible. YOU KNOW that there’s no one in this world that would replace Raiha. And besides, me and Tokiya together? You must be crazy. Sure, he’s nice, handsome and everything but please! I don’t think we’ll stand each other for even one month.”
“You said he was handsome! Isn’t that something?”
“I’m stating the truth here, Yanagi. And you know our personalities crash.”
“I don’t get you. He’s already changed a lot, Fuuko.”
“I know he’s changed...but, it just can’t work out Yanagi. It won’t work out that way.”
“Don’t you even want to try Fuuko?”
“No, Yanagi. It won’t work out. Trust me. And hello...I don’t think Tokiya is even attracted to me!”
“Listen, it’s getting really late. I better go. My dinner’s getting cold.”
“Hai. I don’t mind. I have to go out too.”
“Oh Yanagi, stop that, will you? I can picture you blushing right now...”
“Nani? I’m not!”
A sudden crash sent Fuuko jerking up and nearly spilling the contents of the hot bowl she held on her lap. She glanced at the outside and saw lightning dancing in all its golden glory. Getting up from her cross-legged position from the couch, she walked over to the glass panes and pressed her cheek and palms against the cool glass, feeling the rumbles caused by the storm.
::I wonder...if you’re watching me at this very moment::
Rai – thunder. Fuu – wind.
Those two elements come together a lot of times especially during this kind of weather, she mused silently. She was never afraid of the stormy nights and the bolts of lightning that would dash through the air. In fact, she loved them. She enjoyed them even more when he was with her.
Fuuko sighed, moving slowly to the sides and drawing the curtains close.
::Those times are gone::
A tear or two rolled off her cheek as she sadly acknowledged the truth.
::Goodbye. I’ll see you in heaven::
Fuuko moved back to the sofa and sank in it. There was no use in being depressed now. She closed a chapter in her heart and opened a new one. Still, a touch of sadness lingered within her. After all, he had become part of her life. And now she was giving him her last farewells by burying her sadness in the midst of the storm raging on at the outside.
She felt cold. How come? She recalled not feeling this way a few hours ago.
“Oh, right...” she shifted and glanced at the denim jacket, hanging by the doorway. She forgot to return his jacket before he left. No problem. She’d pay him a visit tomorrow and give it back. She’ll probably ask a few questions regarding his final good byes to Mifuyu. He’d give her advice.
Right? He wouldn’t mind...right?
Come to think of it, Tokiya did seem to be acting weird the whole day. He was occasionally doing a lot of deep thinking, he would stare at her for no reason, he would act so, so WEIRD. That incident at the movie house nearly set her laughing at the ensui master’s blunders. It was such a surprise. He was a near-to-perfection kind of guy and still he looked so nervous and funny that time.
Fuuko smiled to herself. She’d go to his place tomorrow, return the jacket and tease him about it.
And get a few answers.