Sorry for the really late update. :v
Hope there are still people who reads this~
Chapter 16: A Stormy Night (Part 1)
I woke up with a bright smile after the first night of sleeping beside Rena. As soon as I opened her eyes, I saw the girl's sleeping face. She was breathing lightly but I can hear her breathes clearly. My heart pounded as I watched the magnificent view.
I never knew that watching someone sleep could be this enjoyable. As I was doing this, Rena soon woke up. Her brown orbs gradually came into view. "Oh, m--morning", she said before covering half of her face with the blanket.
"Good morning, Rena-chan!" I greeted her happily and removed the blanket on her face. "Don't hide in there! Hahaha."
"Have you been watching me... sleep?" She asked with a blushing face. I nodded while smiling. She just blushed redder and hid covered her face with a pillow. I heared a muffled "uwaaaah".
I didn't know she has this side, too. Well...
"You're soooo cute~" I didn't stop myself from trying to hug her.
I giggled after hearing that sound. She chuckled too and gave me the brightest smile.
"I'll be going down now and prepare breakfast. You should come down soon."
(Third Person's POV)
In an unfamiliar apartment.
Mariko opened her eyes from sleep, she was feeling a bit dizzy and closed her eyes again for a minute or two. After that, she opened it again and looked beside her but there wasn't anyone on the left side of the bed. It was then that she smelled the familiar aroma of garlic rice. She was hungry already but decided to stay in bed for quite some time more, trying to remember what happened last night.
She didn't notice the footsteps approaching her. A girl opened the door and stood on the side of the bed with a grin on her face.
"Marichan! Breakfast is ready!"
"Miichan.." She looked at her and started to smile.
"Come on let's eat already. I'm starving!" She said.
Mariko quickly sat on the bed, letting the blanket covering her chest to slide down her lap.
"Get dressed already!!!" Minami said as turned around not to look. Mariko stood up and quietly walk near Minami. She sneakily wrapped her arms on Minami's waist and embraced her tightly.
"M--Ma--Marichan!! What are you--"
"Sssssh! Be quiet or I'll keep you quiet with force." She savored the moment like it was the final one. The embrace lasted for a minute.
"Miichan, I love you." She whispered to Minami's ear before letting go of her.
But Minami quickly turned around and caught her arm. She pulled her closer and was now the one hugging Mariko. Her fingers caressed the bare back as she leaned in for a kiss. "I love you more, Marichan."
"Saa... Get dressed already! The breakfast will be cold!"
(Third Person's POV)
Back at the Rosehouse...
Breakfast has been unusually quiet. The remaining five girls and Yokoyama Yui sat and ate when a familiar person came by..
"Sorry for walking in while you're having breakfast..."
"Oh, Itsuki Yui-sama!" Yuihan said before standing up.
"Go on, continue your food. I just wanted to check you girls out. I'll go meet someone else after looking around here.."
"Anyways, how's Arika-sama?" Asked Yuihan.
"Well, there are little improvements on her health. I'm glad she's slowly recovering. But I think it will take time before her full recovery." Itsuki said with a smile.
"That's good news, Itsuki-sama!"
"Yes, it is.."
After some conversation, Itsuki left. They finished their food and drank their tea. After that, Yokoyama Yui asked the girls to go to the library and meet with the librarian there.. She said she has few visitors to talk to.
The girls obeyed and walked up to the library. Honestly, it was a really large room filled with many many books ranging from fiction books to educational books to encyclopedias and other reading materials. The smell of book resided on the air but the librarian seemed to really love that smell. She flashed a small smile as she saw the girls walking in front of her..
"Yui had instructed you to come here.. Today, all of you can go find some books to read. You can borrow any book that you like and afterwards reflect on the things that you have learned. I would require a reaction paper, I guess... Wait... Am I just sounding like a teacher? Hahaha."
The girls just looked at her, puzzled by her weird behaviour.
"Anyways, I'll introduce myself formally... though I know all of you knows me. I'm Matsubara Natsumi. A former resident of Rosehouse too. I work at the library as a volunteer. Besides, reading has been my passion. I was once a--"
But her speech was cut off when someone opened the door. Everyone looked that way and saw someone unfamiliar to the young girls.
"Oh, did I--"
"Yes. What do you want?!"
"Is this a good way to welcome an old friend?" The girl smirked and walked inside. "Pardon my intrusion but I guess I'll be working with all of you for the meantime.."
"What do you mean...?" Asked Natsumi to the petite lady in front of them.
"Am I not welcome as a fellow volunteer?"
"Sorry for my intrusion, ladies.. I'm Umeda Ayaka. Guess I'll be seeing all of you more often."
Umeda sat on an empty seat facing Natsumi's and observed her as she spoke.
"Well..." Natsumi paused and took a deep breath before continuing. It was weird that she was suddenly feeling anxious because of an old friend watching her. It has been a long time since they last talked. "There are labels on the shelves as to what kind of book you want to read. Pick any book you like. By the way, you can always visit here if you want to read. The library is always open for enthusiasts."
Natsumi smiled as she concluded her short speech. The girls dispersed and searched the shelves for books. She sat down her chair and glanced at Umeda who was staring at her.
"What's the matter?"
"You haven't changed at all... Your face and the way you speak, I mean."
She didn't speak. On the other hand, Umeda Ayaka has changed a lot since before. Physically and mentally. She knew but silence was the best option.
"Hasn't it been a long time?"
"Yeah... I didn't expect you to come back here."
"Well, I did stop chasing her before. But fate wasn't too good to me, I guess. It was either I wasn't too good on running away or fate's too good on catching me up. I ended up being with her more often, more often than I would have wanted. And that's pretty bad for me. Hahaha."
Umeda faked a smile. Natsumi knew. She remembers Umeda's eyes now. It wasn't the same as before...
"Did you ever tell her?"
Umeda shook her head. "I don't want to regret something afterwards."
"You've changed." Said Natsumi briefly.
"I guess I did."
(Third Person's POV)
For the meantime, Mayu was looking for nothing on the shelves. She didn't knew what she wanted to read. She just walked along it, smelling the strong smell of the old books. There were plenty of books that she saw and all of them were cleanly piled along the wide and tall shelves. She stopped on a literary section and ran her fingers over the piles of books.
She stopped when a book title caught her eye. It was something familiar, she has heard of it before.
She remembered. She has read that before. A tragic love story...
Mayu got the book slowly out of the shelf but she was shocked when her eyes met someone's familiar gaze.
"What a coincidence!" Yuki said with a surprised reaction. Then, she titled her head and smiled at Mayu.
Mayu's heart pounded so loud and fast. She smiled back at Yuki.
"Nee, Mayu-chan... Want to go read our books at my room later?" Asked Yuki.
How can she refuse?
"Great~ Jaa. Until later." Yuki waved her hand and walked away. Mayu just stood in amazement. Her cheeks were blushing very red and the pounding of her chest was still very loud.
The smile on her face vanished as she remembered some of their conversations before.
"I can't let myself completely fall in love with her... Though, I know that I have fallen already. I can't be happy on feeling like this unless I have told her the truth... Maybe later would be a good opportunity." Mayu thought to herself.
(Third Person's POV)
Meanwhile Sayanee and Milky walked together on the same lane and looked for books of their interest.
"Do you like reading, Sayanee?" Asked Milky.
Sayanee simply shook her head. "I did read mangas before but not literary pieces or encyclopedias. Magazines, I guess. Hahaha. How about you?"
"Well, I like to read. I worked part-time at a bookstore before."
Sayanee smiled at her, amazed by Milky. "Maybe I'll take a liking to reading, too.. If I gave it a try."
"Unn!" Said Milky with a nod.
"I'll look over there." Said Sayanee. She walked a bit to the right and searched th shelves for novels. While Milky looked for detective novels. She found something she liked but she can't reach it. Sayanee saw her struggling and tried to get the book for Milky but couldn't reach it, too.
"Ahh, there's a small ladder!" Said Milky after roaming her eyes around. She got the ladder and put it in place. She stepped on it... but just before getting her hands on the book, the ladder broke and caused her to fall.
Luckily, Sayanee quickly caught her in her arms. But it caused the ladder to shatter into pieces and made them stumble over the floor, making a loud noise.
"Are you hurt?" Sayanee asked concernedly while she was holding Milky on her arms.
"No, thanks to you." Said Milky while blushing.
Soon, the others ran over and checked them out.
"What happened?!" Asked the librarian.
"The ladder broke when I tried to use it to get a book. I almost fell down but Sayaka caught me."
"Are you both fine?"
The librarian and Umeda-san assisted them to stand. But it was then when Sayanee noticed the pain on her right foot. "I--It hurts. I think I got sprained."
They removed her shoe and saw the swollen foot. "Watanabe-san could you assist her to the infirmary? She needs to get treated." Suggested Umeda-san.
"I haven't used that ladder for ages. Well, no one did until now."
Later that night... After dinner.
I browsed few pages of the book I borrowed from the library. The faint smell of it was somehow relieving and the yellowish pages looked nostalgic. I stood up and walked out of my room to read the book in Yuki's room.
I wasn't yet inside yet my heart was beating so loud. As soon as I reached her door, I felt my heart stop. I knocked once and Yuki immediately opened it for me. It brought back my excitement and a bit of anxiety.
Yuki greeted me with her bright smile and invited me inside. She was already in her pajamas and I find it really cute. She plopped on her bed with her book on hand while I sat on the edge.
"Oh, Wuthering Heights! I've heard of that before." Commented Yuki then she showed me the book of her choice.
"The Little Prince?"
She nodded. "I've read this before. I still remember one of the best lines inside... What is essential is invisible to the eye." She smiled at me again.
"Cool. I think that one's pretty cool."
"We can exchange books after both have finished on ours."
Yuki sat up and started reading. I stared at the cover before starting to open it, revealing the first page. The smell of the book was pretty strong now. Maybe it has not been read lately. The yellowish pages are quite brittle to touch and a bit rough too. I was just starting to read it when I noticed the familiar sound of the rain trickling on the roof. I looked and noticed that, yes, it is raining.
I yawned after suddenly feeling cold. She looked at me and asked if I'm sleepy already. I shooked my head cooly and continued to read. I was getting to absorbed in reading to not notice that Yuki was already asleep on her soft mattress.
The long strands of her hair enveloped her face and formed a bizaare aesticity. I closed the book and looked closer at her.
I can hear my heart loud. For me, this is a moment to be treasured. Looking at her sleeping peacefully like this, she looks like an angel... If only this feeling could last forever.
But suddenly, Yuki opened her eyes. I was a bit shocked and so was she. She immediately blushed right after seeing me and I literary froze before.
"Uhm... A--Are you watching me?"
I guiltily looked away, she gave a light chuckle and touched my cheek. Her hand was warm.
"You're so cute, Mayu."
My heart raced after she said that. I looked at her straight to her eyes and they were gleaming. I didn't expect what she did next. Yuki closed the short distance between our lips.
The feeling was magical. But I cannot lose my mind now. I pulled back and smiled at her. Maybe now is the right time to confess.
"I love you, Yuki."
"I feel the same."
She cupped my cheek again and caressed it with her soft palm. Her lips were asking for another kiss but I refrained from doing so. She looked at me confusedly.
"There's something I need to tell you..."
"What is it?"
"I... I am..."
Maybe, this is the right time.
Though I highly doubt that she would want to kiss me again after this.