Shadows, and Those Who Step Into Them

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VenDash
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Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:29 pm

Re: Shadows, and Those Who Step Into Them

Post by VenDash » Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:01 am

Part 1, Chapter 5- Quartet Till the End of Time

Classes for the rest of the day proceeded without difficulty. When the final bell rang, Makoto, Ken, Hikari and Reina met outside of the classroom. Each looked excited about their trek into the town. Ken was the first to speak between the four. "We ready to mosey?" he asked the others. They nodded, and the group left the school grounds and made way onto the main street leading into town.

The sun was just beginning to droop over the horizon, and the sky had turned a bright orange. Trees were darted across the vast countryside, cherry blossoms beginning to bloom on some of them. The sight was certainly one to behold.

"This isn't something you see everyday back where I'm from, that's for sure," Makoto broke the silence that had taken hold of the four. They looked at him, waiting for him to go on. "Oh, well, I'm from way up north. It's nothing like this there," he explained.

Reina seemed the most interested in this rather mundane piece of information. "How far north did you live? I ask because I live near Akita," she said.

Makoto was caught a bit off guard. He didn't expect to create a whole conversation tangent with one simple tangent. "I was about half an hour away from Yamagata," he replied.

Upon hearing this, Reina let out a snicker. "Hah, I got you beat in the 'who's the farthest north' contest!"

"I guess I'm the only small towner, huh?" Ken chimed into the conversation. "I mean, Hikari's from Osaka, right?" he looked to her for some sort of confirmation.

Hikari smirked as the focus of conversation was shifted to her. "Yeah, I am. Lived in the same apartment my whole life," she said. She seemed to be less stiff than she had been recently. "It wasn't anything special, really. It's just like any other place."

The four kept chatting as they entered town. Ken was constantly looking at street signs to get a bearing on where they were and where they needed to go. Even though he said he knew where the shop was, he looked awfully lost. "Um.... well, I could've swore it was near the convenience store we just passed," he rubbed his chin in thought.

The others had stopped in their tracks a few dozen yards though and were waving to Ken, who didn't notice them. He was right with his intuition; the tea shop was near the convenience store. He had just walked right by it, in fact.

"Ken!" Makoto, Reina, and Hikari shouted in unison.

This finally caught the young man's attention. Ken whirled around and saw the others pointing to a strange, oriental looking building they were by. "Wait a sec... that's it?" he thought aloud. He walked back to regroup with his friends.

Makoto gazed at the tea shop with intrigue. "It's called the Shanghai, apparently. Wonder if they have genuine Chinese tea here, then," he said. Just like before, he got questioning looks urging him on. A grin spread across his lips before he continued, "My mom's a tea freak, so I've tried all sorts of different kinds of brews."

The others made various "oohs" and "ahhs." They began to file into the shop, but not before Hikari walked behind Makoto's wheelchair and began pushing him. He quickly raised a hand in protest and faced her, though. "I'm fine on my own. Don't worry," he said.

Hikari moved her hands away from the wheel chair and shrugged. "Sorry, I was just trying to help," she replied. She followed Reina and Ken into the shop.

"Dammit, I shouldn't have done that," Makoto thought. He entered the shop, taking in the various decor.

Despite the name implying an oriental theme of store, the choice of decoration was mostly European. The scent of a multitude of teas lingered in the air, giving the place an almost musty aroma. A small sign that hung on a nearby wall instructed customers to wait to be seated. Makoto looked around for any hosts, but none were to be found. "How're we supposed to get a seat if there's no-"

"H-hello!" a young woman jumped up from behind a small podium, nearly hitting her head on it as she rose. "Welcome to the Shanghai!" she gave a quick bow. She wore what appeared to be the waitress's uniform for the shop, as well as a pair of rectangle rimmed glasses. Freckles were spread across her cheeks, and her brown hair was tied back. "Follow me please," she said as she led the students to a booth.

As they took their seats, Hikari's attention seemed fixated on the waitress. "You look familiar," she said. She closed her eye in thought for a few moments, before clapping her hands together, signaling a realization. "That's right, you're the librarian at Yamaku. Yuuko, right?"

The waitress's cheeks flushed as she bowed again. "Y-yes, that's correct. I'm working two jobs so I can get through university," she replied. Her explanation, though unasked for, was at the very least enlightening.

Ken appeared to be shocked that the woman would have enough time to work two jobs and still manage to attend university. "Wow, um... I'll have a cup of black coffee, please."

"Camomile tea for me," Hikari said.

Reina ordered next, "I'll have a slice of whatever cake you guys have, please!"

Makoto appeared to still be thinking about what he wanted. "Um.... hm, decisions, decisions," he muttered. "I suppose I'll have some ginseng tea."

Yuuko was scribbling furiously on a notepad, letting out groans of frustration every now and again. She finished taking down their orders and rushed back to take care of them. Surprisingly, it only took a few minutes before she was back with the drinks and cake. "Enjoy," she scurried off back to whatever she was doing before.

"So, why do you take your coffee black?" Makoto asked Ken. It was definitely odd for someone at their age to drink something so bitter and enjoy it.

Ken smiled wide enough that it could be seen around his mug. "It's a man's drink! Only wusses put cream and sugar in their coffee," he mused. "Nah, I'm just playin'. I honestly don't know why, I just like it. I mean, why do you like ginseng tea?"

"Because the herbs in it are a nice pick-me-up," Makoto replied simply. If he was going to make friends, the least he could do was be honest with them about things as trivial as that. Ken appeared surprised that he could come up with such a direct answer. "Alright, let's make a trend. Why camomile tea?" he asked as he turned to Hikari.

She sipped from her cup before responding. "It relaxes me. Relieves stress and whatnot," she said. She definitely did sound a lot calmer and at ease, even compared to the way she sounded on the way there. "You're up next, Reina."

Reina had already finished her cake and was busy stretching out her arm. "I just felt like getting something to eat. It's a day to day thing for me I guess!" she shrugged, grinning wide.

The others finished their drinks, chatting idly as they did. Makoto, though, appeared lost in his thoughts, as was becoming usual for him. "I wonder if this is what it's like to have actual friends. At least, I hope that they're actually my friends... There've been plenty of people in my life who think smiling for me'll cheer me up, that's for sure. Just once, I'd like to think that they're smiling because they actually enjoy this."

It wouldn't be just once.

iamjagman
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:27 pm

Re: Shadows, and Those Who Step Into Them

Post by iamjagman » Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:43 am

All of these so far are pretty amazing. You have some real writing skills there.

Can't wait till the next chapter.

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