Empty Nest for the Holidays — A tremendously late 8S story for Scratchminus

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gibzx
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Empty Nest for the Holidays — A tremendously late 8S story for Scratchminus

Post by gibzx » Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:39 pm

Empty Nest for the Holidays

Emi is invited on a Christmas trip by Hisao’s family. She tells her mom, Meiko, who excitedly encourages Emi to go with them. However, after Emi is gone, Meiko realizes that this means she’ll have to figure out how to spend her first Christmas alone.

Oh shit, what's this? An 8S Christmas submission in the middle of summer? I won't try to make excuses other than the vague 'I had some stuff to deal with'. Sorry for the delay, but here it is finally! Expect more writing from me soon™ :D
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“Mooooooom!” Emi called in frustration from her bedroom upstairs. “I can’t find them!”

There was urgency in her tone and rightfully so, Hisao was set to arrive in a matter of minutes and my daughter still hadn’t finished packing her bag. “I did say you should have done it last night, Emi…”

“I know, I know! I was just tired, so I went to lay down and the next thing I know… well, it was morning.” She frantically sorts through all of her drawers, searching every nook and cranny for whatever she’s missing.

I glance at her small suitcase, which seems to be nearly full of all the necessities she might need for her three day trip with Hisao. “What else are you missing?”

“Underwear! Probably the most important thing!” Her playful attitude is put on pause as she rushingly searches for the last item on her list. “The pink and red sets I bought recently, y’know?”

If I recall correctly… “Sweetie, those are still in the laundry basket, I haven’t washed them yet.”

“What?! Then what am I gonna do? I need those for tod—”

“Emi, I never do laundry on Mondays, you know this. You should’ve told me you needed them washed yesterday, don’t get upset at me because you forgot.” I cross my arms and give her a stern look. Although, there’s something about this that confuses me. Why does she need those specifically? She should have a few more clean sets of underwear from the last laundry cycle.

I walk over to a nearby drawer and slide open the first slot, revealing a clean pile of clothes. “Well, why don’t you just take these instead?” I suggest as I take out a pair and show it to her.

Emi pouts in response, “But those are old! You bought them for me when I was like, 16, remember?”

I place a hand over my lips to contain a small giggle. “Sweetie even if they’re from back then, they should still fit you just fine; your body hasn’t grown much since then.”
“Mom!” she exclaims with a tone of mild annoyance at my comment. “That’s really mean, plus, size isn’t the issue here!”

Her reaction to my unintentional teasing only makes it harder for me to remain neutral. “I’m sorry honey, I was just pointing things out. What’s the issue with these then?” I begin to look for any holes or scratches in the fabric, maybe they’re torn.

“It’s just… they’re too plain… that’s why I bought new ones last month.”

Hm, I guess she does have a point. The beige color is pretty uninteresting and the design falls flat, not to mention the cut is not very flattering…

“Wait—why does it matter what underwear you’re wearing when you’re going a trip with Hisao?!” I put my hands on my hips and give her a questioning look.

“It’s just personal preference, okay? That’s all, okay, nothing else… “

Emi’s immediate and bashful response confirms my suspicions. “Emi Ibaraz-”

*Ring Ring*

“Hisao!” Emi bolts from the room, both out of excitement to see her boyfriend and no doubt partly to escape questioning. Looks like Emi was quite literally saved by the bell.

I make my way downstairs just in time to see Emi unlocking the door and swinging it open to greet her special someone.

Hisao stands in the doorway, hiding something behind his back with one arm while using the other to give us a friendly wave.

“Hisao!” Emi practically lunges at him, causing him to almost stumble backwards. He returns the hug with his free arm and plants a soft kiss on her forehead. “Hey yourself.”
The sight fills me with nostalgia about teenage love.


After exchanging their moment, Hisao looks up to greet me with a small bow. He reveals that the mysterious item behind his back is in fact a small potted red flower, which he holds out to me with both hands.

“I brought one of my mother’s Poinsettia flowers, she grows them as Christmas decorations around this time of year. I know it’s not much, but hopefully it keeps you company while I steal Emi for my family trip, Mrs. Ibarazaki.”

“Oooh exotic, your mother must be quite the gardener.” I cheerfully accept his gift, the peculiar foreign plant proving to contrast nicely with the colors of my home. “Oh please Hisao, wanting to spend the holidays with Emi is nothing to apologize for. I can survive a couple of days without my daughter.”

I invite Hisao inside while Emi rushes upstairs to finish packing her bag, setting the flowerpot on a shelf next to some family pictures. “Don’t feel like you’re ‘stealing’ Emi away too much, she may have acted like she was still indecisive during the call but she was practically jumping around the whole day after you two hung up.”

Hisao is no stranger to our home, we invite him to have dinner with us quite often since he started dating Emi, yet despite all that he still has the need to act as a respectful first-time guest whenever he’s here. I like that about him, although I do wish he was more comfortable around me — considering how much he has helped my daughter deal with some past ghosts, I’ve already accepted him as part of the family.

“I know, I know. It’s just… Emi has told me about how you two always celebrate Christmas together every year without fail, so it still feels kinda wrong to leave you alone in this one with such a short notice.”

“Oh? And who said I was going to be alone?” I quip back with a small smirk on my lips. “You didn’t seriously think I hadn’t prepared for this day, right?”

Hisao raises an inquisitive eyebrow, probably trying to decipher my vague statement.

“C’mon, I was Emi’s age once too, and when I met her father, woo did I fall hard for him. I started celebrating everything with him rather than my family, so I knew to expect the same thing from Emi once she found that kind of love.”

I’m happy for her, it was about time that she started lowering those walls of hers and invite others in, as well as step out of them herself for once. Seeing her and Hisao together brings back huge waves of nostalgia at times, and I get the unusual episode of deja vu here and there from their interactions. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree it seems.

“So you had a contingency plan?” He asks after he gives some thought to what I said.

I cover my lips with my hand as I giggle softly, ‘contingency plan’ is one way of putting it I suppose. “Yes, you could call it that. But I can’t give more details, a woman has to remain mysterious sometimes.”

“I’M READY!” Emi’s cheerful voice interjects our conversation before he has the chance to ask any more questions, the clicking sound of her prosthetics rapidly approaching down the stairs.
“You two should get going then, one more second and Emi might implode out of anticipation. Now go and show my daughter a good time.” I gesture him to keep our conversation a secret for now, placing one finger over my lips and giving him a wink just as Emi steps into the living room. “Not too good though, make sure to stay safe.”

“Relax mom, I’m just staying over at Hisao’s house for Christmas, not going on some extreme hike up a treacherous mountain.”

“I know silly, you know that’s not the kind of ‘safety’ I meant. Or should I just be straightforward and say ‘protection’, Ms. Can’t-Find-My-Cute-Underwear.” I cross my arms as I jab back at her sass. I guess I can’t fault her too much, it’s not like her father and I were exactly withholding when it came to intimacy at her age, but I can at least make sure she’s not doing anything stupid.

I should know, I am rather young for having a 19-year-old daughter after all.

“M-Mom!!” Her cheeks go bright red as she clutches her bag tightly, unable to find anything to say back. Hisao isn’t doing that much better either, his whole ‘looking off to the side to avoid eye contact’ schtick isn’t exactly subtle.

The car waiting outside honks their horn twice as a reminder of their existence, which provides a chance for my daughter to pull one of her escapes on me. “Wouldn’t want to keep Hisao's parents waiting too long, we better hurry!” She lifts her chin up to plant a prompt kiss on my cheek before she takes a hold of Hisao’s hand and makes a break for it through the door. “Love you mom!” she shouts just before she takes shelter inside the car.

“Don’t worry Mrs. Ibarazaki, we’ll be alright, enjoy the holidays!” Hisao bids me goodbye as he too joins her in the back seats. The car pulls out of the driveway, and off they go.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Papers papers papers.

My entire day up until now has consisted of nothing but revising paper documents and making sure everything in the medical wing is in order. The students may have gone home for the holidays, but that doesn’t mean my work is over. If anything, I am the busiest I’ve ever been the entire year.

I was supposed to join Meiko and Emi for Christmas today for the first time, but Emi called me a few days ago to inform me that they were going to have to cancel those plans. Something about having to meet Hisao’s parents and celebrating at their place instead. I was dejected to have plans I was looking forward to get canceled on such a short notice, but I am happy for Emi. Those two are good for each other’s health, I’m glad they’re still going strong.

And so, having nothing better to do during this period of holidays, I told the other few staff members in the medical wing to stay home for Christmas Eve, offering to do their jobs for them just for today so that they could spend more time with their families. It took me all day from morning until late afternoon, but I got everything done. Perhaps too fast for my own good, because now I still have half the day left with nothing else to do.

I feel my phone vibrate in my pocket, pulling it out to reveal that the caller ID is none other than Meiko. I flip it open to answer, my mood immediately improving just from this small occurrence.

“Meiko, hey! I was just finishing up here at the office, what’s up?” It feels good to have someone I can be more casual with, rather than having to keep my professional composure around students. Well, half professional, I can’t help but still banter with them from time to time.

“Hey! I’m glad you picked up, I was actually calling to ask when you would be getting off work, I had something to ask.”

Her tone sounds kind of… expectant, but I withhold from getting my hopes up too much. I could just be projecting what I hope to hear. “Well I’m just locking up the place, I should be out in a few minutes in fact.”

“Oh? That’s great! Uhm, remember the Christmas dinner we had planned before?”

Okay, she definitely does sound nervous, which is quite the surprise to hear from Meiko of all people. “Of course, shame it got canceled, I was looking forward to it.”

“Well, I was thinking, even if Emi isn’t here, I still have all these ingredients I bought in preparation for the dinner and set up decorations and…”

She goes quiet for a few seconds, trailing off her words. “Meiko?”

“Oh god, I’m sorry, I haven’t done this in so long and I don’t know what’s gotten into me. Basically, uh, I was wondering…”

The line goes silent again for a second or two, but given my anticipation and what I believe she might be getting to, they felt more like a solid minute of waiting.

“Well… why don’t you come over and we can celebrate just the two of us?”
Last edited by gibzx on Tue Jun 19, 2018 4:07 am, edited 2 times in total.
"You are a beautiful person, Hisao. Please, never apologize for that."--Lilly

Downix
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Re: Empty Nest for the Holidays — A tremendously late 8S story for Scratchminus

Post by Downix » Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:26 am

“Relax mom, I’m just staying over at Hisao’s house for Christmas, not going on some extreme hike up a treacherous mountain.”
Ha! This line kept me laughing for far longer than I should have.

Well written!

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calcifer
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Re: Empty Nest for the Holidays — A tremendously late 8S story for Scratchminus

Post by calcifer » Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:12 am

Cute story! Though I wish there was one more scene with the Christmas dinner as well. Oh well :)
gibzx wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:39 pm
“Relax mom, I’m just staying over at Hisao’s house for Christmas, not going on some extreme hike up a treacherous mountain.”
Is that an Ascent reference? :)
gibzx wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:39 pm
“Mrs. Can’t-Find-My-Cute-Underwear.”
Ms.
Shizune = Rin > Emi > Hanako > Lilly
FluffandCrunch wrote: Every day is a gift, every hour is golden, every minute is a diamond. Life is wonderful, if you have the courage to live it.

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Craftyatom
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Re: Empty Nest for the Holidays — A tremendously late 8S story for Scratchminus

Post by Craftyatom » Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:53 pm

Ah, Christmas in June... Better late than never! :P

Seriously, though, you did a good job with this one. Emi and Hisao were characterized excellently - the opening really resonated with me (the "frantically trying to find clothes to pack only to find that they were dirty" part, not the underwear part), and Hisao's tone with Meiko fit really well. Nurse's internal monologue was fitting, especially during the call. Meiko seemed a bit off, but I gather that that was intentional, given the circumstances. (By the way, I see you never had her address Nurse directly, thus avoiding the "do I give him an actual name" debate - and I'd be a hypocrite to call you wrong for doing so!) The ending was very open to interpretation, which is a bit unsatisfying, in my opinion, but also perfectly understandable in a short piece like this. All in all, a nice, relaxing, slice-of-life story.
calcifer wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:12 am
gibzx wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:39 pm
“Relax mom, I’m just staying over at Hisao’s house for Christmas, not going on some extreme hike up a treacherous mountain.”
Is that an Ascent reference? :)
Can confirm, it's an intentional reference.
Main route: COM(promise)
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calcifer
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Re: Empty Nest for the Holidays — A tremendously late 8S story for Scratchminus

Post by calcifer » Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:49 pm

Craftyatom wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:53 pm
By the way, I see you never had her address Nurse directly, thus avoiding the "do I give him an actual name" debate - and I'd be a hypocrite to call you wrong for doing so!)
I think it was an excellent way to handle this. The POV switch was timed perfectly; just as Meiko needs to refer to him we switch to his side, neatly sidestepping the issue :)
Shizune = Rin > Emi > Hanako > Lilly
FluffandCrunch wrote: Every day is a gift, every hour is golden, every minute is a diamond. Life is wonderful, if you have the courage to live it.

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Mirage_GSM
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Re: Empty Nest for the Holidays — A tremendously late 8S story for Scratchminus

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:44 am

It's nice that these are still coming in.
I updated the Story Collection thread with the link to this one.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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Re: Empty Nest for the Holidays — A tremendously late 8S story for Scratchminus

Post by Oddball » Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:00 pm

Well, that was cute.
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