Tuesday, 4 August 2015
Chapter five (segment three), 2016, August, Yukio
He tip toed past the men's entrance to the family bath. If my parents saw me now they'd laugh until they died. Yukio didn't care about that, but the thought of Kyoko feeling awkward made him feel awkward.
In the end it had all degenerated into a dare game, and now he could hear her barefoot steps behind him. None of them spoke. Speaking was bad. Even breathing too loudly was bad.
What am I doing here?
He pushed the curtains aside and rushed into the locker room. Small and all too open. In an attempt to defuse the situation he poured himself a cup of tea and sauntered over to an open window. Yukio leaned out and pretended to look into the evening darkness.
There were sounds from the room, but he remained hanging out the window. When the sounds stopped he dared backing inside again.
His heart jolted when he saw Kyoko sitting on a bench with a large towel around her. “Why? Why are you still here?”
She smiled. “I'd… I like to watch the view.” And the smile turned into a mischievous grin.
“You'd like to...” Oh man! I'm blushing from shoulders all the way up. “I… I...” Deflated he sat down on another bench.
Without a word she rose and headed for the window. Yukio saw her copy his pretence from just moments earlier and quickly undressed and draped himself in a towel of his own.
You're showing a lot more skin than you think. He stood admiring her back when she looked over her shoulder to see if he was done.
“Should we,” Kyoko asked.
Yukio looked down and studied his feet. “Uhum.” Crap, I can't even look at her face. He felt her brushing past him and then he heard the door opening to the bath. Still mute he followed her as it was about to close.
The indoor bath was empty, but he heard voices from outside. Thanks for small favours, he thought and grabbed a stool. He put it down as far away from Kyoko as possible and turned his back to her. I really want to sneak a look, but I shouldn't.
As he rinsed and shampooed the motions became familiar, and when he showered away residue of soap he had almost forgotten that he wasn't alone. When he stood and picked up his stool he was rudely reminded he wasn't. Still sitting on hers Kyoko stared at him. She had wrapped herself in her towel. A smile played on her face, but she looked more thoughtful than flustered.
For a moment Yukio thought of diving for his towel in panic, but there was no reason any longer. She had seen everything anyway. “Join the others,” he said and tried to sound nonchalant, but even he could hear how the words came squeaking out.
Kyoko took a deep breath, and then she seemed to have come to a resolution of sorts. “Yes, why don't we?” She led the way and as she opened the door she waved a greeting to their four friends and loosened her towel.
Yukio stared in fascination as it slid to the ground. With a few quick steps she was in the water and sank all the way under the surface. Her head popped back up just as he entered the pool.
Urufu flipped him an ironic two-finger salute from where he sat and immediately turned his attention back to Noriko. “And there was even more snot. Had to change T-shirt after.”
“Was not!” Kuri shouted and splashed water over them both. She demonstratively turned her back to him and both Noriko and Ryu burst out in laughter.
“What's with the snot?” Yukio asked and was rewarded with a fountain of water from Kuri. “Come on, get a grip!” he protested and pushed water in her direction.
Beside him Kyoko sighed. “Boys!”
It was almost disappointing. So much apprehension, and then they just fooled around in the bath as kids. But Urufu had been right. There was nothing exciting about it. Just the steaming hot water relaxing tired muscles and stupid conversations about nothing and everything. Well, almost nothing. Yukio did steal a look or two at Kyoko, but for some reason he soon found more to watch in her eyes than anywhere else. Eyes that looked back, eyes that shared.
Evening proceeded towards night and the sounds of a late summer's night filled the air mixing together with water constantly pouring into the pool. Soon summer break would come to an end, and he intended to enjoy what was left of it to the fullest. Yukio sighed and stared into the starry night. Are we looking at the same star? he wondered when he noticed Kyoko looking skywards as well.
Her feet bobbed up and down in the water and with only her nose above the water her hair swam on the surface as if it had a life of its own.
He didn't know how long it had been, but he noticed the silence. Too occupied trying to guess what you're thinking. “Yeah, what?” he said to no one in particular.
“We're done. You two staying here?”
“Eh...” Maybe they should leave as well. He pushed down with his hands to get out of the pool, but then he felt Kyoko's hand pulling him down again. She didn't say anything, didn't even look in his direction. “Yeah, I think we'll stay.”
“Do so,” Urufu said. “Ryu, let's rinse off.”
They rose and headed indoors. Yukio saw Kuri throw a long look after her boyfriend, and so did Noriko. So she still has feeling for him. Poor girl.
Noriko and Kuri looked at each other, and suddenly they giggled at some unspoken but yet shared joke. Shortly after both of them went in the same direction as the guys.
“Kyoko?” Yukio wondered when they were alone.
“Nothing. I just want to be alone with you.” She turned, gave him a quick kiss on his cheek and submerged. When the broke the surface she leaned back and stared up.
“You mind if I sit on the poolside? It's getting too hot for me.”
“No, not at all,” she answered.
Yukio slid out of the pool and sat down. He could see all of her, and he knew he should have felt embarrassed, but he didn't care. Right now he only wanted to talk with her, and to listen to her voice.
They spent some time in blissful peace. Two lovers, two friends, two who shared a late August evening together.