Re: Hanako's Story (UPDATED 20/06/2014)
Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 5:20 am
Right then, I'll admit that I didn't expect to write this so soon after my previous announcement, but I had a lot of time on my hands yesterday evening since seeing England do so poorly in their World Cup game basically meant I had no interest in watching us getting hammered. Seriously, we're terrible, and I'm not even a massive fan of football... Anyhow, I had time to get through this penultimate chapter, and despite saying before I wanted to release it simultaneously on all three sites I decided I'd give both the Escapist and the KS Forums an early release. I'll try and get it up on FF.net later, since the work computers won't let me access that site - a trip to the library is probably in order to use their internet connection...
Act 4 – Chapter Six, Third Branch: White Queen Offensive
My mind resolved, at least a little more than it was before (though admittedly that's not saying much), I still end up arriving late to class. A queue for the showers is to blame, considering I normally end up either first by a considerable margin, or last by a narrower time frame, due almost entirely to my condition.
In any case, I manage to arrive before Mutou-sensei, without being early enough to avoid the usual stares from a few of my classmates (a practice that thankfully subsided considerably after the first few weeks of being at Yamaku, but still has a few hangers-on, particularly from those who came to this school after I did). Sometimes, rarely, I start to think everyone is used to it by now, seeing my scars, but then the worries kick in and I'm back to my stressed, withdrawn self. Now it's getting better, but it's still always hard work to force my mind back to a calm state of being.
As I enter I notice Hisao almost immediately. Our eyes meet, and I see him frozen, as if the two of us have switched places. It's not like him, and the sudden role reversal almost feels creepy. I say nothing, and make my way to my seat without a second glance.
What must he be thinking?
The day passes uneventfully, and I barely speak to Hisao in all that time. We spend lunch together, but it seems so awkward. It feels like a dull pressure on my heart, making it ache ever so slightly. Every time I think of talking to him, a lump forms in my throat and I'm unable to form the words.
I realise now how lonely I've been, all this time. Having had a taste of friendship from Lilly and Akira, and possibly something more from Hisao, I understand what I was missing. And I miss it now. Deeper down, though, a nasty suspicion lurks, that he's just following the role of protector as I once believed Lilly to be doing too. If he is, and he only cares enough to want to wrap me up in cotton and keep me safe, then we can never be anything more than this. Still, the little things, like the phone charm, are enough to convince my conscious mind of his genuine nature, regardless of what my subconscious thinks.
The contradictions surface again! My mind is uneasy, yet I justify everything to myself to try and quell any fears and doubts, and again I chase myself in circles. He mentioned the library earlier, and I make a decision, to finally face my fears, to focus myself and perform the boldest move yet, in approaching him directly and asking him to spend time with me. No hesitation, no feeble attempts to back out of my own choice. If he won't take the leap, then I'll have to instead.
He's sitting in the same space as always. “A-are you busy...?”
“Hanako!?” His reaction is one of surprise, and I back away just a little. He didn't expect me to come to him here, with so many people in the library. Then again, neither did I. “Sorry, you just startled me.”
Hisao pauses a little, then whips his head around quickly, looking back at the book he was reading before I turned up. I wait with patience, knowing that he's not paying attention to the text - I've used the same tactic myself many times before, usually with greater success, to deter people from staying and trying to talk. It may sound like ignorance, but to me it was usually closer to blessed peace. At any rate, after a moment or two he stops trying to read and, with a sigh, closes the book. “What's up?”
I'm not entirely sure how to answer, now the first step has been made. I'm effectively riding on the wind, hoping I can fly. “I was just... w-wondering what you were r-reading...” He gets up without answering and puts the book back on the shelf.
“Just an English textbook.” I think, upon hearing his reply, how Lilly would be the perfect tutor for that subject. I can't exactly say my own English is very good, but with Lilly's help I've certainly improved over the course of my studies.
“H-has it helped?”
“It helped me realise that I don't like English, yeah.” Again, Lilly would be the ideal remedy to that condition. It eases me enough that I return to the same state I've felt so often recently and never before, a small giggle escaping my lips.
As I laugh, however quietly (we are in a library after all), I see Hisao looking at me again, a very minor look of confusion on his face. It's concerning. “I-is something... wrong?”
His answer throws me, yet positively. “Hey Hanako, do you mind if I ask you a question?”
“I-I don't mind.”
“I... want to know what your life was like. Your life before coming to Yamaku.” He speaks plainly, and although I've touched on aspects before I've never gone into even the barest amount of detail about my life before this. Is Hisao actually... treating me as an equal? Well, not before time. I think long and hard before I answer, not exactly questioning my decision to let myself get so close, but rather wondering if I trust myself enough to reveal myself in such a way. Eventually, a single nod signifies my consent. With a condition, that is. If he considers me an equal...
“Okay. B-but in return... you have to t-tell me about your life as well...” I stammer less, I notice, and speak relatively firmly. I feel resolute as I utter the words. Hisao nods, and I start to walk away, as he follows, so we can avoid disturbing our fellow students as they study (and also hopefully avoid any eavesdroppers, like Misha for example, from hearing me talk about my old life...). I don't know where this will end, but I realise that this is just the kind of opportunity I was thinking about following our 'date' in the city. I'm glad, however tentatively, for taking it.
“I guess...” he starts, “we'll start with coming to Yamaku.” I listen in silence. “Let's see... I was in the hospital when my parents first told me about Yamaku Academy. The doctors told me I shouldn't go to my old school any more. My parents agreed and persuaded me to apply for Yamaku, even though it would mean living away from them for the first time.”
There's a note of bitterness, but not as much as I've heard in others, nor in Hisao himself when we first met. He was as reluctant to open up back then as I was, as I still am in fact. To my ears, it sounds as if he's accepted his place here, whether to a greater or lesser extent. “It must have... been hard for you.”
“Well... yeah, I have to admit that it was. My parents both work long hours and full-time, so having to live reasonably independently wasn't anything new to me. It was the fact that I was going to a school for disabled students that hit hardest, I think.” I can understand, and it seems my guess to the mildly bitter tone in the voice was correct. “And you?”
Before I can answer, a small group walks by, and I react on pure instinct, pushing close to Hisao. Or is it just instinct? I'm not certain, but it feels like an impulse in my mind telling me, “take the chance, take the opportunity”. His body is warm and comforting, but it's not just the safety that attracts me to his side. My subconscious mind acts and begins to reconcile with the decisions I've consciously made in recent days, to become more bold and to use my initiative, something so rarely exercised before.
Clutching Hisao's arm, not too tightly, I reply to his previous query. “The staff at the o-orphanage offered me some options on what I could do. Middle school... hadn't been good, so I thought that Yamaku might be better. It was isolated, and I thought it might be easier to get by here with most of the others being disabled.”
I wonder if he realises the irony, that we bonded so much despite having such different reasons to come here. Polar opposites, in fact. My condition is mostly external, the mental situation aside, while for Hisao it's completely internal (other than the operation scars). Although we both had troubles fitting in, even if my difficulty was so much more pronounced than his. I conveniently 'forgot' to mention, for that matter, just how tough it ended up being for me.
“What was life like at the orphanage?”
“It was... okay. The staff there were nice, and they took care of us. The children there didn't talk to me much, but I didn't really want to talk with them either, so I didn't mind.” They were never the problem. They had to live with me, so they grew to tolerate me at least. As for the staff, even if they didn't actively help me or do much to dissuade the few bullies, they were decent enough. I felt safe, and almost happy with them. School was the problem, being out there in the world and having to face the prejudice so inherent in our society, more so in Japan. Teachers and children alike, with no obligation to support me and a matter of honour to shun me.
I return my thoughts to a better frame of mind, as I continue. “The orphanage had a little library, so I started to read to pass the time. The staff didn't mind it, because it made me easier to handle than many of the other children.”
“You didn't make any friends there?”
I didn't, but it's something I accepted long ago. “No. I think... my life was on hold... during that time. I knew that, but I didn't mind.”
We leave the main building and wander into the main courtyard, the school behind us with the dormitory wings on either side. The sky is orange, a bright sunset framing the scene. I can't avoid glancing at Hisao, but he looks away. Why? Could it be out of nerves, awkwardness, or something else? His face gives nothing away, and I look elsewhere myself, avoiding the hypocrisy of staring.
I ask him, “What was it like in the hospital?”
He waits for a moment, before resuming the discussion. “It was okay at times, but at others it was pretty bad. At the beginning, everyone sent their sympathies, and came to visit often. It was just like breaking an arm or something.” His simile is lost on me, as I've never broken a limb, nor had the same kind of care from others when in hospital. I was too young to really remember much of my time there, but what I do remember is enough. Certainly I didn't get visitors, my parents having died and whatever other relatives I had deciding to wash their hands of me.
“Meeting all my friends,” he continues, “was one of the good times. Iwanako came in often as well; more often than anyone else.” At her name, I expect the usual pang of jealousy, but this time it doesn't come. Perhaps because I realise, I'm closer now to Hisao than she ever was. I don't think this in a malicious or selfish way, more so in a statement of the facts. I've spent more time with Hisao these past few weeks, without him being in a hospital bed, but actually doing things and building that friendship. If things had been different, I may never have even met him, and none of this would matter.
“But there were bad times, too. When my friends slowly stopped visiting, I began to realise how grave my situation was. It reminded me that this wasn't just a broken limb, but that I was now a different person than before. Even the times Iwanako would spend with me became torturous. By the end, we were reduced to silence, whereas before, she'd be talking constantly.” Hearing him speak is such an insight into the slow decay of so many friendships, so many relationships, and it hurts me to hear him, the bitterness creeping back slowly. However, I promised to listen, to allow him to bare himself mentally in return for me doing the same. I asked for it, and it would be a poor decision to back away now. The pain needs to be shared.
“I think the three lowest points would have been when my parents told me I wouldn't be going to my old school any more, my birthday passing while I was in the hospital, and... when Iwanako left for the last time.” Jealousy aside, whatever I may feel, I can't deny that one's first love will always be something memorable, something to cherish in the darkest times and mourn the end of.
We head through the gardens, leaving the busy school behind us and passing into a quieter environment. “What was your middle school like?” I ask Hisao. I have no desire to relive my own middle school memories, but I'm interested to hear of his.
“I liked it. I grew up in a really metropolitan area, and the middle school was nearby, so it was pretty crowded. I didn't mind it, probably because I'm used to being in crowds and around lots of other people.” What seems like hell to me is heaven to him. Yet another contrast, yet another way we fit together like a jigsaw puzzle despite the differences between us. “I got good marks, and I played soccer with my friends. I spent a fair bit of time hanging out with them after school as well. Did get teased a bit over my hair, though.”
Now I'm the one puzzled. “Your hair?” I frown slightly. It looks fine to me.
“I'd keep getting tufts and strands that refused to flatten or stay where I wanted them,” he says, “and my mother wouldn't let me just get my hair shaved.” As he speaks, he puts a hand to his head, seemingly out of habit rather than any real need to flatten his apparently unruly locks. “It had a habit of popping out, no matter how much I tried to brush it down.”
I can see what he means, it does look a bit messy, but not really anything I noticed before now. Definitely not as bad as he's claiming. Then again... “It still does, a little.”
“I was worried I'd get that reply.”
I'm not sure how to react. “S-sorry, I didn't mean to...!” He laughs a little and waves a hand, brushing away any offence.
“It's fine, I know it still does.” I laugh as well, only a bit, but enough to show I realise he was joking. Not that I realised before, and I muse briefly how that would have been obvious to anyone other than me, but at least I'm in a position now where I can start to learn these aspects of social conventions, and become more natural in the way I act.
Our journey has looped around now, through the gardens and grounds and back to the courtyard. We walk towards the girls' dormitories, not with any clear direction but more out of a natural progression. I still cling to Hisao's arm, out of affection as much as for protection, and it's comforting to me to know he's not pushing me away. We enter the building, passing another small group that drives me closer to Hisao, and we continue up the stairs. I realise now, whether intentionally or not, I've been leading the way the whole time.
This is a new development.
“Why did we come to your dormitory room?” he asks me, and I think of an answer. I suppose my subconscious mind brought us here, to seek out and take the opportunity that I wished would come, to bare myself to Hisao not just in a mental sense, but to show him just how deeply my scars lie.
“Hanako?” He stops as we reach the door to my room, while I look straight ahead, still nervous about answering the question. I hesitate, unsure whether to say anything, then decide not to and open the door. He follows me in, as I hoped he would, and as he waits I turn to look at him directly. Before he has the chance, I finally start to speak.
“Could you... close and lock the door?”
I do this knowing exactly where it might lead. Education on... that topic... has been an important part of the Yamaku curriculum in previous semesters, considering that although technically against the rules, the faculty are well aware of what may happen when several dozen teenagers (almost all going through the same bodily changes regardless of the state of said bodies) share living space together. If I didn't want this, on some mental level, then I would never have brought him here. If nothing happens, then no harm done, and if it does... well, that's a hurdle we can cross when we reach it. Or am I reading too deeply into this...?
As he turns the key, I first remove my shoes, then place one hand on my heart, and move it towards the buttons on my blouse. The other hand is on the other side of my breast, pausing, undoing the top buttons, stopping after the first. Hisao returns and looks across, stopping dead in his tracks as I remember the windows and move to close the curtains. My back is directed to him, my fingers deftly continuing to undo at least the top few buttons, leaving the highest part of my blouse loose save for the ribbon at my throat. I make a concerted effort not to stammer or allow my voice to falter in any way as I speak, forcing myself to be calm.
“You told me about your past, so I have to tell you mine.” That was the agreement we made, and it's something I wouldn't have done if I didn't feel confident enough to be so honest with him. I take a deep breath, move my fingers to the piece of cloth around my neck, and pull away the knot keeping it secure.
“H-Hanako...” Now he's the one stammering. It starts to drive me back towards my own impediment of speech, yet I remain focused. It gives me something of a thrill, to see our roles reversed so drastically, though knowing what I'm about to reveal about my past threatens to drag my old neuroses and worries back into the fray.
“P-please... don't say anything.” He stays silent, following my instructions, as I finish undoing my blouse with my back still turned to him. I move my fingers under the shirt to my back and unclasp my bra, feeling for the first time self-conscious. Still he says nothing, and I assume his silence to be consent to continue. Consent works both ways, after all, and regardless of my own comfort (even if it is very much on the border), Hisao's comfort is something that must also be considered.
Clothes loose from the waist up, I next take off the clip of my skirt, allowing it to drop to the ground around my feet. Finally, I take my blouse in my hands, gently lowering it to display the horror that adorns my body. The bra falls away with it, leaving me standing in only my underwear and stockings. It's the most vulnerable I've ever felt, and yet strangely, also the most liberated. I understand that this state of being is fully in my control.
“This is me. All... of me.”
I allow him a moment to see just how the fire affected me, on a purely physical level. The mental scars run much deeper, and it's time he understood just how much. I'm lucky to be alive, and it's thanks to great sacrifice that I'm able to even be here. To finally tell the tale.
“The fire happened when I was eight years old. It was night, and we were sleeping when it started.” My hands shake and I know he can see as the blouse drifts too, still clutched between my fingers. My voice breaks as I return to those awful memories, the same ones I try to hide from every day of my life. “I... curled up into a ball... when the fire swept over me. My mother... tried to shield me. Th-that's the only reason... I lived...” Tears well in my eyes as the buried emotions surface. Hisao remains silent.
“I'm sorry... for making you see this.” His lack of reaction forces me to utter these words, brings me so close to regressing to my previous state of existence, to the timid and broken girl I used to be. No! I have to endure... I have to be strong...
“It doesn't matter,” says Hisao. “You're a wonderful person, Hanako. Your body doesn't change that.” I look across at him, but fail to focus on him. I'm lost in the memories, conflicting between the pain of seeing my parents die before my eyes, a corpse positioned between me and a burning abyss, and the happy times I've shared not only with Hisao, but with Lilly too, and Akira, and even Yuuko. I realise how much this must mean to him, in multiple ways, and how exposed I've made myself only for the chance, the possible sacrifice, to be worth so much. His words are like a lightning rod stirring me to continue, driving me forward, convincing me that this is not in vain. Convincing me I've made the right choice.
He walks towards me, and I let go of the blouse as he touches my shoulder lightly. My reaction is partly out of being startled, but it's also a sign - I want to continue. He places both hands on me, one on each shoulder. I want him to see that I'm not just a girl. I'm an adult woman, with the same feelings and urges any woman has. “I know... that I'm not pretty... like Lilly. I just... wanted you... to see me. The real me.” I hope he understands what I mean. The real me... inside and out.
“I've already seen the real you, though. You didn't need to take off your clothes for that.”
I'm not sure if he does understand or not. I open my lips just a tiny amount, barely noticeable, and let out the smallest of sighs. Hisao moves closer, and his lips touch mine. He does understand, and I let out a bigger breath, one that I hadn't realised I was holding. It lasts for only a few seconds, though it feels like longer, and I know that he feels that way too. Such a relief for me. My first kiss...
I look into his eyes, unsure whether to proceed or halt before things go too far. It's conflicting within me, how much I want this, how I want him to see how strong I can be to be able to take such a step, and yet a part of me considers this may not be such a great idea. Nevertheless, after a brief moment of hesitation, Hisao follows suit, removing his tie and undoing the buttons of his shirt. As he reveals his body to me I look down at the ground, not entirely certain how to react and allowing the nerves to get the better of me again. Still, I make no move to stop him, nor to move away. If I really want things to stop I know to say the words, to make it clear.
Even so, despite knowing and anticipating the inevitable next step, my body still flinches without warning, on pure instinct, when I hear him pull down the zip on his trousers. It seems he's as nervous as I am though, as he removes everything else but leaves his light blue boxers on. It's understandable, if it's his first time (as I assume), the same as it is mine. “Hanako...”
I need to take the initiative again, though it's a question of the two parts of my mind fighting for control. One part wants this, so desperately, and to take the leap in our strange relationship. The other part, while not willing to step away, advocates caution. I end up nodding and walking to the bed, though the stiffness in my legs gives away the battle. Hisao then tries to take the same measure, making a bold move too, but he's as awkward as I am. He sits on the bed, looks at me, then away to the floor, trying to avoid staring. On one hand I wonder if it's because he doesn't find me attractive, though if that were the case why would he allow things to get this far? Or is it to preserve my own modesty, in which case it's both almost laughable and sweet at the same time.
I choose to move forward with things, and sit between his legs on the edge of the bed, my back positioned against his chest, our scars meeting as one. A wave of emotion runs over me, love and lust combining to make my breath shallow, a warm sensation rushing through my most intimate parts. I don't know if Hisao can hear my breath becoming faster or feel my heart racing, but he places one hand upon my left breast, and his other on my right thigh. He starts to stroke the inside of my leg gently, a tender caress as a tiny squeak forces itself from my lips.
“Sorry,” as he stops abruptly. “I didn't mean to startle you.” No, don't stop. Please. I feel safe here, in your arms, though my only clear response is a brief shake of the head.
I think how this may not be so bad, but what does he think? Am I still the vulnerable waif in need of protection, or is he starting to see me as a woman? The implications of the former are too distressing to consider, so I shut them out and try to force myself to enjoy the moment, allowing the waves of pleasure to wash over me with his touch.
He continues, massaging the tip of my nipple and lightly stroking the breast, a soft motion that only serves to intensify my arousal. After a little while I stop being so tense and begin to relax, letting myself drop a little into his arms. My breathing slows and I let myself enjoy the moment. My nipples harden, my underwear starts to become ever so slightly moist. Hisao takes this as a sign, moving his hand slowly down towards my legs, and between them. He gives me plenty of time to say no, to protest, but I stay quiet and let the flow continue. I adjust my position instead, forcing myself closer into him as I feel his own arousal growing, a hard lump (a bit larger, it seems, than I expected) pushing its own way against me. From this, I know now. I want him, so badly. His fingers start to move, on the outside of my underwear, pressing in and making me feel so good, rubbing against the most sensitive part of my body. My breathing gets faster, my body tenses, and then...
He stops again. This time I'm relieved, not wanting the moment to reach its end so soon. A long breath is let out, my face lifts up to meet his eyes, and although I say nothing I allow my expression to do the talking. I want more, so much more, and this taste is hardly satisfying.
Hisao nods, no more, no less. He waits, before pushing away from me and further up the bed. My head falls back on the pillow, still breathing heavily, still desperate for his touch. I look at him again and open my legs to show my willingness. He moves closer, prompting a nod from me, no words needed to display what we both want. He pulls down the stockings as far as my knees, takes both legs in his hands, and lifts, to reveal my vagina, pulling aside my underpants to show the eager sight. There's no going back now, my deepest desires are unfulfilled as of yet, and I can't allow them to go unsatisfied for much longer. He seems to agree, returning his delicate fingers to the area of my pleasure and continuing the motions of before. My breathing comes quickly once more and the arousal becomes more intense and more sustained, my body screaming out for his attentions.
He knows what I want, he must know, as he finally undoes the button on his boxers and moves closer, allowing his hardened penis to emerge. It's larger than I thought, though I don't exactly have anything to compare it to... almost too large, for my first time...
He hesitates, as if he can sense my fears about the size. No lubrication save my own natural flow, my fears take on a new form... I look into his eyes, and a new realisation dawns. His face is red, eyes closed, and his breathing heavy, and I don't think it's only because of the situation we've entered so hesitantly. After all, there's still a reason we're both at Yamaku.
“Are you... okay...?”
He opens his eyes and looks at mine. “I'm okay. I was just making sure that I was.” That's alright, and I nod in reply. He responds with another kiss, leaning over me and brushing his lips against mine, our tongues just peeking out to touch in yet another display of newly discovered intimacy. I let the tension in my body go and prepare myself, before he pulls back again. I wonder why as he feels around for his trousers, and although I wonder why he's carrying the little foil packet around campus with him, I recall a recent lecture on sex education from Mutou-sensei warning us all to be prepared. I didn't think Hisao would be this prepared, admittedly, but as he slides the condom onto his erection I can't help but laugh. Nothing more than a tiny giggle, but more out of relief considering the lubricated variety Hisao was kind enough to provide, which should hopefully make things a bit easier.
That being said, his preparation does little to ease my concerns on the situation. Maybe he didn't expect this to happen, but potentially at some point, would he have made the move? If so, then did I really need to push forward so much, going against all my previous movements within our tangled relationship? Putting my heart on the line for something that may have happened in a more natural state sooner or later, easing the tension we can both instinctively feel and making this affair so much easier to handle. Surely this can't be the best idea, using sex to build bridges that were never truly broken in the first place!
We return to our positions, finally ready to begin. Hisao grips his penis to guide it into place, where my eyes are pointing. He breaths in and moves forward, hips pressed against mine, feeling for the opening. It's not what I would call erotic, the tension still so great between us, and yet the emotions are there.
“Aaah!” I let out a brief cry of pain, cut short, as he enters me fully, our hips pushing hard against each other. It's not a problem, but for my first time, to take something so big and break through, it hurts a little. I'd heard it would. I just never, before meeting Hisao, expected to experience it first hand.
Another moment of hesitation as he looks at me, concerned. I don't want him to stop, especially now he's already inside me, so I try to smile as the pain goes away. I don't think he's convinced, though. Still, he waits for me to get used to the feeling, without leaving me, and after a while begins to move back and forth in a steady fashion.
The pain is gone, I hardly remember it being there in the first place. My worries subside for a moment. Instead they've all been replaced by a warm feeling, more intense than anything I've achieved myself in my solitary shower sessions. Moans escape my lips, brief gasps of delight as the feeling builds and forces my body to convulse, lightly at first then more and more and more as I inch ever closer to climax. As he enters and pulls away and enters again, our skin rubbing together, my clitoris is softly stimulated, making the feeling so much more powerful. I never knew it could be this good!
It's not all so enjoyable, though, as the pain starts to return, less in my nether regions and more to do with the scar tissue that still has never fully healed. We move around to try and minimise the pain and maximise the pleasure,focusing on each other and nothing more. I still feel excited down below, my moans threatening to become louder screams of passion, although we both know we can't allow my neighbours to hear. The thrusting becomes quicker, I tense up more and more and feel Hisao doing the same, knowing that his time is approaching just as mine is. “Hanako...!”
As he calls my name I shriek in ecstasy, and we reach climax together; I feel a twitching inside me as the orgasm races through my body and mind and soul. It takes a few seconds but it seems like so much longer, his twitches putting pressure on my sensitive parts and making me come even more, forcing me to turn and repeating the effect with him. I breathe in, then out, and in again, finally letting myself relax and enjoying the moment, our bodies resting against each other. Every inch of me is in euphoria, every point where our skin meets only heightening the sensation. My dark thoughts are briefly forgotten.
Hisao falls to the side of me, head resting on the pillow. Both of us naked, the most intimate and difficult moment of my life over all too soon. We're both drenched in sweat, but none of it matters, both of us exhausted yet lying side by side on a bed built for one. The pain is a distant memory for me and I know that next time, if there ever is a next time, it will be easier.
I look across to Hisao to see a hand on his chest, where his heart lies, and his eyes closed. I don't know quite what to do, but his breathing is under control. My waiting pays off as less than a minute later, he opens his eyes to meet my gaze.
“I'm... okay. Everything's... back to normal.”
I smile in relief, and whatever thoughts Hisao may be having, whatever doubts are in his mind, I feel as if they're assuaged by my happy face. He returns the smile, and I can sense how genuine he is, how pleased he is for everything that we just went through. Still, the doubts are creeping around in my mind. I have no doubt he wanted this, but he just wanted to protect me before. How must he be feeling, especially if he believes I was playing along to satisfy his own desires? This was my choice, I understood from the beginning, yet it's easy to see how it may look to an outsider, let alone a young man who admittedly isn't the most perceptive. My awkwardness didn't help, and regardless of Hisao's feelings (whatever they may be) it didn't do me any favours during our time together.
My thoughts return to troubling implications, and I think again that maybe what we did wasn't the best idea. I wanted to show him how strong I was, I wanted to open up to him as an equal, and I certainly wanted to push our relationship further and make him realise my feelings for him. Now, I'm worried that I may have gone too far in the wrong direction, reawakening those protective instincts similar to the ones cultivated once by Lilly in the early days. We may be adults, depending on the sense of the term, but sex to solve an emotional issue has never been good advice. One step forward, and how many steps back? Caught up in the moment, how much damage has our passion done on that emotional level?
Now I can hardly sleep, even as Hisao's eyes close and his gentle snores begin. My mind is too worried about the fallout from our evening together. Whatever happens, I know that tomorrow... tomorrow will change everything.