“Found some, but it's not enough.” Yukio's face split up in a laugh. “Never enough of those,” he said and pointed up the street. “I saw a store back there earlier. See if they have some?”
Kyoko smile and took his hand. They were on shopping duty for the last evening at the resort. Despite Urufu's sudden retreat into himself and the unexpected work turning up the second day their field trip has been a resounding success this far. At least if she excluded the embarrassing event last night when the home-made brothers had made an attempt at peeping on the girls bathing.
It had been a failure until both Urufu and Kuri-chan appeared stark naked from the family bath wondering what was going on. After receiving what had to be the worst verbal bashing in their lives both Dai-kun and Hideo-kun declined an offer to learn proper sauna behaviour from Urufu and Kuri-chan.
“Yukio, did Ryu say anything?”
Don't play cute with me! “Yukio!” Kyoko said and pulled his hand.
“They were just talking all the time. Ryu said it was about as exciting as taking a bath at home, and then Urufu said 'good boy', and that was is.” Yukio shrugged, but he did blush a bit.
The Wakayamas hadn't declined that offer, but Noriko's recounting of sharing the family bath with her brother, Urufu and Kuri-chan had been just as boring. Should have joined them. Wonder if Yukio thinks the same?
“Oh, then I guess it wasn't that much to talk about,” she said instead of thinking too much about sharing a bath with him.
Yukio took a few steps and pulled her with him. “Seems the university tradition when they were students was sharing the sauna. I guess they're used to it.” This time he didn't blush when he shrugged.
“Funny people, Swedes,” Kyoko observed as they came close to the shop. “Wouldn't you say so,” she said when he didn't answer.
Pushing aside the curtains Yukio only gave her a thoughtful look. He waited for her to come inside. “I don't know about funny. There must be things we do that seem outlandish to them.”
Kyoko thought about that while they got help to locate what few fireworks were to be had. Are we strange to them? But they live here now. She hadn't heard Kuri-chan complain about Japan, but what if she silently disagreed. Maybe she was just too polite to say so.
They walked back with bags full. Even though they couldn't hold hands they still managed to steal kisses from time to time. To hell with proper behaviour. She wasn't about to compromise with her new-found happiness. Obviously they never went as far as Urufu and Kuri-chan had done that day by the pool. For once those two had a semblance of privacy rather than walking down a small town street, but Kyoko also didn't feel all that comfortable with getting so physical yet. Not that she wasn't curious, and again a picture of sharing last evening's bath with Yukio came to her mind.
“Sorry, what did I do?”
Kyoko realised she had pulled away from Yukio, and now she was blushing furiously. “Nothing, we didn't do anything!”
“We?” he asked and gave her one of those infuriatingly curious looks.
She made an effort to study one of the vending machines they passed, and after that she pretended that a microscopic town garden was the most interesting thing in the world.
“Girls!” he said and increased his steps.
Sorry, Yukio, but we're not talking about that now. Kyoko looked at his backside and tried to catch up with him. Ahead of them the street opened up to the seaside road feeding the town and the walkway on the other side of it. The afternoon sun glared down from over the mountains, but the worst of the August heat was gone.
On the beach she saw the club members playing in the water or lazily talking under the shade of parasols they had brought down from the hotel. Funny, I never missed that part very much when I couldn't have it, and now when I can I miss it even less. It felt strange looking at her schoolmates having the time of their lives and not needing to be part of it. Yukio, I love you. When I'm with you I don't need anything else. Even when you're grumpy, she added as an afterthought and ran to his side.
Her parents would disapprove. In their eyes anyone associated with divorce was a failure, but she didn't care. No that wasn't true. If she didn't then she would have told them by now, and she hadn't. She shook the thought away and brushed her hand against Yukio's.
“Sorry,” she said, “but there are things I'm not ready to talk about yet, OK?”
“Huh?” He looked at her over his shoulder and then he smiled. “Oh, I don't mind. I want to share everything with you, but only when you want to.”
Both of them must have realised what he just said at the same time, because they stopped dead in their tracks and stared at each other. Kyoko felt her face heat up and guessed she was turning just as red as him.
“I didn't mean it that way...”
Kyoko stared at her feet feeling strangely disappointed.
“Well, I didn't mean that I didn't mean, but I didn't...” His voice petered out into absolute embarrassment.
“… we don't...”
“… talk about it...”
“… right now?”
She dropped her bags at her feet and threw herself around his neck. It felt less awkward burying her face into his shoulder, and she wanted to be really close to him right now.
A lone bottle of tea rolled slowly down the street. She could hear its plastic thumping, but she didn't care. They could pick it up later. He smelled of sweat and a little of deodorant. He smelled like her Yukio, like what she imagined when fantasies of him came unbidden to her late at night when she needed her loneliness banished.
That thought surprised her. Loneliness. Only after she made friends with Kuri-chan did she realise she had spent all those earlier years feeling lonely, and now when she had Yukio she finally started to understand just how lonely.
“Yukio,” she murmured into his shirt, “don't ever let me go. Don't ever let me wake up one morning knowing you're no longer there.” The fear of being alone again grew stronger now that she knew what it was feeling loved. It didn't matter that it maybe was just a teenage fling; for her he was the most important being in the world. More important than Kuri-chan and even her parents. She clung tighter to him.
“I won't. Wherever you go I'll follow.”
It didn't matter if it was a promise he wouldn't be able to keep in the end. It didn't matter if she eventually would no longer want him to keep it. It only mattered that he had said it to her, right here and right now.