May I have this dance?
January 25, 2009 § 1 Comment
Love was in the air, its sweet cinnamon aroma spread through the giant complex. One would have known how light and pure the scent was when the sacred cry of a hungry soul calls for it. Following the fresh trail, to the kitchen, the sounds of metal clanging, taps running, and maidens humming could be heard.
“You made a lot of cookies,” Nadako noted observantly as she continued reading the recipe book closely. As if she was calculating something behind those glasses she wore religiously.
“Oh well I’m trying out a new recipe and I was going to have Yuki be my guinea pig.”
“Eh?! So you aren’t giving me any?!” Mayu whined selfishly, as she stood in her familiar kitchen.
“Just that Yuki said he really likes my baking, so I made extra for him, if you want you can take some since you helped make them.”
“My my, you sure you don’t like Yuki?” Mayu asked curiously.
“Huh? He’s a friend,” Kino responded as if it was the obvious answer, unfortunately she misunderstood.
“That’s not what I meant. Do you like him as a man? Are you in love with him?”
Kino dropped the mixing spoon she was licking on the counter, surprised.
“Ha? What kind of question is that?”
“Do you like him?” Mayu asked again seriously, intimidating Kino as she started to turn a slight shade of pink.
“Why are you asking me this?” She asked trying to avoid the question while nervously trying to clean up the mess she made.
“Just curious,” Mayu smiling at Kino’s fearful gaze.
“Mayu, you need to learn to find happiness other than poking fun at people.”
“Oh, but it’s more fun if I tease Kino.”
“I think Yuki does a good job doing that already,” Nadako said truthfully driving a stake through Kino.
“You can’t have any cookies bully!”
“Here are the cookies.”
“Mmmm I’ve been waiting for these!” Yuki grabbed his bag of cookies and looked at them. His wide smile, and innocent eyes made him seem like a child receiving a present from Santa.
“I hope you like them,” Kino said anxiously as she awaited his reaction.
“They look so good,” he said breathing the aroma of Kino’s baked cookies. She looked at him with an awkward expression, wondering what the hell he was doing. He ate a whole cookie in one go and couldn’t contain his happiness as his smile grew even bigger.
“Make me cookies everyday,” he requested like a whiney kid.
“Ha? I’m not your girlfriend you know?” she laughed taking it as a joke.
“Do you want to be my girlfriend?” he teased trying to make a seductive facial expression but it just made Kino laugh harder.
“Not particularly. I’d never date someone who was such a terrible fiancé to Mayu,” she said trying to rub salt on an unopened wound.
“Ok, that wasn’t my fault.”
“Then care to explain to me why you two decided to split?” She asked, assuming that it wasn’t a big deal. But Yuki’s hesitation to answer proved her wrong.
“Umm…” Yuki was stumped as he couldn’t find another way to avoid the question. It’s not that he didn’t want to tell her the reason, but just that he was scared of how Kino will react. For it was a very delicate subject for a comedian such as himself, timing was crucial.
“Ah there you are Yuki!” Mayu came into the room as Yuki’s saviour, “Ok so tickets are $50.”
“Yeah not bad huh? So we can pay together, or do you want to pay me back?”
“I’ll pay you back.”
“Kino, are you going?” Mayu turned her attention to Kino.
“Hell no,” she answered immediately. She looked to Yuki and suddenly her feelings on the subject started to waver. On second thought…
“You should go,” said Yuki trying to convince her, but it just reaffirmed her decision.
“You know how much I hate going to these things,” she said with growing frustration towards his ignorance.
“You’d be really cute in a dress.”
“If you wanted to see me in a dress, then maybe you should have asked me in the first place,” The words spoken without thought or censoring as she excused herself from the two of them and the classroom.
“This is why I’m not engaged with you anymore,” Mayu commented to Yuki with a hint of disappointment at how dense he could be.
The sunsets and the sun rises, time moved on, but to Kino it was as if she was in eternity. Walking down the hallway, absent minded, she pondered the meaning of her words. Why would asking her first make a difference? It then hit her, the reason why he didn’t ask was because she never wanted to go but deep down she must have really wanted to go, it was just deep down, hidden along with everything else she keeps hidden from everyone else, and herself. Suddenly she bumped into something, in fact, she bumped into someone and her momentary trance was broken, temporarily.
“Ah, sorry,” she said apologetic, her head lowered slightly.
“Kino! I was just going to go look for you.”
Kino looked up and realized the person she bumped into was the prince, Eric. She smiled slightly and naturally took a step back, creating space between them.
“Want to go to the ball with me?”
Kino stood there speechless at the request.
“I need someone to go with, you know?”
It took her a minute before she could reply, “sure, I’d be happy to go with you.”
“Great! We’ll talk more later ‘kay?”
“Yup,” she stood there, wondering why she felt so troubled. She was asked by the prince of the school to the ball, wasn’t she supposed to be a little bit happier? She doubted herself, what did she really want? The more she thought about it, the more she hated herself for being this confusing.
The setting sun glowed through the windows and casted Kino’s shadow against the wall. She sat at her desk, puzzled by Eric’s request as she stared off at where Yuki was sitting. She felt unworthy of his request, for she didn’t really want to go, and because she didn’t believe in the Cinderella story.
“Kino are you ok?” Suddenly a hand flew by her, and she quickly blinked and looked for a face to the hand. Nadako stood over her with an expression of a worried friend.
“You’ve been daydreaming the entire day,” she informed Kino, who was unaware of being unaware.
“I have haven’t I?”
“I’ll let you copy my notes.”
“Thanks, Nadako,” Kino took the notes and then frowned slightly.
“Why do I have to go to something so silly?”
“You mean the ball? To be honest, I thought you would go with Yuki.”
“I thought so too…” Kino said sighing as she tilted her head as if trying to see things in a different perspective. What would have had happened if Yuki asked her instead?
Kino threw down a strip of paper onto a desk violently.
“Happy? I’m going!”
“I’m happy,” Yuki smiled, and Kino glared at him, wishing she could rip the smile right off.
“Good, I better have fun. If I end up crying, and depressed by the end of it, I’m going to kill you.”
“Who are you going with?”
“Hehe, the Grandia prince,” she smirked, trying to make him jealous that he didn’t ask her in the first place, “I settle for nothing but the best.”
“Oh…that sounds nice,” Yuki said with the same irritating expression on his face. Kino’s heart started to cringe at Yuki’s optimistic reaction. Disappointed she left, swiping the ticket from the table and out the classroom again.
Kino carried her worries to bed, and in the depth of night did she dream a sweet dream.
Standing in a rose garden under the blessing moonlight, the stars casting their magical romantic spell, Yuki graciously bowed and extended his hand to her. It was as if the prince asked Cinderella for a dance. Kino hesitated when placing her hand in his hand. He gently closed his fingers, and naturally placed his hand on her waist, and the two began to float in the clouds.
When Kino opened her eyes, her heart was beating wildly like provoked beast. She quickly placed her hand over her chest in effort to calm herself down, as she looked from side to side, hoping nobody can hear it. She then looked infront of her and saw herself dressed up and painted like a doll. She heard a knock on the door, and turned her head slightly.
“Kino, it is time to go,” Mayu said opening the door and letting herself into the room. Kino stood up slowly, before taking wide strides forward.
“Is Yuki here?”
“He should be. I haven’t seen Eric either…”
Kino sighed, exhaling and then breathing in the fresh rich floral scent that was infused to the very building. As Kino and Mayu entered the reception area, a wave of noise washed over her. Large hanging chandeliers glittered brightly, the walls covered with regal wallpaper, grandiose ice sculptures were set up down the middle. Kino was in awe, as she watched the servers manoeuvre through the sea of people.
“Mayu, what am I supposed to do?” Kino turned to her side realizing she was talking to herself, and she was lost. She wandered around, admiring the chandeliers, the wallpaper, the ice sculptures, and sticking out like a sore thumb. She eventually made a full circle, and walked out of the reception area and peeked into a small lounge. Its dim lights, small quiet area, and dark coloured walls contrasted the grand hall she was just in.
“Yoh,” Kino froze in her spot, startled by the sudden greeting, as if she wasn’t expecting anyone to call out so suddenly in the dark. When she looked to see who spoke, she breathed a sigh of relief to find out it was Yuki.
“You’re still here?” inquired Kino.
“Shouldn’t you be having fun at the ball?”
“I should be asking you that question.”
“I…I didn’t want to come,” Kino said using the same excuse, while turning her gaze away from him as if trying to avoid his observant eyes.
“I bet you’re just saying that because you really want to go? Or maybe, nobody asked you before,” Yet, he hit right on the spot.
“Why are you being so annoying about this?”
“You just want me here to feel awkward is that it?”
“Ahem, I’m guessing it’s another of Mayu’s creations?” Yuki casually tried to stir the conversation onto a different note. Eyeing her silk dull silver dress draping her small figure, and her hair done up in a way that can not be replicated without the help of hair stylists. Kino responded with a silent nod.
“Why not have a seat with me in the loner section?” He asked his hand motioning to the other empty chair across from him.
“Ha very funny,” she said no impressed.
“Kino that’s where you are!” Mayu called, quickly walking towards her.
“Oh Yuki you’re here too? Geez why are you hiding, it’s not courteous to leave your date behind.”
“Right,” he said with a tone of indifference as he leaned back into his chair, becoming more comfortable than he already was. Mayu rolled her eyes at his behaviour and turned her attention to Kino.
“My friends said they saw Eric near the entrance of the reception area if you haven’t found him.”
“Well I’ll leave you two here seeing as you two stubbornly enjoy being antisocial.”
Mayu elegantly walked away to a group of girls all dressed up in frilly dresses ranging in different colours, some more prominent than others. Kino and Yuki followed and as they stopped infront of the entrance they both looked at each other for a second and immediately turned their heads to the other direction. Kino looked through the crowd and soon Eric came to view. She immediately pursued him through the crowd, walking away and leaving Yuki behind. She stopped and looked back; her heart had a sinking feeling when she saw him standing there lonely. Just like how she was earlier. Yuki smiled to her and she smiled back weakly before stumbling through the crowd in her heels. Kino followed the tall recognizable figure to the end of the dance hall and into a hallway where the hotel rooms where.
“Yuki where’d Kino go?” Nadako came rushing in, clad in sweats, panting like an anxious dog
“I’m not sure actually.”
“This is bad…”
“During dinner, I found out that he’s taking a bunch of girls to the ball, so he’s two timing all of them, including Kino!”
“Shit! She went off because she saw Eric!”
“Yuki you have to find her! I don’t know if she has feelings for him, and I don’t know if she even cares, but even so, I don’t want her to get hurt—“ Nadako pleads struck a chord with Yuki, and dashed off into the crowd. Nadako stood there before she too spearheaded her way through the hall.
Kino followed Eric, trying to call his name but the music was blasting too loudly. She was sure that he heard her at least once when he looked up and behind him. Kino persisted, why was he running away from her? She felt predictably deceived, as if she knew he didn’t really want to go with someone like her, a middle class, low ranking monster. When she turned the corner, her suspicions were proven true when she saw Eric and another girl together. When she walked a bit closer she realized that the two of them were kissing.
Eric hearing someone coming pulled back from the girl and saw Kino standing in the hallway.
Kino, although knowing, was ignorant for her knees buckled, and pulled her down to the ground.
“Eric, why did you stop?” the girl whined selfishly trying to pull Eric towards her again. Eric shoved her to the side and walked up to Kino.
“I was gullible.”
“No, it was wrong of me to ask you in the first place.”
“But…” She spoke quietly as if she’s given up.
“Next time, go with that Pelletier kid,” he said before walking back to his date. His date gave him a lecture and a slap before she disappeared, Eric disappearing later.
“This isn’t fair.”
Kino whispered as she held her hands close to her heart. ‘I’m so stupid,’ she thought to herself.
Yuki turned the same corner to stumble across nobody there. Mayu followed behind. She was slightly out of breath, when she informed him, “I made Keith search the perimeter.”
Yuki turned and looked at her, waiting for her to catch her breath before asking a silly question,”In return for?”
Mayu sighs,”I have to go out with him this weekend.”
“You’re such a good friend,” he commented patting her shoulder to consult her misfortune.
“I know…wait…IDIOT! WHY AREN’T YOU SCREAMING?! KINO IS MISSING! SHE DISAPPERED! AHHHH!!! Nadako said she saw her running down the hallway.
She’s probably really confused. If you don’t get your butt moving and leave her like that, she’ll definitely say or do something really stupid like she usually does. Eh?! WHERE DID YOU GO?!”
While Mayu was rambling, Yuki already rushed off down a hallway. As he ran down the hall Nadako blinked and then pointed to the direction Kino ran, with a smile. Yuki nodded in thanks and kept running. Yuki soon ran passed Keith.
Keith exchanged a couple of words, “She’s not here, probably at the bus station.”
With that Yuki headed out the doors. The rain splattered across his face, and dampened his hair as his heart called out to Kino.
Kino was sitting on the bench at a bus stop under a covering. Sheltered from the rain she looked out into the road and listened to the rain explode against the concrete, and the wind roar bringing a cold shiver down her back. She crossed her arms and frowned when even the rain wasn’t willing to stop raging and calm down. Cars passed by disrupting the emptiness of it all. She then lowered her gaze, disgusted with staring at nothing and tired of trying to understand anything. Soon another car passed by and Yuki appeared standing over Kino.
Yuki breathed heavily, after running after Kino. He looked at her, with a concerned look yet was relieved that she was alright physically. He slowly sat next to her and didn’t say anything.
The rain poured, and poured and started to let up. Kino noticing the sounds changing she looked up and felt the warm calm silence she wanted to hear. She closed her eyes and suddenly her mind became clearer as an image of Yuki came to mind.
A bus stopped, the doors opening.
Yuki stood up, shaking the bench the two of them were sitting on, and Kino quickly opened her eyes.
“Let’s go,” he said anxiously, as if trying to lighten up the mood.
“To town,” he told her trying to make use of the opportunity given.
Kino stopped herself from rebelling, and just followed his lead.
When the two of them got off the bus the rain had stopped and it was the peak of night. The atmosphere wasn’t damped by the rain as the lights glittering like stars, illuminated the historical cobblestoned roads.
“Isn’t Nadako and Mayu going to get mad?” she asked quietly, worrying about the worriers.
“Don’t worry too much,” Yuki said smiling, her heart speeding up slightly.
“It’s awkward!” she blurted out to him before she retreated into a small shell and looked away from him. She blushed.
“Because we’re really out of place. People will think we’re a couple!” She bluntly said, although embarrassed for saying it out loud.
“Then let’s play a game!” he said enthusiastically
“What game?” she inquired not liking where the conversation is going.
“The “Pretending to be a couple” game~!”
“Eh?! What kind of game is that?” Kino was shocked. Although the name of the game made her question seem stupid.
“I’ll start,” he said ignoring her question, for he was too excited to start the game. He cleared his throat, turned to Kino and said, “You’re very cute.” He grinned.
His smile smoulders her, causing her to turn a deeper shade of rose.
“Your turn,” he said, it was as if he was really enjoying himself.
“Wha—what kind of game is this?”
“If you don’t play this game, you aren’t going home because I’m the one with the bus pass,” he threatened, as he waved the ticket in her face. She made a swipe at it but missed, as he held it over his head.
Kino aimed a punch at him but she missed as he dodged swiftly by moving to her other side.
“Hmph! I’m not saying anything.”
“Kino really is cute,” he said cheerfully tilting his head. Yuki noticed her shoulders were bare, so he acted on chivalry. He started taking of his jacket and draping it over Kino’s shoulders, but Kino quickly pushed his hand back.
“What are you trying to do?! Flirtatious bastard!” She insulted, her words more rude and harsh then they were ever before.
“Ow, harsh words Kino! Hmmm, what other things do couples do? Ah!”
Yuki then threw the jacket over her head, grabbed her hand and started pulling her towards the brightly lit street, as if a light bulb turned on. Kino pulled the jacket off her head and quickly moved her feet before she fell forward. She eventually couldn’t help but start laughing and follow along.
Yuki ordered a crepe and the two of them sat down at a small table. Kino slowly slipped her arms through the sleeves of Yuki’s jacket, noticing how long it was.
“So is your grandma taking the news with Mayu well?”
“I highly doubt it.”
“But she called it off didn’t she?”
“Its company reasons but mainly it was because Mayu’s father decided to forget about investing in our company entirely. Mayu probably pulled some strings so she didn’t have to marry me.”
“She’d hate being your wife.”
“Oh really in what way?”
“The two of you are friends; she’s more interested in watching you fail at life than anything else.”
Kino cut a chunk of crepe and then held it up in front of Yuki’s face with a fork.
Yuki blinked at first.
“Here comes the airplane. Zoom~”
Yuki was about to eat the chunk of crepe before—
“Oh no! Hijacking!”
Kino quickly shoved the fork in her mouth and grinned evilly.
“What was that?!”
Kino said cutting another piece, and held it up to Yuki’s mouth. Yuki opened his mouth and ate from the fork.
“It’s delicious,” he said with a soft smile.
The two of them walked down the street, Kino looking one way, and Yuki looking the other. As Kino walked closer to Yuki, their hands naturally held each other. Yet a strange sensation traveled through the two of them, as if they were two magnets creating a magnetic field.
Yuki and Kino both passed by a game booth
“Panda!” she called out ecstatically, pointing at the black and white stuffed animal.
“Do you want it?”
Kino stared at it as if she was going to set something on fire and Yuki assumed that was a yes. Yuki walked up to the booth and picked up the rifle used to play the game. Kino approached him and watched him shoot down the plates with such accuracy that they didn’t break. Kino sighed in disbelief. Yuki frustrated, took out all the change in his pocket and kept trying.
“You don’t have to…”
“If I don’t get you that plushie, I won’t be able to make you happen, I’ll be a failure as your “boyfriend”,” he said with such determination. Although he said those things, he just wanted Kino to smile. He wanted to be the one who makes her happy.
Kino watched him take aim at the plates again, and put his pride on the line. Why was he doing all this for her? It was only a game; he doesn’t have to be so serious about pretending to be her boyfriend, or getting the panda.
The sound of the gun firing, and the bullet piercing through the plate echoed as the broken plate tumbled down to the ground. Yuki received congratulations from the man in charged of the booth and his prize, the panda plushie and Kino’s smile. Kino huggled the panda plushie Yuki gave her to death.
“I guess there’s some uses for you after all,” she commented mockingly.
“Hey, I’m not some kind of tool!”
Returning to the hotel where the party was taking place, the two of them sat under a gazebo surrounded by a rich garden, the assets filling the property with colour, and a floral scent. The construction noise of glittery heels stomping on the floor, and the celebrity’s trivial cries on repeat travelled through acres of land.
“Remember the first time I met you?” Yuki asked curiously.
“Yeah, how could I ever forget?” Kino replied, as if it was something important.
“I don’t know why, but while we were walking, I remembered that night. It was raining too.”
“Yeah I was really happy then.”
“What do you mean? You were crying!”
“But you called my name. Even now, you’re still here calling my name.”
Silence fell between the two of them, as Kino too remembered the night and smiled slightly before coming back to reality. She listened closely for the comforting silence, but it wasn’t there. She brought the panda plushie closer to her as she turned her head slightly, before she began to frown. Yuki smile broke loose as he sat up quickly.
“I was a monster back then. I still am…”
“You aren’t a monster, silly. How many times did I tell you that when you were little?”
“But then why is it like this?!” Kino yelled at him, as if it was his fault she had to come, as if it was his fault she had to go with Eric. Kino’s eyes softened after her frustrated outburst, she turned her head once again, only to receive apologies from Yuki.
“Don’t apologize, it’s not your fault,” this was the truth. It was her fault for agreeing to go with Eric, her fault that she was here in the first place. Yuki stood up, a piece of her heart ripped off with him.
“Where are you going?”
“To go find and drag him here!”
Yuki started stomping off until Kino yelled,
“Stop! Uhhh…I never wanted us to come here. I never wanted to dance in the first place!” She spouted out nonsense, what she wanted to say and what she was saying was muddled up together. As if she was saying one thing, but was saying something else at the same time. She didn’t want him to leave her. The smiles and happiness from earlier disappeared completely, as if all of this was a dream.
“That’s why I got to get him to apologize to you for dragging you out here!”
Kino stumbled to catch up to him in her bare foot. Yuki slowly turned around to face her, seeing her pained expression, as she stood infront of him.
“I never wanted to make you worried. The last thing I wanted to do was to make you angry.
You said tonight was supposed to be fun, but are you having fun? Yuki, I’m ruining everything for you right?!”
The truth hurts. There was silence for a few mins, Kino held the panda close to her chest and leaned forward, jolts of pain shot through her veins every time her heart beat. The pain of being confused, and being left behind was frustrating her to the point where she could not longer hold it in.
“Wha—why am I crying? This isn’t right…I shouldn’t be the one crying.”
Everything was blurred as she spoke with an unusually quiet voice in an effort to hold herself together.
Yuki felt his heart jerk when he saw tears roll down across her face. The tears were painful for him to bear, just as they were to Kino. But he knew the pain Kino has locked up inside of her was much greater than he could ever imagine.
“Don’t leave me alone. Yuki, I’m sorry. I’m being selfish aren’t I?”
“It’s alright. I’m right here.”
He embraced her, lacing his arms around her neck like a warm scarf. She gasped, and more tears tumbled down her cheeks.
“I’m being a bother…”
“If you want me to stay with you, then I will, just like this.”
Kino hearing these words made her realizes that all she needed to do was ask. For the pain started to melt into warmth, a warmth she recognized, as streams of tears ran like rivers. She hugged Yuki tightly, never wanting to let go for she found the comforting silence she was looking for.
It was like sitting next to a camp fire in a winter night.
Everything just melted away.
Yet surreal emotions left me stirred up.
This unknown passionate feeling swelling inside,
I didn’t understand it.
“I guess you like playing this game,” he said amusingly, as he loosened Kino’s grip around him with a simple, gentle push. He took a step back, bowed and stretched out his hand like a gentleman before asking, “May I have this dance?”
It was like déjà vu, Kino hesitated, yet her hand naturally reached for his hand. Yuki smiled, and quickly pulled her towards him, putting his hand around her waist and started doing the waltz. Kino’s fancy footwork was merely attempts not to step on his. She was constantly looking down at her feet. If only she knew how to waltz.
“So this means you wanted to go to the ball with me, huh?”
“I have no idea what you’re tal-AHH!”
The two uncoordinated dancers tripped and landed softly in the wet grass. Yuki surprised, slowly smiled at her. Kino blushed as he smiled.
As Yuki stood up, he held out his hand to her, and helped her get back onto her feet.
“You’re so cute.”
Kino turned bright red at the comment.
“I’ll go with you next time.”
“Will you teach me how to dance so I don’t embarrass you infront of everyone else?”
“You mean embarrass yourself, but yes it shouldn’t be too hard to learn the waltz.”
Kino laughed and smiled, cheerful as ever under the clear night sky, where one would wish upon a star. But tonight, there were no wishes to be made for they’ve already come true.