Only a few months behind schedule, but I finally finished the new chapter!
I have a reason as to why I didn't get this done as soon as I wanted to - I was working really hard on a project that got the attention of a major media company - if things go well I'll be working with them and might even move as a result of it. That's all I can say because of the NDA I had to sign, but safe to say if it works out, you guys will be the first to know. I didn't want to write this chapter until I had some breathing room and the ability to do so - it's hard to get into the right mindset for this type of chapter.
The title of this chapter comes from the song Lone Digger by Caravan Palace,
one of my favorite songs, and one I feel fits this chapter perfectly.
Smut warning applies!
Act 3: Ingition
Scene 7: Lonely Digging
“I don't believe this,” Saki says for the fourth time in as many minutes, rubbing her temples in frustration.
calling you, like, four times,” Chisato admonishes, crossing her arms.
“I know, I had the ringer turned off, and we were talking, we lost track of time, and...” Saki tries to reply, running out of steam and finishing with an angry sigh.
I glance over at Mitsuru while the girls freak out, trying to gauge his own reaction, anything to find some tranquility in this situation before I end up in the same mental state as the other two members of our party. I see him standing with his hands in his pockets, staring idly at the road...completely unfazed. I delicately separate myself from Saki and Chisato and move over next to where he is.
don't seem too upset by this,” I say, trying to lighten the mood, and not let the implications of missing the bus get to me.
“I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little upset,” Mitsuru answers me, in a voice that doesn't quite match what he's saying. “I'm more upset at the situation. I wanted to get back to the dorms tonight, but I don't see how that's going to happen now.”
“I'm sorry,” I start to apologize. “Saki and I were-”
“I heard, several times.” he says, his tone softening a bit as he turns to look at me. “Sorry. It's not your fault she didn't think to turn her ringer back on. I don't blame her, if she was talking with her father.”
“Well you're a bit calmer about this than I thought you would be.”
“It's not that bad. It could be a lot worse.”
“Huh? We're stuck down here with no way to get back to Yamaku! How can you say that?”
Mitsuru shrugs. “The buses start running again at six. We can be back to Yamaku a couple of hours after that, assuming there's no truck crash this time. We're down at the beach, which is one of the only places where we can probably hang out all night and not be bothered too much. It's bad, yeah, but not that bad, unless...” he trails off, his face contorting in concern. He turns and looks at the three of us. “Nobody has anything they left at Yamaku that they actually need
tonight, or early tomorrow morning, right?”
I have spare insulin,” Chisato answers, breaking off from her argument with Saki. “I always bring extra whenever I leave Yamaku, you know that!”
“Sorry,” he replies, holding his hands up in surrender. “I thought I'd ask.”
“Hisao?” Saki's taken the moment to give me concerned look. I know what she's getting at with her unspoken question.
“You said the buses start running at six, right?”
I brought the medications I would normally take in the evening with me, since I knew no matter what time we left we'd be getting back long after I'd normally take them. I do
have a bottle in my pack that simply holds a day's worth every pill I take that I threw in there when I first moved to Yamaku...but that was based off my medication dosages back then. Some of them changed, and I don't know if I have the right amount or even all of the right pills themselves.
“I'll be okay,” I say cautiously. “Just as long as we get back to Yamaku tomorrow morning.”
,” Saki exclaims in exasperation, hanging her head in her hands. “I'm sorry, you guys.”
“It was my fault too,” I say, trying to calm down her down a bit by putting a hand on her shoulder. “The question is, what do we do now?”
“Well, like I said, we can probably stay around here with no problem,” Mitsuru muses. “We could find a few benches, or actually stay out on the beach. Once the fires die down it will be pretty dark out on the sand. I don't think anyone will find us.”
“I am not
sleeping on a park bench! Or on the beach for that matter, are you crazy?”
“Well, we could probably just take one of the trains that takes a few hours to make a loop and kill time that way. I'm trying, here.”
“No,” I say. “If something goes wrong, we'll end up even further away from Yamaku. Besides, those are expensive. I mean, it wouldn't cost much more to get a room near here for the night.”
Chisato takes a second to ponder it over. “Now there's
“Wait, you're serious? I was just thinking out loud.”
“Why not? Split four ways, it won't be that much. And we'd get to take a real
“Still...” I wonder aloud, looking around us to see if there's a hotel in sight where that would even be an option...and even if we all pay, I'm not sure I have enough cash on me to cover what my portion would end up being.
“No,” Saki speaks up, the first words she's spoken in a while. “If that's what we end up doing, I'll be the one who pays for it. I won't ask you to pay for my mistake.”
“Are you sure?” Chisato asks. “I mean, it's not a problem-”
“Yeah, I'm sure.” Saki winces. “Save your money to buy a new bus ticket for tomorrow morning. Help me up, would you?”
I move over to her and offer her my arm so she can get to her feet. She brushes some sand off the front of her shirt idly, not making eye contact with anyone else around her.
“Alright!” Chisato cheers. “Now that we have a plan...where do we go, exactly?”
“Check this out,” Mitsuru calls out, having moved back under the awning of the bus dropoff. Next to the handful of benches is a large sign with the bus schedule posted...and a map of all the nearby stops. All of us gather around it to take a quick look.
It only takes a few seconds before he reaches up and places his finger on a spot. “Here,” he says. “The bus stop is here, and just south of here there's a shopping district that Chisato and I walked through earlier. There's a motel next to it.”
I follow where he's pointing. Just beneath a brown symbol of a bed, I see the words Choseikan Hotel.
“Think that will work?”
“I hope so,” I say. “The next hotel is a lot farther away.”
“Let's get going then,” Saki says, standing up and readjusting her purse. “Might as well get there soon and hope it's not filled up.”
“Look on the bright side,” Chisato pipes up. “We get to stay somewhere besides Yamaku and we might even get to see the sun come up.”
“Me first!” Chisato exclaims as soon as the lock gives way with a metallic click, bounding into the room before we even get the lights on. As the rest of us file in, someone manages to hit the switch, revealing the dark-haired girl face down on one of the beds in all of her glory.
“Not bad,” her boyfriend says, sitting down on the edge of the bed she's currently occupying and looking around.
It's a fairly quaint room, sparsely furnished except for the bare essentials. Two beds. A nightstand between them with a phone, and a remote control for the television sitting on the dresser. A table and two chairs, one of which Saki's dumped her purse on. A wall separates the beds from the bathroom area, and a quick peek shows a rack full of towels and an assortment of small bottles and soaps around the sink.
“Ooooh,” Chisato lets out with a long sigh, muffled by the pillow she has her face buried in. “This is so much nicer than the beds back at Yamaku.”
“I take it that this is the one we're sleeping in tonight?”
“You're going to have to if you want that shower.”
“Damn you and your logic.”