14: "We're Really Gonna Do It?"

Honnouji Academy had been destroyed in the final battle, and Satsuki saw no purpose in rebuilding it. However, she did want to help rebuild the rest of the town around the school. In almost no time at all, Honnou-town was no longer a layered fortress offshore, but a small, seaside city with much better living conditions for everyone. The funding came from Satsuki, technically the head of the massive Kiryuuin Conglomerate since her mother was dead. In addition, Satsuki surprised everyone by giving Mr. Mankanshoku a well-paying job as well as the loans he needed to start attending "official" medical school. In a few years he could be a rich doctor and pay off the loans easily, if Satsuki even cared to make him.

Not to be outdone, however, I turned eighteen and decided to use my inherited money—the third of dad's fortune that had not been given to fund Nudist Beach. I technically owned my dad's burned house, so I had most of it rebuilt and asked the Mankanshoku family to live in it with me. There were still only three bedrooms (plus a guest room), so Mako and I once again lived in the same room. (I invited Satsuki to live with us too, but she had already sold her mother's mansion and bought a penthouse apartment not too far away from us.)

"So your family is okay now with you being out of the closet?" I asked Mako. "And, I mean, living with me?"

Mako nodded enthusiastically. "I don't know what I was afraid of! With all that money from you and Lady Satsuki, my family couldn't care less about me loving another girl. Remember, the thing the Mankanshoku family loves best is money!"

"So would you break up with me if I hadn't given you and the family a new home?" I asked jokingly. "Mako, I'm not convinced. You have to prove you love me more."

My girlfriend giggled and then attacked me with a shower of kisses and tickles. I laughed with all my heart—even though Senketsu was gone, I though, I should be happy for his sake. And now I had a lovely, weird, and adorably ditzy girlfriend and a bizarre but loving family. What's more, Mako and I had our date coming up. (Although we had planned it over a month ago, we kept holding it off until I had cheered up a bit from the major loss of Senketsu.)

I still remember that date with Mako clear as day. Despite what I had said to Senketsu, I didn't really like "cute" or girly clothes, so I just wore some jeans, my black and white jacket, and the red scarf that reminded me of Senketsu. I waited for Mako outside the bike shop of the new Honnou-town, and she was late. Typical Mako, I thought. When she did show up, she followed her habit of leaping at me out of nowhere. We hugged and I tried to start talking, but Mako immediately began to push me along the sidewalk, on our way to our first stop.

"You look really cute today, Mako," I told her, slowing down and catching hold of her hand.

For the date, Mako wore an adorable white top with a slightly frilled, enticing V-neck. Her shorts were pastel-pink and her legs, below, were smooth and surprisingly shapely. Her hazelnut hair stayed in the same short cut, and fitted Mako's childlike face just as well as ever. I found it amusing that she still wore her purple backpack with bunny ears even though school was out for the summer. (Mako and I would finish school after another half-year or so; we were both behind on our schooling.)

"Thanks, Ryuuko, you look cute too!" Mako said, both her arms clinging to my left arm and drawing it to her soft chest. "No, cute might not be the right word. I know! You look cool, Ryuuko! There's a serious difference between cute and cool, you know!"

"I see. So are you attracted to the 'cool' look or the 'cute' one?"

"Maybe both," Mako said thoughtfully. Then she exclaimed, "But I think you look the best as a cool girl, Ryuuko! You're so hot I don't know what to do with myself! Ooh, wait, I do know! Ice cream! That stuff is cold so it should help me deal with how hot you are!"

I shook my head and laughed, wondering if Mako knew how corny she sounded and if she would ever become less of a ditz.

"We're on the way to get ice cream now," I reminded her, kissing the top of her head. "But first let's enjoy the walk. The view of the sea and the town is really nice from this landing. See? And—hey, wait—" Something suddenly distracted me. "Is that SATSUKI over there?! What happened to her?!"

At first I didn't even recognize my older sister because her characteristically long, black hair had been cut to a length shorter than my own shoulder-length hair. It wasn't a rounded cut like Mako's, and the sharp pieces that fell around her ears suited her sharp features. She wore a collared white top and a long, beautiful, pale-blue skirt. Satsuki's appearance had changed drastically, but I knew her personality would stay mostly the same—she had always been more of a "good girl" at heart than me, and her "evilness" had been mostly an act to fool her mother.

Mako and I greeted Satsuki and chorused together that she looked gorgeous. She seemed a bit flustered to see us, but Mako insisted that she come along for part of the outing. We took some pictures on the landing, and discovered that photos made Satsuki blush. Then we headed to the icecream shop. Satsuki's mint chocolate chip suited her personality perfectly, and it seemed just like me to skip ice cream entirely and go for the cold drink. Mako couldn't decide what to buy so she bought two cones, each with multiple scoops of multiple flavors. Later, she gave some of it to me.

Next we went to try some cute clothes. Satsuki surprised us again by looking drop-dead gorgeous in a salmon-colored summer skirt and sleeveless white top with a bow just below her, um, ample chest. I didn't try anything much on, but Mako tried half the clothes in the store. At one point she found a short, sleeveless green summer dress that made her look just overwhelmingly attractive. She didn't lock the door her dressing room, so while Satsuki was trying things on, I slipped into Mako's dressing room.

She almost screamed in surprise but I covered her mouth with a kiss. She blushed and kissed me back as if to say she didn't mind at all. Her dress was awkwardly half-on, half-off, leaving much of her skin showing. I helped her take off the green dress and put her own things back on slowly. All the while my body was tingling with desire, and before leaving the dressing room I whispered to Mako,

"Tonight, let's take a bath together. Then we'll climb into my bed and we won't hold back. I want to find out what makes you feel good and do it for hours."

Mako gasped. "Are we really gonna do it? Oh—Satsuki's calling us."

Satsuki said she wanted to go by the bookstore, and she would let Mako and I continue our date alone. However, we decided to walk her to the bookstore because Mako said, "Nobody as pretty as Lady Satsuki should walk alone in a city, you know!" I fell a bit behind Mako and Satsuki because, walking through a crowd of people, I saw someone wearing a sailor uniform. My heart ached for Senketsu and I stood alone for some time, trying not to cry. I stared at the sky, where I had lost my Kamui. I might have just stood there until I broke into tears, if Mako hadn't returned so soon.

She hugged me. "Satsuki's at the bookstore now. Let's take our time and walk home. And then it's bath time! Everybody else will be out of the house for a little while, because mom and my brother are going to see Dad give a presentation at the college he started at recently."

I grinned. "You planned for this, didn't you?"

I remember that day as one of the best times of my entire life. With the house empty, Mako and I made out in the shower, washed each other and soaked in a warm bath, holding each other. Then, laughing, we collapsed onto my bed in a tumble of bare skin, wet hair, and fluffy bath towels. We wrestled and tickled each other till it turned into making out. We kissed and felt each other's bodies till neither of us could stand holding back anymore.

We were adults now, so it didn't take long to figure out how to do things to make one another happy. The passion and joy that Mako and I both felt far exceeded any pleasure we had ever before experienced. And if I say more, this memoir will turn hentai, so let it suffice to say we lived as a couple for many years afterward.

For such a long time, I had felt so lost, and so angry, doing whatever I wanted until I became a juvenile delinquent. When my father died, I felt more lost and alone than ever before, but that was when Mako came into my life. She showed me how to be part of a family, and she helped me in my fights against the Kiryuuins every step of the way. Anytime I truly lost my head, overcome with rage at Nui or the delusions of Junketsu, Mako always managed to bring me to my senses. I'm sure I would have gotten myself killed if not for her, so I think of Mako as the one who saved my life both literally and figuratively. And dammit, I went and fell in love. What we feel is not some shallow love, driven only by desire and passion, but rather a bond that may very well last throughout our entire lives.

***The End***