心壊サミット

November 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

November 27- It was his birthday. Yuki looked into the mirror and stared at his reflection. His thoughts were in mid dialogue with himself. The big item on his agenda today was attending his birthday party hosted by his family’s corporation. Normally he wouldn’t have been able to see Kino at these types of events. So his anxiety intensified when he heard she would be performing as the salon pianist at the reception. How giddy he was, the maids and butlers truly thought it was the first time he was joyous about his birthday. It lifted everyone’s spirits.

Eric stood behind Kino who cheerfully played melodies one after another in the large hall while decor staffs were changing curtains, table cloths, and seat covers.
His arms were crossed so that her songs did not move him. He was pleased at the results, having been the one who made her appearance in such a setting possible. He almost wanted Yuki to call him a wizard. But that would be pushing it given their current relationship was on rocky ground. He didn’t mind because it was according to plan.

Kino was chirpy; she was ecstatic that she could play on Yuki’s birthday. She ensured that her playlist for the night was to perfection with this rehearsal on the very piano she will be partnering up with. Music: a suitable gift, since he was the one who told her to pursue her dream.

“Sounds good.”

“Mmm!” she nodded in agreement.

“It’s almost noon. Shall we have lunch?”

“Alright.”

Eric passed her a sandwich before sitting next to her and devouring his own.

“I was worried this whole friend thing wasn’t gonna work out, but I’m liking the set up.”

Honest! Eric did enjoy the atmosphere now. The only friends he’s had were what Kino would have called superficial. He was pleasantly surprised to learn what a real friendship was from what he thought was a simple girl who had a crush on him.

Kino laughed at the comment. Oh the irony. She felt like two months ago was a long time because it’s really has only been two months since then.

“I’ve got a confession.”

“Little bit late now. Don’t you think?”

“Not of that kind. Neh, Eric. This might sound strange but, you remind me of my father. Ha, you think it’s silly…Maybe it was your looks; your guiding presence; endearing mannerism. After that night, I think I understood: you were this convoluted entity; the identity of this illusion that I admired for the past couple of years was my father.”
Kino took a good look at Eric when she made her comment. Yes, she was not wrong. The two were very similar. Her father had more fidelity though.

“You’d call that an Electra Complex…Heh, I’m quite flattered Kino. So, what about Yuki then? Don’t turn away from me. Your ears are giving you away. I know the two of you have been in a state of friendship for almost half your lives. You probably know him so well that he stands out. Am I right?”

“Yuki…yes, we’re just friends. It’s only natural…I don’t really get what you’re trying to ask.”

Eric sighed. Kino really was enigmatic and he wanted to know how far her water’s reached. But, he didn’t want to directly ask a girl if she liked someone. Especially since it has not been that long since their own incident had happened.

“I don’t want to be selfish. So, as long as Yuki is happy, I don’t mind (regretting). Besides, it’s not like anything will change. I’m not going to sacrifice all my hard work and throw a hissy fit just because he’s giving the cold shoulder. That would be retarded. We’re friends. I have confidence that things will work out.”

“And you haven’t sold me. You’r eloquence does nothing. You may be able to sell Mayu and Nadako twisted mental strength as selflessness, but I’m not as nice of a friend as they are or Yuki. Don’t you think you’re misleading yourself, Kino? I’d hate to see you implode because I have seen it happen many times before. You know…”

“…with your experience as a playboy. Let me ask you…if you’re a playboy, then why are you being so particular with me then? Is it because I’m the loner type?”

“Dotting, you? Maybe. Can I not be intrigued by your peculiarities or is that solely Yuki’s job? I see, so there’s a limit as to how much I’m supposed to care? You’re trying to change the subject aren’t you?”

“And so what if I am? I’d like to think I’m still confident in myself to make my own decisions. I’d like think things are still worth trying. At the very least, I don’t want our friendship to fall apart because I am being selfish.”

“Ha, what is this? Got bored causing trouble? You’re think it’s just another troublesome task, a burden. You’re underestimating the situation. I want to call you a coward. It’s really bizarre: solitude versus lonliness.”

“I never try to cause trouble…I hope not. I just…it’s the right thing to do.“
Kino was bothered by Eric’s comments. She knew he was being honest, so she took those words to heart. She knew what Eric was trying to imply and it just kept making her feel sick.

Yuki loosened his white tie so he could breath as he walked through the conference area, away from the majestic hotel foyer. He had hoped he would not get caught wandering around but then the elevator doors opened.
“My boy! Happy Birthday. You’re 18 now. I must say, you’ve aged quite nicely over the years.”
“Thank you for the compliments Sir Odin.”
“I can’t help but worry about you youngin’s turning old like me, haha! So I hear the Bloomsbury girl is to attend tonight. That’s been the gossip going around in the family. Jesus, adults these days…meddling in youth. It makes me feel 10 years older when you act all stiff with me.That girl’s parents…very difficult to persuade. It’s a miracle the CEO announced dropping the idea of partnering together. Yet, they still want you boy. She must really have a thing for you!”
Yuki sighed at the obvious, “I’m well aware.”
“Well as I always say, treat woman like fine wine and they will linger. This is why you always smell your wine before tasting.”
“I’ll keep that in mind. Thank you for the advice,” Yuki said sarcastically. Not really taking anything his uncle says seriously. He checked his watched underneath his shirt sleeve, hoping his timing isn’t too off.
“Sorry, I must be on my way.”
“Where on Earth are you headed? Most of the guests will be here any minute now.”
“I wish to give my gratitude to the pianist before the reception starts.”
Yuki knew that as soon as the first guest stepped through the door, he would have to greet and mingle. There just wouldn’t be enough time to take a couple of minutes to chat with Kino. He didn’t want to appear to obvious of his intentions to his uncle so he continued, “It just doesn’t feel right if I don’t personally thank the individuals. Plus, sometimes they leave right after they’re done so…”
“Now you’re just rambling like you’re making up an excuse or something haha! You should say hi to the chefs while you’re at it. Just don’t be late ok?”
Yuki thanked God and his uncle for not being suspicious before he paced down the corridor and opened the door.

Kino’s neck snapped back to see Yuki. She stood up, letting her black dress fall and hang on her body. A vast variety of expressions raced across her face from surprise, to joy, to mid-thought, and finally embarrassment. Her arms both rose up: one of her hand reached to the back of her neck and her other was held out in front in defence. Her eyes quickly looked from left and right before deciding that as long as they weren’t focused on Yuki, it would be ok.

“You look really cute in a dress you know?”

“S-Sh-Shut up! I don’t like wearing them.”

“How about, if I said you were beautiful, would you wear a dress for me every day?”

“I’m only doing this because it’s your birthday and because I was partly forced to by Mayu.”

“Awww~ But you really do look outstanding; I can’t even keep my eyes off you. Sorry, I guess you don’t enjoy being complimented.”

“Being complimented is one thing, being teased is another,” she hissed back.

“Oh ouch! That really hurts. I meant everything I said Kino, so maybe you should be a little more accepting at the fact that dresses look good on you.”

“I just said I don’t like wearing them! You better stop teasing me if you want your birthday present.”

“Ooo, you always give me the best birthday presents,“ he said with a grin, leaning in towards her face.

“Really now? I can’t tell if you’re being flirtatious or being sarcastic. But you know both are equally making me just a LITTLE bit irritated with you.”

Yuki took a step back, put his hands in his pocket and closed his eyes, before opening them again to reveal a serious yet calm expression.
“I guess I’m teasing you too much today.”

Kino couldn’t shake the feeling that he was one year older today. It felt like he hasn’t changed at all since they first met. Right from day one Yuki butt his way into her business and now he’s taking the liberty of being charming with her when he already had Lily. Even before, he knew she was crushing on Eric; that didn’t stop him. It made her mood rotten just thinking about it.
Kino sighed, “it’s fine, you do it every day, I’m used to it by now,” she said, turning around to face him and held the bag with panda cartoons all over it in front of his face, “Happy Birthday.”

Yuki blinked at the sight of two giant black eyes were staring at him until he took the bag from her hands.

“You can open it…” She said, anxious for him to open her present. Her cheeks turned a slight shade of pink.
“Thank you.”

Yuki slowly pulled out the tissue paper and the package within the bag. He then unwrapped the wrapping paper with such care that the tape didn’t even lift the print off, and the paper didn’t rip. Slowly, underneath revealed a panda plushie. As he looked at it closely he could see some of the thread sticking out of the seams, and the deformity of the circular head, the unevenness in stuffing, and the different sized buttons used as eyes.
“Did you make this? It’s so cute, aren’t you little guy? Oh what’s that you say? Kino’s prettier? I agree, but we can’t tell her that or else she’ll get mad.”

Kino watched him try to converse with the panda, and move its arms around and soon she couldn’t help but laugh, and smile.

“You’re such a dork.”

The smile jerked his heart a bit. His heartbeat beated faster. Her laugh echoed in his ears as if he was listening to the voice of an angel. He shook his head at the ridiculous thought.
“She really is pretty right Mr. panda? Thank you very much for the present. Your smile is the best present. I’m really glad you came. Thank you.”
Yuki‘s tongue was just about ready to continue on with the words he had to say. But, the moment he needed courage, he became sheepish. The cat got his tongue.

Kino blushed in confusion. For all she knew it was another one of his sarcastic comments used to tease her. Kino looked down at the ground. Her head spun: why was she blushing so easily; why is her heart pumping so fast? Just one comment from him, and her heart would start racing. Even when he smiled, she would feel warm and fuzzy inside. Oh! How she wished he was just being a dick.
Oblivious, she denied her heart’s feelings and she slowly started the walk away. “It’s getting late. I should get going.”

It was the end of Kino’s shift. For some reason, she felt disappointed. The image of Lily and Yuki dancing to her music burned into the back of her skull so that she’d see after images. She saw Eric in the corner and he saluted her for a job well down. But she must have grown an immunity to his charm. The bandage just didn’t work anymore. She then walked over to the water station in the back corner behind a couple of plants and chugged a cool glass of water before being approached by a man.

“Excellent job Ms…”
“Kino Pavane.”
She looked down at his hand and shook it, putting on an air of professionalism.
“The name’s Kaji.”
Kino immediately associated him to the cousin Yuki spoke highly of.
“I give you my regards. That was some lovely playing just now.”
“Thank you very much.”

“Unfortunately the birthday boy doesn’t have much patience for things like music. So that was from the two of us.”
Kino catches a glimpse of Yuki and Lily and sighs for his placid expression. Kaji noticed her attention steer amid. He stood beside her to get a better view.
“Yuki, he knows how to get the girls. He’s had 20 marriage proposals in the last 2 years; can’t even count the number of meetings he must have had, and Lily Bloomsbury…”

“How does this pertain to me?”

Kino looked at Kaji through the corner of her eyes. Kaji raised his hand up and pointed out to bring Kino’s attention to Yuki who was chatting with another female. Yeah, totally ignoring her question.
Kino walked away to put her glass down in the discard bin in a separate hallway away from the main hall. She wanted the conversation to end but, Kaji merely followed.
“You’ve had your eye on him didn’t you? I know girls. They like to stare and admire. Then they get crushed with jealousy.”

“I think you’re mistaken. We’re just friends.”
“Oh really now? That makes things perfect then.”

Kaji leaned down and whispered into her ears: “How about we get together tonight? I’ll show you what a real man is.”

“No thanks!”

Kino’s frustration began to build as she noticed how different Yuki acts towards other people. Was he trying to hide himself from her? Kaji was just another pest.
“Oh come on! Why not? Think about it, you could make him jealous and he’ll come running back to you, begging on his knees.”

“He has no reason to behave like that.”

“But, that’s the kind of weak kid he is. Hey hey. I know, you must be a nice kind of gal. But I’ll tell you, bitches go a long way. Kiss him goodbye, watch him cry in pain.”
“Now Kaji! You know how I don’t like it when you make fun of Yuki like that. Besides, Kino wouldn’t do something like that. She’s selfless like that, always looking out for everyone’s best interest. Besides, that would be inappropriate of her to do something so disgusting as to punish Yuki when he has no reason to chase after her. Right Kino?”
Then Lily appeared also putting her empty glass down. Kino didn’t know why she had come all the way here when there were servers willing to take the glass from her if she so kindly asked. Lily gave her a smugged confident look and it was almost revolting. Lily was right though wasn’t she? Kino wasn’t going to start being a spoiled bitch just because she’s a little disappointed. Just like a fool, she played into Lily’s intimidation. Here comes the rage:
“Well, then I’ll keep it a secret then. How about it Ms. Pavane?”“I’d…I’D NEVER—Who do you think you are getting off trying to pick me up by dissing my friend? Does it look like I’m out to make him my slave? Does it look like I care if he’s the man you describe him to be? That has got nothing to do with me! I can’t believe he looked up to you. Yuki is his own person, and if you have a problem with him taking your girls, ask him to share some of them with you. I’m not his babysitter. Besides, we’re not like that! Like Lily says…There’s no reason for him to beg and cry to me. He doesn’t care (about me.)”
The bitter “truth” Kino spoke hurt like a knife blade sliding into her flesh. Was this jealousy?
“Not that kind of person” Ha! You don’t know him then. He probably tricked you into coming here with money or something. I’m doing you a favour because I’m a horny bastard. Pavane was it? Give it up missy. You’re family was full of failures. He’s out of your league. You really need to chill woman.”

Eric lingered in the main hall, associating himself with important guests. To him, Kino was performing as flawlessly as ever. But, what caught his attention was the sight of Lily. She was just chatting away like the clingy eyesore she was (he thanked the Gods she wasn’t one of his rabid fans.) Yuki at this stage was no more than a blundering idiot (ah, what happened to the competitive side of him?) So he knew where to focus. He knew Lily’s type, and was extra cautious of her actions.
When he lost his eye on Kino, he knew instantly something was wrong. Call it fatherly instincts. He frantically scanned the entire hall, every single head, and pair of iris until he spotted Lily go off behind a corner close to the piano. There. Eric saw her draw her fists and was quick to restrain her arm before she acted on impulse. If he was any later, Kaji would have bent Kino in half when she nearly assaulted him.
“Kino.”
All he had to hear was the last sentence for him to have known she would jump. He knew how Kino must have felt because he’s done the same to so many women before her. He wanted to just let her loose and demolish him in his shock. It would have been like watching himself getting beaten up by her. He deserved it anyway.

With her arms restrained, she gave a good hard kick at Kaji’s shin with her heels before storming down the hallway to the patio. How dare he—even Eric was a better smooth talker. But what tormented her was the fact that Lily of all people had to step in and back her up. Regardless, she had to keep it together for Yuki’s sake.

Lily nodded to Eric cheerfully as if nothing happened. Eric simply ignored her and followed after Kino. As soon as they turned around multiple bends and they were far enough for anyone to be around, he took his jacket off and offered it to her.
“You can hide (your tears) if you want.”
But when she simply looked at him confused, he didn’t see a single sparkle. Of course how stupid of him! She’d never cry regardless if she was alone. So much for his act of chivalry.

“Thanks, but I don’t need it. Wanna go outside for a bit?”

Kino was starting to feel nauseous. From right to left, all she could think about was that image of Lily dancing with Yuki. She’s decided to admit to her subconscious, but so what? There was no meaning to it all.

“You can’t keep lying like this. I know you hate causing trouble, but don’t you think you’re making the situation worst?”

“Lily doesn’t have a problem with it.”

“I mean for you! If it makes you feel any better, you can blame me for—“

“What are you talking about? There is no one to blame but myself. Blaming people is not gonna change facts.”

“Kino, you’re not in grade school anymore. You’re not as strong of a girl as you think you are. You are not who you are trying to make everyone believe you are. No, you’re wrong and I am right. Don’t tell me to shut up. Get a grip. You love him don’t you? You’ve always loved him. You were so scared that out of sheer willpower, you managed to delude yourself into believing you loved me instead. Kino, why are you doing this? Just fucking tell him will you?”
Eric knew how hard it would be for her to understand his words. He knew how hard that was going to be for her to actually do anything. Especially with her current mindset and the way that bastard is acting. If Eric could, he wouldn’t have mind continued to pretend with Kino. But, he wanted to believe that this was the best for her.

“And what will that do?! ‘I’m lonely Yuki. I’m sad Yuki.’ What’s that gonna do? Nothing. You’re a guy. Girls say those things all the time and all you did was just sit and comfort them. You think that’s good enough? It is never good enough! I don’t understand. I’m sitting here right next to you and I have good friends, but I’m just not satisfied with it unless Yuki was in the picture. I’m just never satisfied! Don’t you see Eric? Even if I’m complaining, will I get what I want? To hell no!”

“Now you’re just being selfish.”
No shit Sherlock, he thought quickly realizing what he just said was a mistake. It only led Kino on.

“And it’s disgusting, utterly repulsive of me. I already knew that; that’s why I try to fix it. Complaining will just ruin everything I’ve done. I’ll settle for my circle of friends. I’ll settle for being able to be friends with him than not be friends with him at all. I’ll settle for anything as long as everything goes back to the way it was!”

Yuki grew restless now that the guests had finally stopped focusing their attention on him. He walked out to the hallway to place his dishes down and didn’t notice Lily and Kaji where there conversing. But when Lily came up to him, he simple ignored her and kept going (man everyone’s ignoring the bitch now.) Where was Kino? Did she leave already? No, he thought when he heard her strained voice. He stopped to listen closely her jumble of words. They only confused him even more. Was this the truth: does Kino really think so earnestly about him? He wanted to feel glad but how could he when she was so distraught? He knew for a long time now and yet he still hesitated. Was he even deserving of her at this point?
Yuki came out of hiding by stepping out into the light and calling Kino’s name. He could only see the sad expression on Kino’s face as Eric was escorting her back from the patio. His blood boiled. He knew he didn’t want to misunderstand, but Kino hasn’t been talking to him lately. He couldn’t tell. He wanted to know…He simply thought grasping her hand and walking away from everyone would make things all better.

“Wait Yuki.”

Kino’s voice piercing through the ravaging thoughts of doubt like a light poking through a cloud covered sky. Then he felt a tug. He turned around to see Eric on the other end with eyes filled with resolve. At this moment he didn’t care anymore and tried to look straight at Kino. He didn’t want to avoid her and he didn’t want to have to keep everything to himself. His emotions were running high especially after walking into that. He knew Kino would never purposely reveal her weakness. Whatever was under her skin, causing her forehead to wrinkle was what Yuki paid attention to. With confidence, he carelessly assumed she was just upset about Eric. With his naïve thoughts that acts of affection were worth more than a 1000 words, he stroked her long dark brown hair.

Eric was shocked by Yuki’s sudden display of affection. He stood still and let them have their talk. He could feel Kino’s finger clench his hand as if trying to find the support in her shaking body. He’d hold on firmly knowing it wasn’t often she needed support.

The skin of his hand touching the base of the neck that connected to her body left a warm impression on her. Kino felt like she was being stirred around as she was held in a tug-a-war: one arm in Yuki’s grasp, and the other firmly in Eric’s. She wanted to reject this feeling of relief that wafted over her when Yuki’s fingertips touched her skin. It felt so wrong to her that Yuki was the one embracing her, yet it felt so right. She turned her face away from him, pained at the thought that he was just teasing her again. She wasn’t that easy.

“You’re still not over him?”
He shot a dangerous look at Eric.

Kino quickly shook her head but remained silent. She was far too embarrassed and conflicted with these newly realized feelings of hers. She didn’t want to believe in them, these disgusting feelings. She closed her eyes, trying to shield herself from Yuki’s penetrative eyes but all she saw were the after images of him and Lily together, dancing. Kino could only misunderstand him and see the difference in their worlds.

“I’m sorry I’m not Lily.”

“Why are you bringing her up?”

“Cause the two of you are an item.”

“Sheesh Kino! I’m told you, give it a rest and answer my question.”
Yuki knew that he had to tell her. He knew Kino was completely wrong. But that meant telling her how he truly felt, and he didn’t have the confidence; especially, in front of Eric. He didn’t think he was ready to fully bear the responsibilities when he couldn’t even keep up with Kino half the time. Excuse after excuse, he thought there must be another way. Kino was never this hard to figure out, and it frustrated him.

“It’s because you’re together that we can’t be friends anymore because I’ll be in the way…right?”

“What are you going on about?”

“It’s because you take pity on me that you can’t leave me alone. That’s why Eric is like this also: always dotting on me.”

“Kino, you’re not making any sense. It’s because we’re friends that I worry about you.”

“Yuki, why can’t you just get that sometimes I’d prefer not be in the spotlight with you?” she spoke bitterly. Her hand squeezed Eric’s even tighter and knew that at this point, she was happiest when Yuki was. She thought that he would at least have laughed the whole time if she played his favourite melodies. She felt retarded for thinking that feeling was reciprocated…Did she feel underappreciated? Was that all she came here for: self gratification?

“Kino!” With great force, Yuki gripped onto Kino’s petite frame and shook her violently trying to get her to let go of Eric’s hand. He was scared that she’s chosen to put trust in Eric over him; that he was losing when he had already won. “I don’t want to hear this nonsense from you again, alright? Didn’t I promise you that no matter what happens I’ll always be there for you? I am your best friend; what are you going on about not being friends…Are you absurd?! Who’s been telling you these things? The Kino I know wouldn’t think something like that. The Kino I know—“

“That’s enough!” Eric couldn’t take much of Kino’s squeezing. He already lost circulation a long time ago, and now his finger tips were turning purple. He also felt awkward ‘cause Yuki was just ignoring him the entire time and that ain’t cool.
“Excuse me.”
Eric had ripped Kino out of Yuki’s grasp, draping his suit over her. He knew things would be dangerous if he didn’t intervene. He understood that Kino’s strength comes from her doubtless self. The nature of Kino’s solitude allows it so that she only has to rely on herself. It’s that independence that drives her. The biggest problem arises when misunderstandings emerge. He knew Yuki’s naivety was not ill intended. It wasn’t his fault nor was it Kino’s fault. Eric knew yet he couldn’t do anything. But, man did he want to punch Yuki right now.
“I’d appreciate it if you stop yelling at the poor girl,” he then turned to Kino, bending down so he was eye level with her.
“Kino—“ shocked by the expression she was giving him, he frowned at her and raised his hand wiping her dry cheeks, “You’re crying again, aren’t you?”

“Eric, you have no right!”

“I have every right because I’m not the one who’s always making her cry. I’m not the one she’s scared of! You know what…your arrogance is starting to piss me off. Is it because you knew each other that you think you can treat her in whatever way you want? You act well as a puppet, but as soon as you have no strings, you fall apart.”

“So you’re telling me it’s my fault? Is that it you jerk? Where do you get off?!”

“Yeah, it is your fault.”

“Oh Casanova is trying to lecture me, huh? You want a fight huh? I get it.”

Of course it’s my fault, Yuki thought sarcastically. For all he knew, he should be blaming Eric, but he was going to be the better man. He would never do anything to hurt Kino. There was no reason Kino would be this upset because of him. The Kino he knew would have just accepted it and ignored it. So, why not be friends if there is nothing wrong? But there obviously was. He already held her near and dear but the idea of losing her as a friend was troubling. He tried to piece everything together but he couldn’t figure what was going through Kino’s head anymore. Why was this happening? Why, if only Eric hadn’t showed up so he could talk to her for just a little bit longer. Screw being the better man. He’s fucking pissed.

Eric pushed Kino gently to the side to block Yuki’s aggressive punch. Unfortunately, he was a bit slow and stumbled back a bit from contact. He wiped off the abrasion with the back of his hand. It was on now! He dove forward and without a single wasted sound, he threw his own volley of punches. The sound of flesh pounding only taunted him further.

The rage in Yuki’s voice and the feeling of Eric’s push caused Kino’s knees to tremble as she felt a cold shiver run down her spine. It only confirmed (to her) that he was angry at her; it only confirmed that she was getting in his way. Yuki was supposed to be happy on his birthday and she was ruining that. It was the same at the Grandia Ball. Her disgusting selfish feelings were ruining everything; it was more than a good reason to remain silent. Her hand quickly closed down onto the heart pendent tightly: trying to hide how scared she was. Yuki was right. Who is she right now? She was a disgusting monster. She didn’t deserve to be friends with him if all she did was make him angry. Indeed he promised he would always stay by her side when they were young, but what’s the point if she was just being a bother? What’s the point if all it did was make a monster out of them?
“Stop it will you?! Please don’t fight!” She yelled kicking up her heels at the two of them. The tears almost pouring out at this point as the pain in her chest became unbearable. She kept on, pushing Yuki against a wall and pinning both his arms with her own hands, using every bit of her weight to keep him there and away from Eric.
“Yuki, Eric is just being nice to me because he feels like he owes it to me. I’m sorry. It was never my intention to make the two of you angry. I’m sorry Yuki. I’m sorry for making you angry and offending you; especially on your birthday. You…were the best friend I could ever ask for. So please forget about what I said.”
When she finished, the weight of her body eased off and her hands gently slid off Yuki as she took a step back.

She spoke with smile that was so forced, so unbearable, so plastic; it was almost painful to watch for Eric. He understood the meaning of her words, understood that she figured it out. Yet for some reason, he felt so much sadness. He was witnessing a huge misunderstanding, but it was something out of his hands.
“Kino, I’ll give you a ride.”
Eric turned his back on Yuki, putting an arm around her shoulders, freezing her whole for just a while longer.

“Kino I…!”
Yuki’s voice disappeared in an instant, as if his own body was now going against him. He watched as the distance between them physically grew and it was then did he finally realize how far Kino really was from him. He felt a strong dislike towards the idea of her getting farther and farther away. He didn’t give a damn about his happy birthday. He wanted to see her smile again, he wanted to hear her laugh again, he wanted to hold her and tell her that he really, and truly— It was his chance and he just missed it. Pathetic.

心壊サミット [Preview]

October 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

“I’m sorry I’m not Lily.”

“Why are you bringing her up?”

“Cause the two of you are an item.”

“Sheesh Kino! I’m told you, give it a rest and answer my question.”

Yuki knew that he had to tell her. He knew Kino was completely wrong. But that meant telling her how he truly felt, and he didn’t have the confidence; especially, in front of Eric. He didn’t think he was ready to fully bear the responsibilities when he couldn’t even keep up with Kino half the time. Now frustrated with himself, he tried to control his heart from messing with his head, to no avail.

Distraction

April 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

So I’m gonna ramble here cause I’ve blocked all the other webpages I usually use to distract myself.

For those who don’t know, I have been writting a series of short compilation stories about a group of characters I’ve dreamt off one night. I posted the somewhat finished chapters on my blog (granted they are out of order). My last post was Kino’s birthday which is set in their grade 11 year of high school.

I’ve got a couple more story chapters in the works.
I have Yuki’s birthday almost fully written. I’m still scripting the essential part.
I also have the chapter where Yuki realizes his feelings for Kino in the works. I’ve managed to combine a few ideas together so hopefully that will put itself together when I go back to it.

I am still trying to work out my side characters because I really do want them to come into play and interact with Kino.
So far…
For Mayu, I see her as the character who gets destroyed and then put together again. I see her getting herself in all sorts of trouble out of spite and stupidity.
Nadoka is the smart and cool headed one, but is aimless and has no goal in life.
Eric is obviously her crush and starts out as a playboy.
Keith will be Mayu’s first boyfriend and her lover. The two of them will fumble around and screw over but it’ll work out in the end…I guess.
Lily will probably have the smallest role as being the rival in love for Yuki. BITCH.

It’s been many years since I dreamt about Kino and Yuki, and I’m impressed as to how far this project has been coming along…lol!

Happy Birthday

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.”
“Pretty much.”
After catching up to Kino’s strides, he leaned forward and got a quick look at her expression.
“How was your day?”
“Good.”

Silence.

“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~”
“Shut up.”
“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.
“Yeah…”
“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?”
“Uh…food!”
“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?”
“That’s right!”
“I’m more worried about how heavy you’ll be from just one weekend of nonstop eating.”
“You calling me a cow?”
“Yes.”
“Why you!”
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.”
“But…”
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.”

Happy Birthday [Preview]

March 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

Yuki stood at the entrance of the music building. Once seeing Kino finally coming down from the piano studio and their eyes met, he chuckled and continued watching her rush over.
“I’ll carry your things.”
He held his hand outstretched, hopefully to prompt Kino with some sort of surprised reaction.

Kino slowed down her steps till her feet came to a halt just before Yuki. She gripped her tote bag tightly in her dry hands, her cheeks puffing in and out. She was reluctant to hand over her belongings to him. It was rare of him to offer; rare of her to see just him. She’s grown accustomed to her rather large circle of friends that it was nerve wracking when it was just the two of them.

Technically I have most of this chapter written up because its short, but I felt like it could flow a bit better so I’m still working through it over again. Originally I was gonna write Kino’s day and interactions with her expanding world, but I deciced to keep it simple since that involve me introducing a gajillion random characters.

To give everyone a sense of timeline, this is set when they are in grade 11. By this time, Yuki has already realized he loves Kino but he has some conflicting issues. Kino is still crushing on Eric and this won’t change until the Grandia Ball Gala whatever chapter.

Re: Afflicted Fighter

January 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

A few important notes about this chapter (I guess that’s what you would call it.)

In terms of timeline, this story is set in their first year at Grandia (grade 9) just before the Winter concours and Christmas Break. This is pretty much before a lot of the stories I have posted already. At this point, both Yuki and Kino are ‘friends’ and Kino has reached the early stages of her crush with Eric.

Afflicted Fighter

January 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

Bang, bang. Gun shots were heard, and the sound of a body floating to the ground with a thud echoed sluggishly through the cold dark house. A loud commotion was heard outside and then silence.

Kino jerked from underneath her covers, in a hot-cold sweat. Her throat burned from the hard cold air, while her head spun in a circle. Her whole body stiffened and started to ache as she rolled onto her side and tried to go back to sleep only to realize that it was 8, and she skipped out morning practice and was going to be late for attendance at school. Kino unwillingly trudged her way to the classroom from her dorm room, meeting up with Mayu who was getting breakfast.
“Morning Kino. Did you sleep in today?”
“ye—ah,” Kino croaked and coughed. Her eyes blinked trying to focus, but that didn’t help when she tripped over stairs.
“Are you ok?”
“I’m fine, just really tired,” she replied, unaware of the illness that was slowly invading her.
“Well, get some sleep before the competition this weekend alright? Don’t wanna catch a cold the day before do you?”
Kino giggled before phlegm got caught in her throat.
“Maybe you should take a day off from school after your lesson.”
“You know I can’t do that. I’m going to start falling behind and you know how stupid I am.”
“Huh?!” Mayu voiced her outrage at Kino’s comment, “and who placed higher than me on the midterms?! Besides! I’ll ask Nadako to lend you her notes!”
“You’re not even going to offer me your notes, ha. Besides, I’m not ridiculous like you.”
“Oh now you’re just calling me stupid.
The two of them laughed.
“You know that I worry about you sometimes?”
“I appreciate it Mayu, but I think I’ll manage through somehow.”
It was just then did something catch Kino’s eye. It was a short boy, who Kino assumed was someone in their grade, and a much larger upperclassman. It was a strange interaction, but it was obvious what the bigger kid wanted when he grabbed the boy’s meal card. The boy reluctantly tried to hold on but feared what would happened if he ripped it in half.
“So you’ve noticed huh?” Mayu whispered to Kino’s warm ears.
“So annoying,” she grumbled before turning on her heels.
“Oie!” She shouted, “Yes you! What do you think you’re doing stealing someone’s lunch?”
“Huh? Oh no, he was just giving it to me. I paid h—“
“Tch, liar. You’re all the same,” she didn’t even give the dunce time to finish his sentence. The smaller boy shook his head in denial but couldn’t speak up. Kino tilted her head at her upperclassman, obviously rolling her eyes at him. If there was one thing she hated, it was liars.
“Girlie, don’t you roll your ey—“
The second he reached out to grab Kino, she casually deflected it to the side.
“Don’t touch me, bastard.”
Her deep black eyes hardened, her voice pierced through his ears with outrage. The extra frustration only led to her to feel even weaker than when she first woke up. In her current state, she couldn’t possibly expect the boy to counter with his other free arm, pushing her into the wall. Mayu acted quickly, realizing where this could end up, especially with Kino’s violent track record.
“Teach—“
“My, my. Pushing a girl into the wall?” a voice of authority arrived promptly. Eric steps into the situation eyeing each individual.
“I don’t think that’s very fair conduct. Don’t you agree?” he asked the boy. The boy nodded in agreement. Eric dug into his pocket and handed the boy a meal card, “you are excused.” The unknown boy hesitated, looking at the girl that tried to help him push herself back up. He was relieved he wasn’t in any trouble by the Prince of Grandia or else he would have blamed the girl despite her intentions. He grabbed the card and rushed off to his classroom.
“Mayu, I’ll take care of it. You get breakfast.”
She looked at Kino in worry but sighed in relief when she saw Kino get up on her own. With a little curtsy, Mayu turned towards the cafeteria.
When it was just the three of them the upperclassmen barked, “Eric, I can explain!”
“Oh, please don’t bore me with that,” Eric chuckled, “I’m going to let this incident slide, but I expect you to not mistreat the student body, that includes new students. Do I have your understanding?”
“Y-yes…”
“You’re excused”
He walked quickly away from the situation, returning to the realm of animosity just like the other boy.
“I see you were up to your naughty activities this morning. Tsk tsk tsk, bad girl.”
Eric waved his finger at Kino. Once within arm’s reach, he poked her forehead. Kino stood there in a daze, not realizing what was happening until she felt something touch her hot forehead.
“Huh?” she coughed and recollected herself, “first of all, he was stealing someone’s lunch; second, he was lying.”
“I know. You hate those kinds of people.”
“They’re just so selfish, it makes me sick. Always manipulating…”
“I’m just warning you, Kino,” he said calmly, trying to dissipate her frustration.
Eric had a forgiving look on his face as he patted her head in an endearing way. It made her blush a bit, although she was already a bit rosy.
“I-I can’t promise you anything, but I’ll try not to be troublesome.”
“You’re a good kid. You don’t need to promise me anything. Just don’t work yourself too hard.”
He casually turned around and waved, continuing down the hallway.
For some reason, his back reminded Kino of her father. She couldn’t quite tell. Kino reached up to her forehead and felt how warm it was. She wondered if she had a fever or if it was just because Eric was around. She couldn’t quite tell.

It was a normal winter day at Grandia. The grounds covered in a white blanket, the festive decorations brightening up the usually regal and boring hallways. Cheer was everywhere for the approaching of that special holiday. For Kino, that meant another competition was approaching. But as each day passed, she felt more tense; more anxious. Beethoven rushed past her and she felt no relief from the sauna. Yet she couldn’t stop. She had to keep working hard; it was the only way she would be able to reach. She kept pushing herself despite not being able to see the keys anymore. She was determined to win the winter competition, to continue forward and not let anything drag her down. She felt her fingers trip over each other and fall underneath her.
Yuki waited for Kino to come out of practice room after catching word from Eric that she may not be feeling well. He rested his head against the door listening to the beautiful melody that passed through it. But then the melody stopped abruptly and a chain of dissonance followed before a thump and crash! Yuki turned around and looked through the glass window to see Kino collapsed on the floor. He quickly opened the door and rushed up to her.
“Kino!”
Yuki placed his hand on her arm and quickly pulled back when he felt his skin burn. He noticed her cheeks were rosy and her breath was racing. He then placed his hand against her forehead to confirm his suspicions.
“A fever…”

A knock on Kino’s door was heard and a man who looked like he was in his early 30’s peeked through the door. His hair was brown; his eyes green.
“Kino?”
“Daddy~”
“I’m sorry I couldn’t be home any sooner, I left work as early as I could today.”
“It’s ok I’m fine. You don’t have to worry about me.”
“There you go saying the impossible.”
The two of them chuckled, but then Kino started to cough again.
“Ahh! Some water.”
Kino’s dad passed her a glass of water but when she went to grab the glass it fell to the floor and he was gone.
“Dad? Dad!”
Kino coughed some more. She decided to get out of bed to try and find him. As she opened the door she saw a women towering over her.
“How many times have I told you not to open your door when there’s guest?!”
“But where’s Dad…”
Kino pushed the woman from her and started to run what seemed to be down the stairs of her house but ended up being the stairs into a bottomless abyss.
“Dad!? Where are you?!”
Kino stumbled many times, and coughed till the point where her throat would constantly burn.
Kino slowly opened her eyes and saw a blur call out her name. It too had a pair of green eyes, and brown hair.
“Dad?” she mumbled disillusioned by her fever. However, she slowly came to her senses.
“Sorry, got the wrong person”
“Eric?”
“That’s me alright. How are you feeling?”
“Uhhh…” Kino felt her nose stuffed to the point where she couldn’t even breathe through it. She coughed while trying to sit up, eyes puffy and teary as her head spun.
“Not good…”
“That’s not obvious at all.”
“Wasn’t I in the music…Did you carry me?”
“Nah, Yuki did. I just happened to be around. Told him I have study period.”
Kino felt her head roll off her shoulders again. She suddenly felt a pair of strong hands hold her up as her vision blurred from the brightness of the fluorescent light. Kino leaned her head against whatever was in front of her, eyes closed.
“Didn’t I tell you not to push yourself too hard earlier today?”
“Doesn’t matter. I have to keep practicing.”
“You are really are burning up.”
The nurse walks in and quickly pushes Eric to the side and checks Kino’s temperature.
“You don’t seem to be getting any better. I suggest you go back home for the weekend.”
“No…I can’t go back.”
“I’ve already contacted your guardian to pick you up. She should be here soon.”
Kino voice got caught in a cough as she hacked her lungs out.
“Now you get some rest until your mother is here, and Eric, please go back to class.”
Kino gently latched onto his sleeve, silently pleading he stayed.
“Yes ma’am,” he said keeping his eyes on Kino as he watched anxiety starts to creep up onto her face. The nurse checked her pager and then quickly motioned Eric to get out of the room before she too exited the room.
Kino’s heart raced, her whole body soaked in sweat. She waited for the front door to shut before she fell off her bed like a sloppy rag doll, and proceeded to exit the room through the window.
“No way in hell I’m going back home.”

Yuki briskly walked down the hall, as people began emptying the classrooms. As he closed in on the Wellness Center, he heard a voice of distress and quickened his pace.
“She was supposed to be here!”
“Is this some kind of joke? You called me all the way from my meeting saying my child needs to be driven home. Was that not what you said? Then how come I do not see her resting like you said she was supposed to be?”
“I’m terribly sorry. She must have slipped out while I was away from the office.”
“Some service this school offers. Well, I came here all the way for nothing then. Next time, make sure you get the wrong number when you bother someone again,” the woman said coldly as her heels clicked against the floor. Yuki caught a glimpse as she walked by and recognized her as Kino’s mother. She was a tall woman with smooth shiny brown hair, done up in sophisticated and long ponytail, and sported designer brands from head to toe.
“Wait, are you just leaving?”
Kino’s mother stood there and stared at the Yuki thinking to herself another annoying brat.
“Right, you’re that kid’s friend.”
The woman dug inside her purse for a snake skin wallet which held a hundred dollar bill.
“I’m sorry ma’am, but what is this for?”
“Payment for babysitting of course! I’m a busy woman; I don’t have time to take care of her. The more time I waste on her, the more money I lose. So be a good friend and make sure she takes her medicine.” She tucked the bill into his shirt pocket and continued to walk past him without a second thought.

Yuki couldn’t understand. After so many years, he’s never really understood Kino. At the same time, he never really understood why he kept thinking about her. He always wondered why Kino was the way she was. All he knew was that Kino disliked her mom, and lives mysteriously by herself in a piano studio. But he put all that aside, his mind filled with worry for her. Is she ok? He knew there was one place she would always go, even when the sky is falling.

Kino stumbled on her feet numerous times as she placed her hands against the cold brick walls and coughed. She looked ahead and into the windows. Her vision blurred as it reflected her reflection back at her. She laughed.
“I’m almost there…” she told herself as her feet felt a tingling burning sensation each time she took a step into the slush and snow. Her cheeks were numb and red, almost white from the dry wind. As she kept walking, she slowly felt her legs turn into lead; she felt so heavy that they eventually pulled her into the cold, yet warm snow.
“Kino!”
Yuki kneeled down to her, and sat her up.
“Eric?” she coughed out, slowly opening her eyes to see she was mistaken once again. Although it’s Eric she admired, it seemed Yuki was the one always saving her. Yuki didn’t even care at this point. He just wanted to know if she was still functioning. He felt a huge pit in his stomach as he looked at her miserable state.
“What do you think you’re doing? Walking out in the cold without a jacket! Seriously, you’re going to get worst!”
Kino pushed herself back down to the ground,
“I can’t! I have to keep playing. I have to prove her wrong. I can’t give up. Yuki, you understand right?”
“Stop being silly Kino. Your mom came all the way here to take you home.”
He spoke, threateningly while scooping her it his arms.
“She’s not my mother! She’s a liar! I didn’t do anything wrong!” Kino screamed, breathing heavily before burying her face into his chest, and her fingers trembled as they curled around the lapel of his blazer. Yuki noticed how distressed she became with just the mentioning of her mother. When he saw the fresh tears freeze on her cheeks he knew this wasn’t some ordinary quarrel with parent and child. He didn’t understand, but he knew that sending her home wouldn’t help her get better any faster.

She was sent back into the past again. Her memories slightly obscured and floated about in her mind.
Kino watched herself being carried by the same man who came to see her in her previous dream. They stepped into what looked like an apartment studio with just Yamaha baby grand piano and empty shelves.
“Daddy…”
“Yes Kino?”
“Why isn’t Mommy here?”
“Listen Kino…forget about mom. You’ll never see her again. Promise me you won’t talk about her anymore.”
“But Daddy, mom said she we were all going to come here.”
“Kino!”
Her father roared, gripping her tiny shoulders even tighter.
“It’s ok. I’m still here.”
At the time, Kino didn’t understand what it meant for someone to die. She remembered how lonely she felt when she would play the piano in the empty room with no one to listen to her.
“Stop playing!”
The woman screamed at the little girl when she began to play a simple melody. She would quickly turn to her father demanding he stop me, “Go tell that girl to stop playing.”
“Why can’t YOU be quiet for a moment huh? My daughter is trying to play a song and I would like to listen.”
“You mean that garbage? Oh please, I feel sorry for the girl now. She’s going to grow up to be just as pathetic as you.”
Kino slammed her hands on the keys, banging the piano in frustration before throwing one of her father’s books at the woman.
“Kino–!” Her father tried to command her to stop but Kino was already launching a barrage of attacks, crying and screaming and yelling.
“Old lady! Stop calling my daddy a loser because he’s a million times better than you at the piano! My dad’s the best in the world!”
“Why you little runt! You do not treat your mother like that.”
“You’re not my mom! She’s a lot prettier, and has got long black hair! You’re just a big fat liar! Liar. Liar. Pants on fire!”
“STOP IT!”
Kino saw the book fly at her father, and the next thing she knew he was gone. Confused as to why her memories suddenly just stopped mid way. She remembered how frustrated her father was after, in fact he was furious. Yet all Kino wanted to do was to see him smile again. She hated the woman and the kind of person she was. A bully: they always cause others to suffer to satisfy their petty ego.
“I’m going to be coming home tomorrow.”
“Daddy, I learned a new song just for you!”
“Oh? I’ll hear it when I get back then.”
“—If you weren’t born, he wouldn’t have had to rush home and he wouldn’t have died! If you weren’t born…if the two of you weren’t born he would have still loved me! Why…this is all your fault! I left my husband for him and now he’s gone because you had to tell him to come home today! It’s your fault! Your fault! All of it!”
She’s lying. She’s lying. It’s not my fault.

Yuki watched as tears ran down the side of Kino’s face. He took to wiping them away every so often, knowing how much it ashamed her to cry. She coughed and Yuki pulled his hand away quickly. It was the first time he’s seen Kino with a cold; It was the first time he’s ever seen her so frail, so fragile, so weak. The image he and everyone else had of Kino was a strong girl, often wrestling with the brattiest of Grandia. In fact, she’s been fighting the meanest since the day they met. After encountering who was supposed to be Kino’s guardian, he started to understand why she was so determined to continue to play music. It was the only thing that has been really there for her when she needed it. In fact, it was the only thing she had. He chuckled as he realized how pathetic of a friend he was compared to her dearly beloved piano. He knew he could never be there for Kino all the time; he knew he had no confidence, but, that feeling kept him straight. He wanted to grow stronger for her. He felt his heart yearn towards Kino again. He noticed these feelings intensified with each passing day.
“It’s ok. I’m right here,” Yuki whispered into her ear. When Kino started settling down, he walked over to the baby grand piano in the rather small piano studio. Opening the hood, he played a chord and cringed at how out of tune it was. He then gazed over the large shelves filled with music books. He noticed most of the glass from the picture frames was broken, or missing. One picture caught his eye. It was a picture of Kino, her father, and another woman. He smiled at the sight of Kino’s brilliant and wide smile, something he’s never seen before.
Kino opening her eyes, her vision blurry as ever from the tears. She wiped her eyes and stumbled out of the nostalgic room. The creek from the door signalled Yuki to turn his head.
“You’re awake.”
She slowly approached him and saw the picture frame in his hand.
“What are you looking at…oh this picture. I hardly remember the memory that goes with it.”
“Who’s this woman?”
“My mom.”
“Eh?!”
“What? You can’t see the resemblance?”
Yuki stared at the woman a little more and noticed the smiles matched.
“You both have the same smile. How come you don’t smile like that anymore?”
“You’re asking something I can’t answer. Could you please not tease me while I’ve got a cold?”
“Well, I’m sure Eric would fall in love with you if you smiled like this,” Yuki suggested bitterly as he knew how much Kino admired him. Kino was flustered from the comment, making incomprehensible noises.
“So what happened to your mom then?”
“She died,” Kino said simply as she walked over to Yamaha, gliding her hand down the keys, playing an out of tuned glissando. “It was during an outbreak of some disease in China, where I was living before my dad and I moved to Klinton.”
“Oh that’s terrible.”
“I don’t have many pictures of her. But that other woman says I look just like her.”
“So who’s that lady—“
“My father’s mistress I suppose. An old lover he had in high school. She divorced her husband so she could be with him when we came back, but obviously it didn’t work too well when she found out I was tagging along. Keeps blaming me for taking him away from her, don’t understand why because she was the one hogging him the entire time.”
Kino recalling the memories, all the arguments they had, and wars they had in this room.
“And your father died during a shooting in New York…”
“Yup. Yamaha and I sure went through a lot. I’m just glad he’s still here.”
“You must have been lonely.”
“Not really.”
“Why not?”
“Cause I had you. My dad died during the year I met you so…”
She said looking at him, as if the answer was obvious. Yuki took time to calculate it in his head and realized what Kino said was true. He was baffled by how he never made the connection before.
“What?! My God, how dense I was as a child.”
“You’re still pretty dense,” she said bluntly.
Yuki ruffled with his hair, awkwardly scanning the room. He felt everything was left still with a pretty decent dust collection. He looked at a picture on the side with just her father and Kino. Both stood happily together. Kino held a piano certificate, while her father took the picture with his free hand from above. It was a Kodak moment you could say. He began to painfully realize the similarities her father and Eric shared.
“Is it your dream to follow in your father’s footsteps? To prove to your ‘guardian’ she was wrong?”
“That would be nice,” she thought, pressing her finger into the keys, “I don’t know if that would have brought a smile on his face if I said that to him.”
“Then what is your dream then?”
Kino looked at Yuki. She felt the question was intrusive.
“I’m just curious.”
She looked back down at the keys and hesitated to say the words. She whispered them but Yuki obviously didn’t hear it.
“To prove I’m Kino Pavane.”
The gravity of her words pulled a string in Yuki. She didn’t have to explain to him, he knew what they meant. He chuckled, not the least bit surprised and gave her a smile.
“I’ll make sure it happens! What else is a friend for?”
Yuki gently grabbed her arm and pulled her into an embrace, reassuring her that she wasn’t alone anymore, that there was someone who didn’t blame her.
“Sexual harassment. That’s what this is, and you’ll catch my cold,” she spoke semi-sarcastically as if trying to sound uncaring, to hide her embarrassment.
“Then you’ll take care of me won’t you?” He teased.
“Dummy. I just told you not to tease me.”

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