Due to the way Hana had looked the night before, Shouta had half expected her to not show up to work that morning. However, even with large bags under her eyes and the phantom tears trailing down her cheeks, she still showed up on time. Shouta tried many times throughout the day ask Hana what had happened, but anytime he went near her, she would magically have something to do. Knowing this was an obvious ploy to evade him, Shouta became even more confused.
During his lunch break, Shouta decided to call Kichirou to see if he could help the situation. Since Hana was Kichirou’s sister-in-law, there were many things he might know. Luckily, Shouta caught Kichirou on a break as well and he answered on the second ring
“Did you find out what was wrong with Hana?” Shouta asked without even saying anything else. He wanted to get to the point as quickly as possible. He hated not being able to talk to her and considered her a friend.
There was rummaging from the other side of the phone and Shouta heard the clanking of something. There was a sigh and then Kichirou answered, “Don’t you work with her? You should be able to ask her now.”
Shouta ran a hand through his hair and leaned further back in the chair he was sitting in. “Should is the key word there.” Mumbling under his breath, Shouta told Kichirou, “She’s avoiding me. Blatantly.”
“Oh,” Kichirou breathed, all sound on his side of the phone ceasing. There was a sigh before he said, “I was afraid of that.”
A bark of laughter escaped Shouta as he rubbed his stomach, feeling nauseated. “You knew she’d act like I was some sort of disease?”
“I wouldn’t put it that way, but I had my suspicions.” Kichirou muttered, the sound of a chair creaking in the background.
Curious as to what had actually happened the night before, Shouta stared at the door, knowing that Hana wouldn’t walk through it. She was avoiding him after all. “Can you tell me what happened?”
“Well,” Kichirou began, “it seems she was confessed to.”
Even more confused now, Shouta pulled his phone away from his ear to look at it. He felt like he had been transported into another dimension. Questioningly, Shouta drawled, “Isn’t that a good thing?”
“Not to her apparently.” Kichirou clarified, tapping his fingers against his desk in his office. The children were out for recess which was the only reason he had been able to answer the phone. But he didn’t have much longer, and it seemed like Hana’s negativity was carrying over to Shouta, which was not the best thing that could occur.
Jun had spent the entire night consoling his little sister, and eventually they had gotten her to fall asleep. Misaki had slept beside her the entire night, keeping her company. What Kichirou had learned had not stunned him, but he had thought, deep in his heart, that it was about damn time those two did something about their relationship. They had been pushing and pulling for so long that if it had gone on any longer, Kichirou was prepared to pull out his ace and shove the two at one another. However, the events of last night had changed that.
“Do you know who it was?” Shouta asked quietly, thinking he already knew the answer.
A loud shattering sound broke the calm silence within Ren’s cafe. All eyes snapped to the young, blonde alpha who was frozen, staring at the broken pieces at her feet.
“Akira,” Ren called out, his face a mask of frustration. He sighed out loud, grabbing the nearby broom and dust pan. “What’s wrong with you today? That’s the fourth time in three hours.”
Akira stared at the broken pieces, her voice quiet as she answered, “I’m sorry, I’m not really here.”
Ren stared at Akira, wondering what had felt off about her all morning. She had been late, which she never was, and her always there cheerful smile was missing from her face. Now that Ren took a closer look at the young girl, she had bags under her eyes that she had tried to hide with foundation and her eyelashes were still wet with unshed tears. Instantly worried, Ren hurriedly cleaned up the glass before dragging Akira into the back room, his arms folded over his chest.
“What happened?” The instant that sentence left his lips, Akira seemed to shatter before him like the plates she had just dropped. It was Ren’s turn to freeze as he did nothing but watch the girl sob loudly into her hands before she crumpled to the floor.
Crying girls was not his specialty, how the hell did he fix this?
Sighing, Ren crouched down in front of Akira and asked again, softly, “What happened?”
“She ran away.” Akira sobbed. “I told her I loved her and she just…” Her hands fell away from her face, her tears trailing her mascara down her face in streams of black. She looked so lost in that moment, fallen on the floor, tears in her eyes, that Ren was floored. He felt like he was looking at an abandoned cat.
Her voice cracked as she continued, her sobs breaking every other word, “She ran away as if she didn’t know me anymore.”
Finally sitting on the floor, Ren looked at Akira, wanting to soothe her in anyway he could. “Who ran away?”
The name came out as a sob. “Hana.”
Three days passed in a flash. Within those three days, nothing changed. Hana avoided both Akira and Shouta as if they didn’t exist. Akira eventually became able to act like normal, in her heart, she kept whispering to herself that Hana would come around. She didn’t realize that saying that she loved her would cause their friendship to shatter. That was what hurt Akira the most, not knowing if she could still be Hana’s friend.
Just like the day she had confessed, the world had decided to make the sky cry. Rain pounded against to roof, hitting it with the sound like thunder. Akira sighed and looked out the window, hoping that Hana had remembered to take an umbrella with her when she had left for work.
Rain shattered the silence of Hana’s heart. It dripped down her face like tears, but she couldn’t cry any longer. She had already shed all her tears, she was dried up. Clouds covered the sky not letting any light escape its veil on the world. The dreary scenery was not at all dreary, Hana was beginning to feel happy as she sat in the rain. The park around her was colorful and even as she sat in it, she came up with a decision in her heart of what to do.
The swings next to her still swung slightly from the girls who had jumped out right before the rain began to pour. The monkey bars, slides and jungle gym stood quietly letting the rain create a lullaby with its droplets.
Hana’s clothes were drenched but that did not matter, her mind was not thinking about where she was and what she was around. Her mind could only process the sounds of rain hitting different surfaces; feet running down the sidewalk; splashes from children jumping in puddles; the cry from a mother; a distant call of gulls from the sea and the never ending echo of her burning heart.
She closed her eyes and turned her face up towards the sky, rain ran down her neck going through and beneath her shirt. She breathed in deeply taking in the scents around her. Rain had a scent, it was just that most people could not distinguish it from the other toxins in the air. As she opened her eyes, the rain seemed to only fall only directly above her and it followed her.
She had made her decision. She would no longer run. Running would not fix anything, it would only make it worse. WIth this thought the only one on her mind, Hana jumped up and began to run.
Akira felt consumed in darkness, there seemed to be nothing around but a black inkinesss that she couldn’t move through. It was a thick congealing mass of black that threatened to consume her. She was lost in the darkness but something was keeping her from fading, from becoming part of that abyss.
The voice that called her was soft and yet it lifted the hair on her skin, made her feel as if it could call her into that darkness forever. Opening her eyes, Akira sighed as she looked around the empty cafe. Ren had left to go pick up Misaki and Shouta, leaving her to fend for herself in the cafe. There had been a flash of lightning and then all the power went out in the cafe, leaving her in darkness. She sighed into that darkness then breathed it in, letting it fill her lungs with its depth. The sound of the bell above the door startled her and she whipped her head towards the sound.
Hana stood there, drenched from the rain, a small uncertain smile fluttering across her face. Unconsciously the two moved toward each other as if drawn together like magnets.
Akira reached out to touch Hana, her hand barely an inch away when Hana lashed out, smacking her hand away. The instant their hands collided, Hana looked horrified as if she had done it unconsciously. Akira stared at her stinging hand and realized that their friendship would no longer work. There was nothing she could do to help Hana any longer. At least not if she was not willing to accept it.
“What are you doing here?” Akira growled, her eyes stinging with tears.
Her eyes wide in the dark, Hana whispered as she looked away, “I…I came to apologize.”
Irritated at the entire situation, Akira hissed, “For what?”
As if she was shocked by the lightning outside, Hana jumped and ran her hands up and down her soaking shirt. She still did not look Akira in the eyes, as if afraid of what she would find there. Her voice was even quieter than a whisper, “For running away.”
“You know we cant be friends any longer, right?” Akira reminded her once best friend, her arms crossed over her chest, her brows furrowed. “I’m not taking back what I said.”
Hana looked up, her eyes meeting Akira’s and sending electric sparks down both of their spines. “I know you meant it.”
Akira uncrossed her arms, her eyebrows straightening as a soft look entered her eyes. “I’ll say it a million times, Hana.” She whispered, her eyes never leaving Hana’s, “ I love you.”
Hana looked away shyly, her lashes flickering downward before she looked up into Akira’s unfaltering gaze. She took that final step forward, stood on her tiptoes and pressed her lips softly against Akira’s. It was like the touch of butterfly wings against her lips. “I’m not sure how to be in a relationship, but, I think I’d rather have no one else, except you.”
Slowly Akira grinned and reached out her hands, remembering the way Hana had slapped her away earlier, she hesitated and Hana noticed. Realising the hesitation was because of something she had done, Hana reached out her hands until their fingers met halfway.
There was no revulsion in the touch, no nauseous feeling, just the joy of their skin lightly touching. This, this was what feeling in love felt like. Like a queasy feeling in one’s stomach until it bloomed and enveloped every part of one’s being. It was an unexplainable warmth that coiled and squirmed at the merest touch.
Love is so sweet, so bitter and so heartbreakingly delightful. But at the same time it’s gentle and very tantalizing. In this world where fate decided who you would be with forever, there were countless people who wished they had a chance to see those bright red strings of fate. And upon seeing those fate strings, anyone would want it. That’s why the world hid them so that no one could get it easily.
But someday, even without the sight, fate will find them. Fate will give one the one person who will make their world whole and complete everything that they lacked.
Just like in that dark room, the lights flickering on and off with thunder and lightning striking around them, two fate strings coiled and twined together, wrapping the two girls together in an invisible bond so tight, no one could break it. Their lips touched once more in the darkness, and they were forever bound by the only one that would be theirs.