March 25, 2011 § Leave a comment
Yuki had been waiting for Kino at the entrance to the music building with anxious anticipation. As their eyes met, he could only sense her heavy mood hang over her. With a sigh, he held his determination to lift her spirits. It was all up to him in the end. Yuki held his hand outstretched, hopefully to prompt Kino with some sort of surprised reaction.
“I’ll carry your things.”
Kino slowed down her footsteps to a halt and stood before Yuki. She gripped her tote bag tightly in her dry hands, her cheeks puffing in and out. She’s grown accustomed to her rather large circle of friends that it was nerve wracking when it was just the two of them.
Yuki noticed her unease and smirked. (What a tease.)
“Would you rather I carry you instead?”
“That’s highly unnecessary prince charming,” she sneered. Anything but that, she thought after letting her imagination loose first. She then placed her bag in his outstretched hand. Upon accepting his kind gesture, she began walking out into the winter wonderland ahead of him.
“How was New York?”
“Crowded, as usual.”
“I wasn’t expecting to see you today. Did you just arrive in Klinton today?”
“I was back mid afternoon.”
“So just after class ended.”
After catching up to Kino’s strides, he leaned forward and got a quick look at her expression.
“How was your day?”
“You know, if you’re busy, you don’t have to keep me company.
“That’d make me a terrible friend Kino! I even missed your sweet sixteen last year.”
“I’m supposed to be happy on my birthday. No point being pouty because Mr. Pelletier doesn’t attend whatever birthday surprise ends up being planned.”
“Oh and who was the one who cried about me leaving?”
“Th-that was ages ago! I was a child in grade school. Besides, I’m not that lonely of a person you know. For your information, Keith made me a cake; Mayu and Nadako said they were going to have dinner with me tomorrow…; Eric got me a birthday present too! Can you guess what it is? I’ll tell you! It’s the limited edition concert DVD of one of Yuja Wang’s performances! I couldn’t believe he got me something but he did! I’m so excited to go home and watch it.”
“You’re only saying that cause I’m here~”
“You know it’s true.”
A moment of silence passed between the two of them. To Kino, it felt like ages since she had the opportunity to speak to Yuki. It was unnerving (especially since he just read her like an open book.) When did it become so difficult to initiate the smallest of conversation? Was this what it was like to become distant with someone you were so close with before? As Kino held her head low, she noticed Yuki’s bare hands. Her hand slipped into his, and her mittens folded over his frozen fingers.
“Your fingers are going to freeze off,” she mumbled with genuine sincerity.
Feeling the warmth return to his fingers, he grasp her hand gently; his fingers enclosing hers. It surprised Kino to discover how large his hands really were and for some reason, it comforted her.
“You’re really kind Kino.”
“Hmph! J-Just wear gloves next time! Someone like you should be able to afford something like that right?”
“Why would I do that when I could have you to keep my hands warm for free?”
Kino looked away with flustered irritation. It has been a while since she had Yuki’s entire attention; she almost forgotten how much of a tease he was.
Another awkward pause. Another moment of hesitation.
Yuki knew he was pushing it, but how could he contain the torrents of emotion that beat inside his heart? He couldn’t. He didn’t mean to tease, but it was the only way he could keep her at comfortable distance from him. He feared the Kino at present would not take him seriously. After all, she was already so involved with Eric. Yet, jealousy always got the better of him. For the time being, he just wants to leave a lasting impression on her, unaware of all consequences.
Upon arriving at the school, their hands fell to their own side, as if nothing happened. Yuki sighed, releasing the tension inside of him before turning to hand Kino’s bag to her when he saw that smile creep up on her face. It was unexpectedly refreshing. Was this a dream sequence?
“Are your hands warm?”
“Not this one.”
“Go like this!” Kino crossed her arms and pressed her hands against her armpits, “or you can sit on them. That works too.”
Yuki mimicked Kino and the two of them burst into laughter.
“I was kidding Kino.”
“I was as well. But it was worth seeing you look stupid.”
“You’re so cute. Wanna go to the roof?”
“No surprise party?”
“Nah. Mayu thought it be better if we spent a little time together.”
“Really?” she spoke with a hint of disappointment. She didn’t mind Yuki. But in all honesty, she would have preferred to have spent time with Eric. She was modest though, and grateful that he even thought of her as to so much present her with a gift.
“It has been a while. Will you be alright staying out this late? My lesson did go on for a while.”
“Don’t worry about it. I told you I was free didn’t I?”
Walking through the maze of hallways, Kino felt the awkward distance between them before disappear. Everything returned back to how it was just a couple years ago. Just talking to him brought a wave of nostalgic memories to her mind. She began to skip down the hallway, enticing Yuki to follow her.
“Neh, neh, Yuki! Remember that old melody I played when we were just kids? I’ve been trying to compose it into a full scale composition. Will you listen to it when I’m done?”
“Sure. I’d love to hear it!”
“Yeah~! I’ve gotten a lot better since the last time you heard me.”
“You better be. I’m expecting to see your name in the newspapers any day now!”
“Yuki, your expectations of me are a little too high for something that’s short term.”
“I’m just teasing.”
Kino got quiet again before turning around. She had a look of a curious cat.
“So when are you going back to New York?
“This weekend. Did you want anything?”
“Haha, I’d have to take you with me in that case.”
“Why don’t you?”
“I don’t think my grandmother would approve of me carrying around extra baggage.”
“Baggage?! I’ll have you know I’m 95 pounds! That’s underweight apparently!”
“Not like being underweight is a bad thing now that everyone is overweight right?”
“I’m more worried about how heavy you’ll be from just one weekend of nonstop eating.”
“You calling me a cow?”
Kino dashed to Yuki and gave him a good smack in the arm.
“Ow! That hurts! Jeez! If you’re worried about not being able to move, I’ll just carry you!”
“Oh so you agree, I’m just baggage?!”
“No that’s not what I mean! Gah! Don’t hurt me!”
Kino towered over the cowering Yuki. Her death glare was a force not to be reckoned with. Of course she couldn’t keep serious for long.
“Bahaha! Ow my stomach hurts hahaha!”
Kino roared with laughter, holding herself as her abs constricted. The butterflies in Kino’s stomach began to flutter because of the happiness that welled up inside her. All this from just having Yuki be with her on the day she dreaded the most for so long. It doesn’t seem all that strange anymore.
“You know Yuki…I’ve never liked my birthday. But it’s so strange. I remember the old times we were together. I wasn’t truly happy then, but now it seems different.”
“I’m glad Kino. I’m really glad. I was starting to think you didn’t need me as a friend anymore after that last punch.”
“I don’t think that’s how friends work Yuki.”
Yuki was fully aware from just watching her prance about enthusiastically. Her smile illuminated her face from the dim hall lamps. He never grew tired of it. He just wished he could cherish and protect it. Nonetheless, Yuki felt like he just accomplished something by making Kino laugh: it was an achievement in itself let alone making her smile. He felt more confident in his feelings towards her and his resolve to keep that age old promise he made back in grade school.
Eventually the two of them reached the top of the staircase to the roof. She let Yuki pass her as she was conscious that she was still wearing the school uniform’s skirt. As she climbed the ladder, she saw the hand stretched out to her. Without hesitation, she took it and was led out into the starry night.
At the top of a building, Kino looked at the stars in awe. She raced across the fresh snow, laying tracks in it.
“And you thought today would be another boring day,” he said, trying to follow the gaze of her dark brown eyes to the stars, but her giggle was what captivated his attention away from the stars.
“I really don’t know if I even deserve to be this happy, but I am. It’s so unusual…”
“You smiling so much in one day is strange,” he turned around, grinning at her with that smile that always made her turn red. He then motioned for her to come closer to him. Kino curiously returned to his side. She innocently stared up at his face, causing his hand to shake as he fumbled through his pockets.
“This is for you.”
Kino saw the necklace that lay in his hand. The chain was gold, and the main pendent was heart shaped with a glimmering diamond like stone. He unclipped the clasp that joined the chain together as she stood there staring in shock.
“But…I can’t accept this! Didn’t that cost a lot? I didn’t even ask you to get my anything.Well, I never do. Still!”
“Just take it.”
He put it around her neck before Kino could say another word. Still not sure, she held it up to her face. The diamond heart pendant gleamed in the moonlight.
“Indecisive as ever. You don’t really change do you?” he chuckled.
Kino looked up at him, not sure what to think (there seems to be a trend here.) She was just happy.
“What? What’s with that look? I actually picked this one out myself. Without Mayu’s help this time! See it’s really similar to the one in the manga right? Or are you surprised that I remembered? Idiot~ It’s been 6 years; I should know when your birthday is. Besides, aren’t you supposed to be “Happy” when it’s your birthday?”
“I am really happy,” she laughed, “Thank you. I’ll treasure it with all my heart.”
Yuki blushed, his hand on the side of his head, ruffled with his golden hair. He himself turned slightly trying to cover up his embarrassment. He quickly convinced himself to be confident, and so he spoke again, “You must have noticed it as well: we’re drifting apart slowly but surely. I know I already told you this but, I’m going to work hard to keep my promise to you anyway. If you’re ever hurt or sad, just call me. I know I tease you a lot; I know I ask for your help a lot; I know I’m not as good as Eric but I don’t want us to just fall out of being friends.”
Thump! Thump! Thump! Kino could feel something beat inside her. She’s only ever had this feeling with Eric so it couldn’t be a heart though, could it? It was as if Yuki’s monologue was working her up, trying to get her to anticipate what comes next. She didn’t want to think too much into it but she was conscious now.
“Happy Birthday Kino.”