Okay, I'm gonna take a crack at doing a proper fic. Can't say I'll finish it, but I'm gonna give it a shot. This one is based on an idea that Oddball gave me.
How much of a difference just a year can make. After graduation, and with college starting up in the Fall, Hanako, Lilly and I had decided to move into the old Satou family home for the summer until we could find a place closer to the university. Naturally Hanako would be coming with me. And of course, since Lilly was also going for her teaching degree, it seemed only natural that she join us. After rejecting her parents offer to move to Scotland, and the departure of her sister Akira, Hanako and I were the closest thing she had to a family. And familes stuck together. Once we moved out, the house would be put up for sale, and the money put towards Lilly's education fund.
Thankfully, Lilly was still on good terms with her parents, so they'd continue to pay for her schooling, as well as send her a tidy sum for living expenses. That, plus my small allowance, Hanako's monthly support checks, and any income we brought in from part time jobs would probably be more than enough to pay for crappy little apartment near the campus. Of course, before they'd agree, Lilly's parents had done everything short of making her sign a contract to make her promise there'd be no illicit fooling around. Well, that was an easy enough promise to keep. There wouldn't be. At least none between Lilly and either of us.
At first, convincing Hanako to move in with me had taken some doing. She'd been in full "I don't want to be a burden" mode. She had some vague notion of finding a job, and someplace to live on her own. I informed her that we'd stand a better chance if we combined our resources. We could support each other like I promised, and she could still look for work if she wanted. Though in the end, what probably convinced her was when I admitted I didn't think I could bring myself to leave the woman I loved behind. Of course, inviting Lilly to join us had sealed the deal.
It had rained on and off for most of the day. That evening, we were enjoying our usual tea time ritual, joking, and telling how our days had gone. Lily calmly served the tea in her usual quiet, cultured manner. Using her finger to measure out the portions for each of our delicate looking china cups. Hanako and I were laughing over some silly shared joke...
Lilly and I both gave a start at Hanoko's exclamation. There was a sharp crack, followed by the tinkling and skittering of glass.
Lilly was instantly alert,leaning forward, her hands resting on the table "Hanako? What happened? Are you all right?"
"I-I'm fine. B-But I broke..."
Poor Hanako sat as if frozen to her seat, her mouth open and an expression of shock written on her features. I'd said something funny just as she'd been picking up her tea and the handle had slipped out of her hand, slamming against the edge of the table, and hitting the floor, shattering, and spattering hot tea all over.
I start to stand. "You didn't burn yourself did you?" I mentally kick myself for the stupid choice of words, but she seemed too stunned to even give it a thought.
"No, I-I'm okay."
I quickly get up from the table to find something to clean up.
"There should be some paper towels in that bottom cabinet by the door Hisao." Lilly waved her hand in the direction indicated.
I quickly retrieved the roll, tearing off a long strip, handing some to Hanako who took them quickly. It only took a minute to mop up the tea, and I deposited the soiled towels in the trash.
Hanako was meanwhile retrieving the shattered bits of the red china cup. It had actually broken rather neatly into three or four pieces. Hanako held them, trying vainly to fit the broken bits back together with an expression of torment on her face, finally giving up.
"L-Lilly, your pretty cup. I'm sorry! I-I didn't mean-" Her voice caught in her throat and she was close to bursting into tears. "T-These were your cups from school. I'm so stupid!" Hanako had gotten so much better in the year we'd known each other. Less prone to depression and panic attacks. She smiled more often than she cried, and had even started wearing her hair in a ponytail, her hair pinned back from her face. But it still wasn't enough. In a single moment she seemed to be back to being the girl who once literally ran away from me in the school library.
I was pretty much speechless. Crap, you'd think by now I'd know how to handle this better.
Lilly however quickly stepped in. Her voice calm, and serene. "Hanako, you're not." She spoke in her gentlest tone. "Please, calm down. Give me your hands?"
Hanako looked absolutely miserable, but did as her friend asked, reaching across the table to lay her hands nervously in Lilly's outstretched palm.
Lilly gently laid her other hand on top of Hanako's, holding them as she gazed directly at where she knew her friends face was. She may be blind, but she was still aware of the psychological effect of holding eye contact.
"Hanako? Look at me please." Her tone was more measured, almost commanding, yet comforting.
With some effort, Hanako managed to lift her gaze.
"You don't have to be upset. It's an old, inexpensive set that I've kept around for everyday use. I know that accidents happen, so I have plenty more exactly like it. You didn't do anything wrong, do you understand me? Please, don't cry."
Hanako's only reply was a guilty whimper, but she squeezed her hands back. I wasn't sure she was entirely convinced.
"Oh shit!" *Thud-ka-crash!*
I'd decided to try something drastic and "accidentally" let go of my empty cup, sending it crashing to the floor.
Hanako practically jumped out of her seat. Staring at me with eyes wide as an owls.
"Crap..uh...sorry, it slipped."
I was hoping I could lighten the mood, but instead Hanako started to tremble. Okay, so that wasn't the smartest idea ever. Maybe she thought I was making fun of her?
Lilly didn't miss a beat. She glared over at me, her lips a tight, narrow line. "On the other hand, I will kick your butt if you break any more of my cups mister."
You could actually hear Hanako's gasp. I don't know which of the two of us was more shocked. "Kicking my butt" was probably one of the last phrases one ever expected to come out of Lilly's mouth.
I felt my cheeks getting hot as I stammered out an apology when suddenly, I heard a soft, muffled giggle and looked up to see Hanako laughing behind her hand, wiping at her tears with the back of the other. After a moment, Lilly smiled, and started to giggle as well. I let out a sigh, just relieved that the tension was broken. I quickly fetched the broom and dustpad from behind the refrigerator and cleaned up every trace of broken china, depositing it in the trash as the two women composed themselves.
"Hisao? Could you get two more cups please." Lilly asked, her voice calm again.
I nodded and opened the cupboard.
"That is, if you think you can without breaking them all?" she said, her voice gently teasing.
Last edited by pandaphil
on Sat Mar 16, 2013 5:53 pm, edited 9 times in total.
"The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don't always soften the bad things. But vice versa, the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant." ~ The Doctor.