~Behind my scars, Ch. 3: From Scotland to Hokkaido
“Is that one it?” I ask.
“Nah. The company colours are all wrong.” says Hisao.
I frown. Lilly’s been away for a week, and now that Hisao and I are at the airport, it feels like time is standing still. The last three planes weren’t carrying the precious cargo I’m waiting for, and if it doesn’t come soon...I’ll..I’ll...
“Hey! I think that’s it!” Hisao points up in the sky. The approaching mass of metal bears the correct company logo. I’ve never been made so happy by an emblem before. My eyes remain fixed on the plane as it comes in for landing, then shift to look past the glass doors of the entrance to scan the faces for my blind friend. Time passes, made all the more stale by what I'm expecting.
“Lilly!” I shout, louder than I expected myself to. As she and her sister walk away from the glass doors of the entrance, I run to meet them with Hisao in tow.
“Is that Hanako I hear?” Her answer is my arms around her. She returns the gesture without a second thought.
“I missed you..” I say.
“I missed you too, Hanako.” Her voice is gentle, but a hint of strain in it worries me.
“Are you all right?” she nods.
“Just a bit of jet lag.”
“A-all right...Well it’s the long weekend now, right? So..”
“Yes, my sleep will be a bit off for now, but it should be corrected in time for classes.”
Always doing her best to stay on top of her school and responsibilities. Admirable, through and through. I break away from Lilly and suffice to stand next to her.
“How was your trip?” asks Hisao.
“Oh, is that Hisao? Glad you could make it. My trip was refreshing, thank you.”
“Yeah, I wouldn’t miss this. And your aunt?”
“She will be fine.” Lilly offers a sincere smile.
“Glad to hear it.”
“M-Me too...” I add. I didn’t mean to say it, just thinking out loud.
“Thank you both.”
“Hey! I had a great time, too, thanks for asking, guys!” says Akira.
Lilly giggles, and Hisao chuckles. I was worried we’d offended her until they did.
“Any plans for the holiday, Akira?” asks Hiaso.
“I do, actually. Got some plans with my boyfriend.” she smiles.
“And I have an idea for us, if neither of you are busy.” says Lilly to Hisao and me.
“I have no plans.” says Hisao.
“N-Neither do I.” I say.
“Splendid!” Lilly claps her hands together once to illustrate her excitement. “Then perhaps you’d like to join me to my family’s summer home?”
“Summer home? Where is that?” asks Hisao.
“Up north in Hokkaido. The place is practically deserted, so it should be a nice quiet break for you guys.” says Akira.
“Cool. We’ll be sure to keep it tidy.” says Hisao. Akira seems delighted that he did, too.
“Sweet. I thought you might have a problem with a little dusting; glad you’re a better sport than that!” Akira boasts an admittedly manly chuckle. She really doesn’t make an effort to ever be...girly...does she? “But anyway, I gotta get going. See ya in a few days, guys!”
“Already? Akira...” Lilly sighs when she hears her sister’s retreating footsteps.
“It does sound like it’ll be a nice place to go.” I say, trying to lighten the mood. It has the desired effect, and Lilly and Hisao offer me their usual smiles. Lilly goes to grab her bags, and I reflexively move to help. Before I can, Hisao cuts between me and the bag I was reaching for. I look at him, confused, and he just smiles at me.
“I got this.” says Hisao. I smile.
“You’re s-sweet..” I say. Lilly giggles.
“You two make a cute couple.”
I can tell my face is going to be red for most of the trip home.
The train ride here was insanely drone. I don’t think I’ve played so many games of cards in one sitting before...Which is probably because I don’t play cards often, but still!
The biggest challenge was subtly redirecting the conversation whenever it came anywhere near the relationship between Hisao and me. I shouldn’t be worried about the topic, but I feel like I want to sit down with Lilly and discuss everything...Well, maybe not that Hisao took my..
“It feels great to stretch my legs again.” says Hisao while stretching his arms up. He then picks up his luggage and the three of us walk off the train platform. It isn’t long before we reach the Satou’s summer home. Hisao looks like he wants to hold my hand, but I’ve been holding on to Lilly to help guide her. I shoot him a look of apology as we walk up to the door. Once inside, we take our bags to where they belong.
“I take it I’m sleeping out on the futon?” asks Hisao with a tinge of disappointment.
“I hope you don’t mind.” says Lilly apologetically. Hisao rubs the back of his head.
“I was kind of hoping I would...Uh...Have a place to cuddle with Hanako.”
My face had been normally coloured for a while. I was enjoying that.
“H-H-Hisao!” I protest. Lilly is taken off guard.
“Oh, I...I didn’t mean to offend.” says Lilly.
“L-Lilly, i-it’s o-okay...” I say.
“Nah, don’t sweat it, Lilly. I was just making a fuss.”
...I think Lilly finds his joke funnier than I do.
“Dinner’s on!” says Lilly, calling Hisao from the living room. I carry over the pot of cooked rice to the table and set it down in the centre of the three sets of silverware that outline each of our plates, which sit next to the small bowls for soup. I always have enjoyed cooking. Even just helping Lilly is enough to get my mind off things and have a little fun. Hisao dutifully comes in from the living room and takes his seat. Lilly brings in a pot of soup, and I go back into the kitchen to retrieve the platter of chicken breasts.
“Wow, looks great, girls.”
“Thank you, Hisao.” says Lilly.
“T-Thanks..” I say.
Lilly and I take our seats, and my companions help themselves. I wait until they have taken their share before I take mine. I don’t notice at first, but after a few minutes, it is clear that there is an awkward air around us. Everyone has something they want to say, but nobody is going to take the initiative.
It makes me consider the way I feel about being open with respect to my relationship with Hisao. It isn’t that I’m in any way ashamed...I love Hisao, even if I can’t say it without stuttering. Yet I can’t talk about it openly around anyone except Hisao...That doesn’t make anything wrong between us, does it?
“So, Hisao,” Oh no. Lilly’s curious. “How many people know so far?”
“Oh, uh,” He rubs the back of his head. “Funny you should ask that. There was a bit of an incident when Hanako and I showed up to class together.”
“Oh? I don’t see how that would be a big deal.”
“W-We were...uhm...H-Holding hands..” I say. I should just let it get out in the open, or this awkwardness will never cease...Lilly seems a bit too pleased by my statement, judging from her giggle.
“Oh my. You two are a wonderful match.”
“Heh, thanks. We haven’t been together for very long, but I try to spend as much time as I can with her.” Hisao smiles. “Right, Hanako?”
“R..Right..” I smile back to him, even if my face is cherry-red. Lilly is positively beaming.
Dinner continues with a much lighter air. Things didn’t delve as deeply as I thought they mi–
“So, Hisao...What was it that helped you realize your feelings for Hanako?” Hisao is understandably taken aback. I think it’s understandable that I am, too.
“Hmm...I’d say that first it was the conversation the two of us had together. I went to go talk to Hanako after that, and the conversation got very...” He pauses. “Passionate.” This is one moment that I’m glad Lilly can’t see my expression. He is pushing very close into dangerous territory...It’s not that I mind if Lilly knows that we made love. But I want to discuss that with Hisao before we even think about bringing it up.
“I can only imagine.” Lilly nods. “And so is that when you two got together?” Hisao shakes his head. I don’t know why he does that when he talks to Lilly.
“No. The next day, I was still pretty emotionally stressed. I sent Hanako a message to come meet me, and we talked again. That’s where everything was laid on the table, I guess.” The reminder of that event is bittersweet. I don’t want to remember that horrid feeling in my gut I felt when I was so convinced that I’d messed everything up...Then again, the feeling I got when he held me and said that he loves me for the first time was a perfect foil to that...I never wanted it to end.
“I...I-I’ll admit t-that I cried...”
“I..uh...I did, too...Just a little, though.” Hisao’s blush is cute. It brings up my mood a bit.
“I see...” Lilly takes a good few moments to consider what we’ve told her.
“I’d say that is when we got together.”
“I...I think I m-made it official w-when I...k-kissed you.”
“You kissed Hisao? My my, Hanako. That was quite bold of you. I’m proud.” Lilly giggles.
Even though I’m blushing, I find her praise to be quite rewarding. I want to be able to be a good girlfriend for Hisao...My blush isn’t getting and better with these thoughts. I give a soft thanks, and the conversation dries up, but not awkwardly so. The air between us lingers and we happily finish our dinner, and clean up with nothing but small talk.
With dusk already passed, find that I’m struggling to keep my eyes open. Once I don my nightgown and return to the living room, I’m met by Lilly and Hisao sitting on the futon.
“...Are you sure, Lilly? I really didn’t mean anything by my comment this morning.” says Hisao.
“I’m quite sure.”
“W..S-Sure of what?” They both turn to me, though Lilly’s eyes miss my figure by a few inches. I’m more than used to that, and wouldn’t have noticed if I wasn’t staring at her.
“I’ve decided to take the futon tonight. You and Hisao may have the bedroom.” Lilly offers a genuine smile.
Hisao is blushing, but not nearly as much as I am.
“Just...Keep in mind that I have exquisite hearing, yes? I won’t be very pleased to hear any buckling of the bed’s springs.”
...Is it possible to contract a fever from severe blushing?
-Ch. 3, Fin
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