A bit back I wrote a short one-shot called Miyuki's happiness. I liked writing that story and had the urge to expand on it and to explore how Miyuki's illicit affair with her lover Ayaka turned into something more and finally became so important to her that Miyuki'd risk everything for it and ended up divorcing her husband and chosing her own destiny. This is one of those stories that grabs a writer by the throat and doesn't let go until it's been written.
It turned out a bit longer than expected, but it was nice to explore the characters of Ayaka and Miyuki. But now I should probably get back to the next chapter of Summer Holiday. :)
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Well, not Strawberry Panic, at least. I do own a Suigintou Pullip doll... Though it's more correct to say that Suigintou owns me instead. :) On a more serious note, this story has some swear-words and some limey scenes, and is probably skirting near an M-rating, though not quite enough to warrant it, in my option. In any case, please enjoy.
How Miyuki got her groove back.
Miyuki did her best to wear her best plastic smile as she maneuvered herself through the rather boring party going on at her estate. Or rather, her husband's estate. The estate was large enough to hold a large ballroom, where the party guests were mingling, chatting, exchanging fake smiles and fake pleasantries.
For Miyuki, it was merely her role to play the dutiful wife, timid host and to make sure everybody was fed and had plenty to drink. But mostly she just stood at the edge of the room to look pretty and not make a fuss.
Her husband held a lavish soiree for all his business relations every two months or so, and it always ended up being the same: put the same, shallow nouveau riche in one room and let them suck all the joy, fun and sensibility out of each other like emotional black holes until they collapsed in upon themselves and explode... which happened after excessive drinking. Eventually, this party would degenerate into sheer egotistical self aggrandation for each and every one of the guests here... usually that happened after the fifth round of drinks. Such things tended to happen when the male guests usually preferred brining their mistresses, rather than their wives.
Every time the same. Miyuki had two things on her mind this evening. The first concerned her children: she had put them to bed earlier today, but she was worried the noise these fools around her made might keep them up. The second thing on her mind was one of the guests.
Though she knew most of the other guests through and through (unfortunately), the late arrival to the party was different. She was a young woman, probably in her late twenties, and was looking rather bored herself. With her leather jacket, prominently displayed bare midriff and her tight jeans, she made herself stand out in this crowd composed of suits and ballroom dresses. Her long hair which was obviously bleached blonde definitely didn't make her seem any less classy. In fact, Miyuki gathered that by the way she carried herself and from her confident posture, the woman was probably the classiest guest in the room.
Miyuki quickly looked away when the woman looked in her direction and it took her a few moments before she dared to look again. The woman didn't seem to have noticed her stares and was hovering mostly near the servants handing out drinks or the hors d'oarves table, often politely refusing offers to dance with some of the male guests... or not so politely when the male guests in question were tipsy beyond the socially acceptable limits.
And so Miyuki kept watching the woman from a distance for some time, finding herself inexplicably drawn to her. The woman was much out of place here, but kept her composure and her dignity despite obviously wanted to kill everyone in the room with a sharpened stick. Much like herself, actually.
A question from one of the servants distracted her for a moment. Miyuki talked to the servant and explained there were more bottles of white wine in the secondary storage room next to the kitchen. The servant nodded and after she left, Miyuki looked back to the woman to continue observing her... only to stare right into her eyes across the room.
And what wonderful eyes they were. Sparkling and full of life.
Miyuki stiffened for the moment when the woman strode towards her, until she was more inches away. The woman was even more beautiful up close than she was from a distance. A warm smile, gorgeous eyes, such lovely smooth skin...
The woman nodded politely at her. "This party sucks," she spoke. "Are you as bored as I am?"
Miyuki was amused by the woman's coyness. "Well, yes..."
"Name's Ayaka. Kawahira Ayaka."
"I am Miyuki. Kamatari Miyuki."
"Ah," Ayaka hissed through her teeth, displaying a 'Oh, crap I've just insulted the host by saying her party sucks'-expression.
Miyuki giggled slightly at Ayaka's unease. "Don't worry. This party does suck. It sucks every single time."
Ayaka seemed relieved at this answer. In the background, the band started playing dancing music. And a lot of drunk and semi-drunken eyes turned to Ayaka as a potential dance partner.
"Oh, god, no," Ayaka sighed. "Is there someplace quiet here?"
And so Miyuki and Ayaka both fled the scene to a quiet secluded spot near the pool on the other side of the yard. Since it was night, Miyuki and Ayaka set up two wooden deck chairs out of sight and lay down on them. Soon enough the two of them were chatting quietly.
"Thanks for getting me out of there. I really don't want to be at that party," Ayaka sighed. The full moon nicely illuminated them, while the cicadas sang their nightly song.
"That makes two of us," Miyuki replied.
"Won't you be missed?"
"No," Miyuki said. "Right about this time, everybody's too drunk to miss me. At least here I won't get pawed at, just like last time."
"Pfft," Ayaka smiled. "Tell me about it. Some of those men looked about ready to jump any available female nearby. I don't know about you, but I've only slept with a man twice. Once to try it out and a second time to confirm that it really does suck. I just stuck to girls ever since. Does that shock you that I prefer girls over men?"
Miyuki frowned. "No. I've been to Miator."
"Astraea Hill. Have you heard of it?"
"Nah. Is that some sort of resort?"
"No, it's a very prestigious private school for girls."
"Ah, that explains why I've never heard of it," Ayaka chuckled. "I never even finished high school."
Miyuki could help but smile as she watched Ayaka. She was so open, laid-back and quick to smile. And for some reason it made her feel really warm inside to know that Ayaka was attracted to women. "To answer your question, no, I'm far from shocked. My best friend is married to another woman and I..." Miyuki said before catching myself. "What does surprise me is your coyness."
"I don't believe in mincing words," Ayaka shrugged. "Better to come out with the truth as quickly as possible. What you see is what you get."
"But tell me, why are you here? Are you a business relation of my husband?"
"Indirectly, I suppose," Ayaka shrugged. "Your husband co-financed the film I'm working on right now and the producer strong-armed me into coming with him to this party to show our faces."
Miyuki and Ayaka chatted for a while and Miyuki found it surprisingly easy to open up to this woman, even if she was a total stranger. Or perhaps that was what made it so easy to open up to her in the first place. Ayaka was kind, a good listener and not to mention rather attractive and full of life. It turned out that she was a well known action-movie idol who played the traditional tough girl roles. Though Miyuki had to make a confession at that point.
"You mean you've never seen one of my movies?"
"I'm sorry," Miyuki said. "I don't watch much TV and action isn't really my genre."
"Fists of Fury? Bullet Time? Tokyo Burn? Tokko the Movie? Yakuza Princess?" Ayaka smiled.
"The names ring a bell," Miyuki put her index finger to her lips. "But no, I haven't seen them."
Ayaka giggled slightly. "How refreshing. No really, this is great."
"Yeah," Ayaka smiled. "Most of the beautiful women I talk to either start melting and gushing the moment they see me, or when I tell them my name. I used to enjoy it, but now it's just very annoying."
Miyuki blushed slightly.
"Yes," Ayaka pressed. "I happen think you're very beautiful."
"I'm sorry," Miyuki replied. "Sometimes I don't really feel beautiful. I'm a 35 year old mother of two beautiful children who's confined to the house most of the time and is bored listless all the time."
"Hm," Ayaka replied. "I'm a 25 year old action movie starlet who was often to immature for her own good and has been to rehab three times since her big break. Been clean for two years, though. See? We've both got our problems and we're both still beautiful."
Miyuki smiled and shook her head. "Well, when you put it that way. More wine?"
"Do you like living here in this big house?" Ayaka asked while sipping her wine.
"Sometimes," Miyuki replied.
"Hm," Ayaka peered at her intently and Miyuki felt as if she was staring into her very soul. "That was evasive."
Miyuki sighed. Do I like living here? Do I like dealing my husband's business associates? Do I like my life? Do I love my husband? "No," Miyuki replied. "At least I have my children." They're the reason I keep going on.
Ayaka stretched on the deck chair and started removing her leather jacket. "My, it's hot this time of year, isn't it?"
Miyuki frowned. It wasn't hot. In fact, the air here was rather cool. Ayaka lay on her side as she put down the jacket. The absence of the jacket revealed a white tank top and Ayaka's position gave Miyuki a very nice view of her breasts through the white fabric... and the indisputable proof that the air was, indeed, cold.
"See something you like?" Ayaka smiled wolfishly, which made Miyuki blush even more.
"Are you flirting with me?" Miyuki asked.
"Maybe," Ayaka grinned.
"You are aware that I'm a married woman?"
"You are aware that I don't care?" Ayaka pressed gently yet firmly.
"You've a nerve," Miyuki replied, trying to keep her voice neutral. "I was... merely admiring your tattoo."
Ayaka smiled and looked at the intricate dragon design that covered most of her upper right arm. "You like it?" she said. "I love tattoos. Most people automatically link tattoos with the Yakuza. But then again, most people are stupid. Would you like to touch it?"
Before Miyuki could protest, Ayaka took her hand and laid it on her arm. Miyuki gently let her hand slide over the area that the tattoo covered, almost afraid to touch the unpainted skin. But painted or unpainted, Ayaka's skin was impossibly soft.
Ayaka shifted even closer to Miyuki, so close that their faces were only inches away from each other. "I have some other tattoos. I'd love to show them to you. And maybe you'd like to touch those too."
Miyuki would never know what it was which made her say the words she would tell Ayaka seconds later. Maybe it was madness induced by the full moon. Maybe it was the wine she had consumed. Maybe it was the fact that, outside of her children, Shizuma and Nagisa-san, Ayaka was the only person who had treated her like a real human being in the past few months. Maybe it was the fact that Ayaka was the most beautiful woman she had ever seen. Or maybe she simply had a need that had to be fulfilled.
"Let's go inside," Miyuki whispered.
And inside they went. Near to the ballroom was a wing which consisted mostly of small rooms which was reserved for party-guests. Mainly couples who wanted to withdraw from the party, or drunks who wanted to sleep it off came to these rooms. The hallways were always darkened, the servants were forbidden to enter so the whole thing was rather discreet. And in the very last room of the hallway, after having locked the door, Miyuki allowed a woman she had only met a few hours ago to make love to her.
Ayaka raised the shirt over her head, revealing her body to Miyuki and inviting her to the promised close inspection of all her tattoos. Ayaka kissed Miyuki, and it was a gentle, loving kiss. So unlike the sloppy camel-tongue kisses her husband treated her to every month or so. Miyuki swooned Ayaka lay her down and gently started caressing her body. For an action-heroine movie star, she definitely had the soft and precise hands of a surgeon. She found every sensitive spot with frightening ease and brought Miyuki to the brink of ecstasy before suddenly stopping. But it was only a temporary reprieve as Ayaka started trailing kisses over Miyuki's body. At the height of their lovemaking, Miyuki was caught in a silent scream and dug her nails in Ayaka's shoulders, drawing blood.
Moments later, Miyuki lay embracing Ayaka with her head on her chest.
"Hmmm," Miyuki sighed. "That was wonderful."
"Hm-hmm," Ayaka smiled. "I enjoy making love to beautiful women."
"Sorry about your shoulders."
"Nah. Let's you know you're alive..."
"Hmmm," Miyuki said. "Your breasts feel kinda funny. Not bad funny, just not usual funny."
Ayaka chuckled. "I wondered if you'd notice that. I've got a little extra stuffing up there."
"Oh, I see," Miyuki snuggled against Ayaka.
"A little larger cupsize does wonders for box-office. Or something like that. You don't seem to mind using them for your pillow, though."
"No," Miyuki smiled. "I really don't. Ayaka-san?"
"It's Ayaka. Just Ayaka. I think we've passed the polite suffixes phase, haven't we?"
"Ayaka, I... I don't usually do this. I... I've never... for just one night, I mean."
"Do you think your husband'll get mad if he finds out?"
"My husband has several mistresses," Miyuki said. "I think he expects me to have lovers on the side as well, but... I've never found one..."
"Worthy of your affections?" Ayaka smiled. "I'm honored. I like you, Miyuki. You're not like any other girl I've been with. Most of them were bitchy airheads, actually."
"I'm glad," Miyuki said. "Should we get some sleep?"
"Sleep?" Ayaka chuckled and quickly embraced Miyuki, rolling her on top of her body. "My dear Miyuki. We are not even remotely close to finishing our lovemaking tonight."
Miyuki blushed. "Oh. Well, you see, with my husband..."
"Five minutes at the most, right?" Ayaka grinned. "Oh, trust me, Miyuki. I can keep this up for a long, long time..."
And so followed another heavenly kiss.
The previous night seemed like a wonderful dream to Miyuki as she sat at her desk in the study. Were it not for the fact that Ayaka was still holding her when she woke up in her arms, she would have believed it was nothing more than a dream. Miyuki and Ayaka had said their goodbyes and exchanged phone numbers, but Miyuki never expected to hear from her again.
Still, she had to go back to her dreary life. Sadly, there was little precious things for her to do as matron of her household. The servants took care of the remnants of the soiree downstairs, and she was left to do whatever she pleased. Unfortunately, that meant she had very little options. She wasn't even allowed to bring her own daughter to school: there were servants for that.
So what was left? Shopping got old really fast. She'd already been to every museum in town ad nauseum, so most of her time was spent playing with her three-year old son and her many courses. Her husband had left for Osaka early this morning and she wouldn't see him again for another month. Still, that was one small mercy to be grateful for.
In two years, her son would start primary school, which meant she would have even less to do in the near future. But Miyuki studied. She studied hard. In the years she had spent alone at her estate, she had learned to be fluent in no less than 8 new languages through self-study. But currently, she lacked the will to continue studying, because it had dawned onto her that she would never be able to use any of what she had learned. For all her intelligence, for all her knowledge and for all her skills, all her existance consisted of sitting at home, being rich and making herself pretty.
She couldn't stop thinking about Ayaka. Miyuki had always known that she was a lesbian... but she had a duty to fulfil. To her family. To her husband. So for 15 years of loveless marriage, she suppressed her own wishes and her own desires. And it was killing her.
Though she loved her friends Shizuma and Nagisa dearly, it brought her pain and a measure of self-loathing to see those two together and happy as they were.
But then came along Ayaka. And this one person blew 15 years of suppression right out of the water with a single smile. Part of her hated herself for giving in to her desires so easily. Another part of her rejoiced at finally doing something for herself for a change. If anything, last night had made it painfully aware that her life was slowly but surely ticking away.
Miyuki picked up the book on her desk. 'Swahili for Beginners'. Useless language number 9. But then her phone rang. She clicked it open and the holographic display showed a text message.
'I'd love to see you again. Please? Ayaka.'
Miyuki didn't even need time to consider. No less than fifteen minutes later, Miyuki found herself sitting in a small coffee shop sitting opposite to Ayaka, who looked even more gorgeous by daylight. The two were enjoying a coffee and chit-chat.
"When I was younger, I was in a lot of low-budget independent productions and in a way I miss those days," Ayaka said. "Sure, it was hell, but it was the fun kind of hell. You'd get do so your own stunts and wear a lot of hats. This one movie, I starred, I produced, I did costume design and even directed a little."
"They don't let you do that anymore with bigger films?" Miyuki asked before sipping her coffee.
"No," Ayaka sighed. "Insurance company won't let me do most of my own stunts. If I broke my arm in the olden days...and believe me, I've got the scars to prove it... I'd just have the cast painted and wear something over it. But if I break my arm during a big production, it'd ruin the whole schedule and possibly halt production. It's a nice job, but you feel impeded by all the rules and needless hassle."
"I know how you feel," Miyuki looked away. "Believe me, I know how you feel."
"Hey," Ayaka touched Miyuki's hand. "Are you okay?"
"What do you see in me?" Miyuki sighed. "I'm the trophy wife of a useless businessman whose ventures mostly turn out in failures and then uses me to convince my friend Shizuma or my parents to invest in his schemes. The only real things of value I've put on this earth are my children."
"Hey, don't say that," Ayaka said and squeezed Miyuki's hand. "Don't say you have no worth, because I know better."
"You don't even know me," Miyuki chuckled.
"Well, I'm working on getting to know you better," Ayaka smiled.
Miyuki smiled back. "I'm not a very interesting person."
"Is that what your husband tells you?"
"Amongst other things."
"Fuck him, he sucks donkeybollocks," Ayaka said, enjoying the look of shock on Miyuki's face.
"Mind if I ask you a personal question?"
"Go for it."
"Last night," Miyuki started. "You said you had been in rehab. I..."
"Reasonable question," Ayaka smiled. "Don't worry about it. I've been acting since I was seventeen, but got my big break when I was twenty. I went from a nobody to instant stardom and that can seriously fuck with someone's mind, let me tell you. Anything for a thrill. I slept with women left and right, I snowballed heroin and cocaine, speed, did painkillers, drank a lot to boot. I was messed up. I went to rehab two times, but had relapses both times. I stuck with it the third time because I was dumb enough to share a needle with two other girls I'd taken home for the night... Long story short, I spent two weeks crying my eyes out at my mom's place waiting for the results of the HIV test. Thankfully, I tested negative. One of the other girls wasn't so lucky."
"That's quite a story," Miyuki said.
"Don't worry," Ayaka said. "I've left that stuff in the past. Remember that phoenix tattoo above my belly button?"
"Vividly," Miyuki blushed slightly.
"Yeah, well," Ayaka grinned. "I had it done after I came out of rehab the third and final time. A phoenix reborn rising from the ashes of ruin. I thought it was appropriate. Trust me Miyuki, I'm never touching any of that shit ever again."
"A reformed badgirl?"
"Hah!" Ayaka grinned. "Partially reformed. As I've shown you yesterday night."
"I should be getting back home," Miyuki said. "My son should be waking up from his nap anytime soon."
"Just as well," Ayaka said. "I've been asked to read for a part. I guess I should prepare."
"Shall we... meet again tomorrow?" Miyuki said, unable to keep herself from expressing a hopeful tone in her voice.
"Same time, same place," Ayaka promised.
And so they did. They met at the coffee shop every single day for the following three weeks. They chatted about Miyuki's children, Ayaka's hopes and dreams, their perspective pasts, their friends, their lives and everything that came to them. Miyuki enjoyed Ayaka's sense of humor, and the ability to make her feel better about herself. Still, Miyuki was still stumped as to why someone like Ayaka would waste her time with someone like her.
One night in the fourth week since they had first spent the night together, Miyuki found herself unable to sleep in the lonely bed at her estate. She sat up and reached for the phone.
"Dammit, you stupid son of a bitch!" shouted a groggy Ayaka from the other end of the line. "Do you know what time it is?!"
"Oh, I'm so sorry, Miyuki. I thought it was that idiot producer again. Is there something I..."
"Ayaka, I..." I want to talk to you. I want to be with you. I want to be held by you. I want to be kissed by you. I want you to make love to me. I want to make love to you. I want you to take me and my children away from this place. I want you to screw me silly on some warm beach faraway. I just want you to brush my hair. I want you here with me. I want your naked body pressing against mine. I want to be anywhere with you. Show me what it is to be alive. "I... I just can't sleep..."
"Sure," Ayaka spoke warmly. "Come."
"Okay, what's her name?"
"I can see it in your eyes! It's happened! It's finally happened! Are you ready to dump the dweeb and move on?"
"Shizuma! We're in public!" And in public they were. Shizuma and Miyuki were enjoying a meal in a small diner filled to the brim with salarymen and women having dinner and drinks.
"Don't change the subject," Shizuma said. "You got laid last night. And I don't mean you got plowed for five minutes by the limpy husband. No, you really, really got stupendously laid last night. I can tell by the way you're strutting about. So, come on, what's her name?"
Miyuki sighed heavily. "Ayaka."
"Yes!" Shizuma raved and prompted pushed off to pivot her seat around... forgetting that this was not their usual haunt, meaning that the seats didn't pivot. Shizuma toppled off her seat and landed flat on her face.
"I'm okay, I'm okay," she told the startled salerymen. "Not drunk, not drunk, just deliriously happy that my friend got laid yesterday night!"
"Miyuki got laid! Miyuki got laid!"
"Yes, I think we established that by now," Miyuki said, trying to remain inconspicuous.
"So, is she good?"
"That's a bit private, don't you think?"
"Come on," Shizuma said. "After fifteen years of lousy hubby, you deserve a champ in the sack."
"Well, I, uh..."
"Last night wasn't the first time, was it?" Shizuma grinned. "Or the second time. When did you meet her?"
"About two months ago now."
"Oh, my god... you're having regular sex with her, don't you? Yes! Miyuki is having regular sex! Hallelujah, praizzelord!"
"Shizuma, stop this!"
"I'm hurt," Shizuma said. "Here you are having wonderful adventures, and you haven't told your best friend Shizuma about any of this. Why not?!"
"Because you'd only embarrass me in public! Like just you did now."
"Never mind that! Details, details! What does she do for a living?"
Miyuki sighed, knowing she couldn't escape.
"She's in movies. An actress."
"Wow, you're dating a pornstar?!"
"SHIZUMA!" Miyuki literally snarled. "I'm getting to the end of my tether with you!"
"Sorry, sorry, it was just too good to resist. Seriously, if you'd gotten anymore gloomy, I'd have tossed you on the pool table and done you myself."
"Would you now?" Miyuki frowned, knowing full well that her friend was acting tough. "And what would Nagisa-san have to say about that, I wonder?"
"Hey," Shizuma winked. "Nagisa and I have been talking about another menage a trois. We just haven't found the right candidate yet. We could have asked you, of course you're not available anymore now."
"Quite," Miyuki said dead-pan. "I suppose you'll just have to settle for Tamao-san, then."
For Miyuki, it was intensely fun to see all the color drain from Shizuma's face in less than a second.
"Okay," Shizuma sighed. "You've just creatively exorcized any and all sexy thoughts from my mind."
"I thought the two of your had gotten more cordial over the years?"
"Yes, cordial as in 'we treat each other as humans', not cordial as in 'I want to jump your bones together with Nagisa'. Besides, Tamao is married to Chiyo-chan."
"Well, you could do a wife-swap," Miyuki shrugged. "Nagisa-san could pair off with Tamao-san and you could pair off with Chiyo-chan. Perfect, no?"
"Oh, now I know you're getting it regular," Shizuma chuckled. "You never joke about sex so candidly. In any case, I can see you just changed the subject. Let's get back to Ayaka. I want to see a picture."
Miyuki sighed and produced a small mobile from her pocket. She flipped it open and held it out to Shizuma.
"Wow," Shizuma grinned. "Nice catch."
"She's more than that," Miyuki said. "Shizuma, she's made me feel alive for the first time in fifteen years."
Shizuma took her hand and squeezed it. "Sorry to give you grief about this, Miyuki. I'm just happy for you."
"I know," Miyuki smiled.
"How about we go fencing again, Miyuki?" Shizuma said. "It's been a while since we did."
"Oh, I can't believe it," Ayaka buried her head in her hands, causing her blonde mop to spill forward over their table. Thankfully, the coffee shop was mostly empty this time of night, so nobody noticed her wails.
"Why are you embarrassed?" Miyuki smiled as she sipped her coffee. "You made those movies."
"Yeah, I know but... you're a refined lady, you're not supposed to watch movies like that," Ayaka said. "And of all the movies I made, you had to pick the biggest pieces of crap I ever made."
Miyuki giggled. "I don't know, I liked Planetfall Earth. It's like Men in Black, but with beautiful girls and more shooting."
"Don't remind me," Ayaka said. "Why didn't you see Yakuza Princess or Bullet Time? Those are great movies."
Miyuki smiled. "I thought we could watch those together. We could snuggle up and you could tell me how those movies were made and how the shooting was."
Ayaka gave it some thought. "Snuggling is nice. Would there be kissage?"
"Aplenty," Miyuki assured. "Oh, why couldn't I have met you when I was eighteen?"
"You'd be jailbait," Ayaka snickered. "When you were eighteen, I was eight."
"Bit too young," Miyuki gave a lopsided grin.
"Oh, I don't know," Ayaka grinned. "I always liked older women. And even then I was peeking underneath skirts all the time."
"Tell me, Ayaka," Miyuki said. "How do you do scenes like... The scene in Planetfall Earth were you were jumping off a stack of crates and you fly through the air in slow motion firing your guns at the aliens. And then you land in the dirt, rolling over and then firing again. How do you do that? Is it good timing."
Ayaka smiled. "No, actually, it's three scenes taped separately. The first scene has me jumping off the crates and landing onto a mat next to it. The second scene has me sorta catapulted over the dirt-path and landing on another map. The third scene, well, I had to jump out of frame and the camera's were made to set it up as if I had just landed in front another angle. With the help of movie magic, they cut the scenes together into one single coherent scene. You'd be amazed how many tricks there are to make the movie-going public see what we want them to see."
"But what about the firing of the weapons?" Miyuki asked. "You use blanks, right?"
"Ah," Ayaka said. "Actually, in those kind of scenes, we don't. Blanks can be just as deadly as a normal bullet from up close due to the energy discharge. If I fly through the air, land on the gun and it accidentally goes off, it could kill me. So they just give me props and they add in the muzzle flashes later. If you put the movie on freeze-frame and click through it, you can see that I'm not actually pulling the triggers."
"Yes... and that was boring movie-fact number twelve," Ayaka chuckled.
"No, no, this is fascinating," Miyuki said. "Besides, now I can brag to Shizuma that my girlfriend is this bad-ass leather-clad gun-toting alienkiller."
"I'm sort of worried about that double-date with your friend Shizuma and her wife Nagisa," Ayaka said. "Your friends sounds like a rather, well, intense person."
"Oh, she is," Miyuki said. "But don't worry, I can handle her. Now, how about to tell me some more about the movie. That big alien at the end..."
"Ah, yes," Ayaka chuckled. "The blood that alien spewed was actually a clever mix of pudding, raspberry juice and KY-jelly for extra substance. It became this really vile looking mixture."
"Excuse me, KY-jelly?"
"You'd be surprised how often KY-jelly is used in the movies," Ayaka said. "It's perfect for simulating slime or drool and it's usually also part of many recipes for fake blood. For example..."
And so Ayaka spent hours introducing Miyuki to the many aspects of movie-magic.
The howling wind whipped around the cabin, blowing snow across the window-pane. It was comfortable inside the cabin, though. Though it was cold outside and the cabin was dangerously close to being snowed in, the fire burning inside the bedroom kept the air reasonably warm. The two occupants of the bed, however, didn't notice the fire or the howling wind, as the two were in the later stages of a stupendously good session of serious lovemaking. Ayaka lay on her back, her arms thrown out and grasping the mattress tightly.
Ayaka's vision started to blur as she arched her back and let out another lust-filled moan. She threw her head around wildly. Though the haze, she briefly noticed the door was open, but she paid it no mind. There were better things to worry about than to having to stand up to close the door right now.
Another orgasm was fast approaching. Or at least it was until Ayaka's eyed locked on to the confused three year old boy now standing in the room next to their bed.
"GAH!" Ayaka cried out. "Hiro-kun!"
"Aunt Ayaka-san?" little Hiro asked. "What's mommy doing?"
"Huh?" Miyuki's popped out from under the duvet, her upper body still nestled between Ayaka's legs. "Oh, honey, what... Oh, god..."
"Mommy was just, uhm..." Ayaka gulped. "She was just, uhm..."
"Checking for bed-bugs!" Miyuki said quickly after rolling off Ayaka.
"Yes, yes!" Ayaka said, while Miyuki lay down and quickly pulled the duvet over herself and Ayaka. "They bite, you know? And if I'm lucky, your mommy does too."
"Ayaka!" Miyuki hissed, then turned back to Hiro. "What's wrong, Hiro? Can't you sleep?"
"No," Hiro pouted. "There's monsters out of the cabin. I just know it. I'm scared, mommy. Can I sleep in bed with you and aunt Ayaka-san?"
Miyuki and Ayaka exchanged a look. "Sure, kiddo," Ayaka was the first one to speak. "And if any monsters show up, your mom and I will beat them up and toss them out of the cabin. Hop on in."
The grateful young boy didn't waste any time and walked onto the bed, crawling under the duvet in between them. "Hey, why aren't you wearing any clothes?"
"Well," Miyuki thought for a moment. "We, uh, we were both really warm, so we took off our nightshifts."
"Ah, okay," Hiro smiled. "You're both really sweaty too. You need to take a shower," he giggled.
"Oh, yes, please," Ayaka grinned.
"I feel sorry for you, aunt Ayaka-san," Hiro pouted.
Ayaka frowned. "Oh? Why?"
"I feel sorry for you because there's only three rooms," said Hiro. "And that you don't have a room of your own and have to sleep with mommy. Oh, I know! You can have my room and I'll sleep in bed with mommy. She won't mind."
Ayaka chuckled briefly and tousled Hiro's hair. "Hey, little man, thanks for the offer, but it's okay. I don't mind having to sleep in the same bed with your mommy because I really like being with your mommy..." Ayaka hesitated for a moment and locked eyes with Miyuki. "... I love your mommy, Hiro."
Miyuki gasped when Ayaka's words finally burned into her mind. She closed her eyes and let out a few brief sobs as the tears forced themselves through her closed eyelids.
"Mommy?" Hiro asked with some concern. "Why are you crying? Are you sad?"
"No," Miyuki shook her head and reached over Hiro to briefly touch Ayaka's cheek. "I'm happy... because I really love aunt Ayaka too."
The smile on Ayaka's face after hearing this could have molten the polar icecaps.
"What's going on?" Hiro frowned like only a confused toddler could. "You're both acting weird!"
Ayaka was about to say something when a distressed wail could be heard from the adjacent room.
"Oh, dear," Miyuki said as she made a grab for one of the nightshifts. "I'd better go check up on Rei-chan."
As Miyuki left the room to check up on her daughter, Ayaka took a moment to grab her own nightshift. With Hiro in the room, it meant that romance was over the rest of the night. A pity too, since Ayaka had been quite eager to try out that bear-rug in front of the fireplace.
"I like you, aunt Ayaka-san," Hiro said. "You make mommy smile."
"Yeah," Hiro, now getting sleepy, continued as he nestled himself underneath the duvet. "When dad's around, mommy never smiles. She's always sad. But not with you. I've never seen her sad when you're with us. You make her smile all the time. And you do stuff with us. You take us to the zoo or to the movies or to the park or to school or to the shops. Dad never does that."
Before Ayaka could respond, Miyuki came in with her daughter Rei. The eleven year old bluette was trying hard to keep herself from sobbing.
"Rei-chan weed the bed again, didn't she?" Hiro narrowed his eyes at his sister. "Rei-chan no baka! Rei-chan no baka!"
"Hey!" Ayaka said forcefully. "That wasn't very nice!"
"It's the first time in a strange bed, Hiro-kun," Miyuki said. "You know your sister has trouble sleeping in strange beds."
"Rei-chan is eleven, and I haven't weed the bed since I was two," Hiro said proudly.
"Oh?" Ayaka said. "And Rei-chan isn't scared of monsters anymore. Mind telling us why you're here, Hiro-kun? Could it be... monsters?"
"Aunt Ayaka-san," Hiro pouted.
Ayaka propped herself up and grinned at Hiro. "Hey," Ayaka said. "Did you know I was twenty-one when I last weed in the bed? Almost twice as old as your sister is."
"What? Really?" Rei said through her sobs, while Miyuki was dousing the fire.
"Yep," Ayaka said, omitting to say that that particular episode had taken place while she was still addicted to various drugs and her weeing the bed was the result of a near-OD that had her sick for days. Ayaka shuddered for a moment, not wanting to think of that time any longer than need be. "So I really think you should apologize to your sister, Hiro-kun."
"Hiro-kun..." Ayaka narrowed her eyes slightly.
Hiro pouted slightly. "I'm sorry, Rei-chan."
"Thanks, aunt Ayaka-san," Rei smiled warmly. "Can I sleep with you guys too? My bed is... really wet now."
Miyuki returned to the bed and ducked underneath the warm duvet next to Hiro, while Rei walked to the other side of the bed and got in next to Ayaka. "I put her duvet and sheets on the line. We'll have to do a wash tomorrow."
Hiro was already asleep while Rei nestled against Ayaka's back.
"Bit crowed in here," Ayaka said. "But I don't mind."
"You'd really make a great parent, Ayaka," Miyuki smiled.
"Oh, you're just saying that," Ayaka snorted. "I'm awful!"
"Are we still going skiing tomorrow?" yawned Rei.
"Hey, that's why were here for two weeks," Miyuki said. "That and getting aunt Ayaka all to myself on that bear-rug over there," Miyuki whispered softly, making sure only Ayaka could hear.
The kids were asleep soon often, and Ayaka took a moment to point to the clock. It was 0:01 am. "Happy Christmas, Miyuki."
"Ayaka?" Miyuki asked carefully. "Did you really mean what you just said?"
"I never say anything I don't mean," Ayaka smiled. "I love you, Miyuki."
Carefully positioning themselves, both lovers bent over the sleeping Hiro to treat each other to a deep soul-searching kiss. They'd fall asleep soon after, holding hands through the entire night. And their christmas vacation had only just started.
Miyuki was having a wonderful time. Ayaka considerably less so, but in this case, Ayaka's discomfort was adding to Miyuki's enjoyment. They were sitting in the apartment of Ayaka's mother, sipping a cup of tea. The apartment was small, but cozy and decorated with all manner of memories. Mostly they were pictures of herself with Ayaka of all ages and on the walls were movie-posters of pictures that starred her daughter. Much to the embarrassment of Ayaka, her mother also kept several action figures of her more successful movies, and had just spent half an hour sitting next to Miyuki to show her a scrapbook filled with polaroids of visits to sets and newspaper clippings.
Miyuki found Kawahira-san a delightful woman, and someone who was intensely proud of her daughter. Miyuki also found it interesting to note that Kawahira-san was only 7 years older than she herself was. She had Ayaka when she had been very young.
"It was nice of you to invite me here, Kawahira-san," Miyuki smiled.
"Yes," Ayaka's mother narrowed her eyes at her daughter. "It was nice of my daughter to finally introduce you to me. After all, you've only been together for over a year. I don't get it. She talks about you all the time. It's always Miyuki this, Miyuki that... and I kept asking her to introduce us."
"Mom," Ayaka pouted, and to Miyuki that just looked insanely cute.
"Do forgive me if I seem obtrusive with all my questions," Kawahira-san smiled. Her daughter strongly resembled her. Though she was not blonde and had shorter hair, mother and daughter had the same eyes and the same smile. "It's only ever been me and my Ayaka."
"That's alright, Kawahira-san," Miyuki smiled. "If my daughter would be dating someone, I'd have plenty of questions too."
Kawahira-san turned to her daughter. "Miyuki-san is such a nice girl. Why did you wait so long before you introduced us? And she's quite a step up from the skanks you usually bring home."
This was a clue for Ayaka to become really, really nervous. "Mom, I really don't think..."
"What was her name again? The body-paint artist?" Kawahira-san wondered. "Oh, wait, I think I'm thinking of the model. The really rude arrogant one? Or wait, was it the interior decorator? The one that kept moaning about the feng shui in the room here. Or maybe the surfer girl? Oh, no, I'm thinking of the airhead make-up artist. Fushiwa, that was her name. I swear, that girl was stupid," she turned to Ayaka. "But she had a body as if she was chiseled out by a sculptor, so I'm pretty sure where your interests lied in dating her, Ayaka."
"Mom!" Ayaka hissed while blushing furiously.
"I swear, my daughter can be so shallow at times. When she was younger, she'd follow everything that had a pair of breasts."
Miyuki couldn't help herself and giggled lightly.
"It's different with you, Miyuki," Ayaka said. "I..."
"Hey," Kawahira-san broke in. "You were about to say that you love her, right? Well, don't let me stop you. Go ahead and say it."
"Mom!" Ayaka protested.
"Say it!" Kawahira-san narrowed her eyes.
"I... I love you, Miyuki."
"There, that wasn't so hard, now was it?"
Miyuki giggled even more and excused herself for a brief visit to the bathroom. After being done, she went into the kitchen to wash her hands and was about to return to the living room when she heard Ayaka and her mother talking. She decided to wait at the doorpost, just out of sight.
"Mom!" she heard Ayaka said. "You're totally embarrassing me. Why do you think I waited so long to bring her here? This is the real thing, momma. Miyuki's the love of my life..."
Miyuki smiled gently. She already knew, but it was so wonderful to hear it again.
"Oh, I know that," she heard Ayaka's mother say gently. "But this girl. She's a real lady, Ayaka. You'd better treat her right. And she's a lot kinder, a lot smarter and infinitely more mature than all your exes combined, so keep that in mind. You keep taking good care of her children too, you hear? Or you'll have me to deal with."
"Mom, I love Hiro-kun and Rei-chan too," Ayaka said softly. "There's only one complication. I didn't tell you and you didn't ask, but... Miyuki is married."
Miyuki heard Ayaka's mother sigh heavily and was about to storm in to explain... but at the last moment decided it was for the best that Ayaka would handle this herself.
"Don't tell me you're breaking up a happy home, Ayaka."
"No," Ayaka said. "Miyuki was promised to a man at birth. Her marriage was arranged."
Silence for a moment. "Oh, no," Ayaka's mother said. "The poor woman."
"Mom, I really want to make this work," Ayaka said. "As much as for myself as for Miyuki."
"I can see she's been a good influence on you," Kawahira-san replied. "She's really helped you grow up. And it's about time too."
"I want to make her happy, mom."
"Her being married complicates things, Ayaka."
That was Miyuki's cue to enter the living room. "No, Kawahira-san," Miyuki said. "It doesn't. My husband has his mistresses. And I have Ayaka."
"My daughter is not a plaything."
"I don't see Ayaka as a plaything," Miyuki replied. "I see her as the woman I love. My children love her too."
"How do you see your future with my daughter then?"
Miyuki sighed and sat down next to Ayaka. "I... don't know," she replied truthfully. "I honestly don't know. I want her in life, but... my family... my duty to them... I just don't know."
"Hey," Ayaka wrapped an arm around Miyuki's shoulders. "It's okay. I'm here. We'll deal with the future as it comes to us."
"Then that'll be enough," Kawahira-san smiled.
Miyuki missed Ayaka. In fact, she missed Ayaka terribly.
She sat on the couch at her estate looking out he window. She just couldn't take it anymore and picked up the phone and dialed for someone to talk with. That someone being Minamoto Chikaru. They chatted for a while.
Ayaka was out on a shoot. That was nothing special, since she often had four or five shoots a year. Usually principal photography consisted of four to six gruelling weeks of long days and hard work. During these times, Miyuki would often visit the set to keep Ayaka company, though most of the time Ayaka'd be completely exhausted at the end of the day. Of course, Miyuki had no qualms about staying in the trailer with Ayaka and holding her while she slept. Sometimes Miyuki'd travel with the Shinkansen to the set if it was far away from their home city, but this time Ayaka was away on a big-budget production for eight weeks. Filming took place in Australia, making it a little hard to step on the Shinkansen and be there in an hour or two.
Of course, she had visits planned, but not as often as she would like. Ayaka and Miyuki talked a lot over the vidphone and sent e-mails as often as they could. But still, real-life visits were better.
Chikaru listened intently. "Well, it sounds to me like you're lonely. Hm, queen of the obvious, aren't I?"
"No, you're quite right," Miyuki smiled. "Shizuma and Nagisa are on holidays, Rei-chan is taking a schooltrip to Kyoto and Hiro-kun is staying with a friend for the weekend. Ayaka is shooting right now, so I can't talk to her either."
"Hm, I know," Chikaru said. "Shion and I have been talking about going out this weekend. We could go to your city. It's only a three hour drive. We could take you out to dinner. And don't worry, I'll make sure Shion behaves."
Miyuki shook her head. Even though their graduation toned down the rivalry between her and Shion a great deal, some parts of it would always remain. Often the two of them would bicker about nothing and it would take the combined efforts of Chikaru and Shizuma to keep the argument from escalating.
"That sounds nice," Miyuki said. She and Chikaru continued chatting for a while until both of them decided to end the conversation.
Miyuki sat back in her chair and poured herself a glass of wine. Though she'd have some company tomorrow, she went back to counting the minutes until Ayaka'd return.
Miyuki had been feeling tense all day. And the reason for it was her husband. He'd returned from Osaka early in a foul mood. He didn't tell her why, but Miyuki could guess it was yet another failed business meeting. She knew what was coming: soon enough he'd ask her to beg for more money from either the Rokujou clan or from Shizuma.
He was just sitting there, in the den reading the newspaper and generally looking foul.
"I'm going out tonight," Miyuki said. "Just so you know."
"Going to your whore?"
Miyuki narrowed her eyes while walking to the piano to sit behind the keys. "You're one to talk."
As Miyuki piddled on the piano a little while her husband tossed down the newspaper. "Stop that racket."
"I told you to stop that racket!"
"And I said 'no'."
"That whore of yours," her husband sighed. "Look, we all have mistresses and lovers on the side, but we should at least keep it to our own class, persons of wealth and good breeding. You make it with a whore that was probably fathered by a drunk and conceived on the back seat of a rusty Toyota. I've looked into her background. She was a drug addict for two years. A slut. I'd better not be picking up any diseases from you, Miyuki. If I do, I know where they came from."
The piano barked an angry tone as Miyuki slammed a fist on the keys.
"Yes, probably from one of your whores," Miyuki returned, seething with anger. "Shall we talk about Hitomi, then? An underwear model from Osaka. Yes, obviously a person of wealth and good breeding. I've seen your credit card statements. You spent so much money on her she could probably buy her own beach villa right now! I bet all those presents cost so much, the many nights of lousy sex with you might even have been worth it to her."
"Hm," he snorted. "Our sex would be much less lousy if you'd do more than just lie there like a dead fish, Miyuki."
"Hah!" Miyuki replied. "At least Ayaka knows how to make a woman feel special."
"I don't want you seeing her anymore," he husband spoke.
"You heard me."
"I am your husband and I am telling you to stop seeing that whore! You swore to obey me when we were wed!"
"Why should I stop seeing Ayaka, then? Humor me."
"She's a slut and a drug addict!" her husband shouted. "What more do you need to know? And you let her near our children. Don't you realize how dangerous that is?"
"Ayaka is one of the most devoted persons I know," Miyuki retorted. "And she's been clean for years. As for Hiro-kun and Rei-chan, she spends more time with them in one week than you do in one entire year."
"Hah!" the husband replied. "I'm too busy. Besides, you're the one who's supposed to be taking care of the children, not me."
"And that," Miyuki stood up and walked to the couch. "Is why you are a bad parent. You are a lousy husband, a worthless lover and a failure of a businessman. The money train is over, this I can tell you. I won't go begging to Shizuma to fund another one of your failures."
"Miyuki!" her husband hissed and raised her hand.
"Don't!" Miyuki replied with an intensity that make him take a step back. "If you strike me, so help me god, you will regret it for the rest of your life!"
"Don't you see?" her husband tried. "She's changed you. Done things to you. You never used to be so... headstrong."
"You'd better get used to it," Miyuki hissed. "Seventeen years I was devoted to you. Seventeen goddamn years! And for what? A useless failure and a... limpdick!" she said, using Shizuma's favorite nickname for him. "My children are the only things of value you've ever given me. Ayaka stays. AYAKA STAYS!"
"Miyuki!" her husband shouted. "Where are you going?"
"To my 'whore'!" Miyuki shouted back. "Who's easily ten times the person you will ever be!"
Miyuki stormed out into the rain, towards the garage and got inside her car. As she sped off, she barely waited for the gate to her estate to open. Ayaka's apartment was usually about a half an hour drive away. She made it there in ten minutes.
Ayaka opened the door, being her usual left: in slippers, wearing an old t-shirt and slacks while holding a cup of insta-noodles in her hand. "Miyuki?" she asked. "You're soaking."
"Hold me," Miyuki whispered, and Ayaka was only too happy to oblidge. She took the soaked Miyuki inside for a shower (together, of course) and borrowed her some of her own clothes. A few moments later, Miyuki sat on the coach next to Ayaka, who offered her a warm cup of insta-noodles.
"I hate him," Miyuki whispered. "I really, really hate him."
"I wasn't going to tell you this," Ayaka said. "But your husband actually called me a few days back. And he offered me a large sum of money to break of my relationship with you."
Miyuki shook her head. "I'm not even surprised. Let me guess... He offered you a hundred million yen, right?"
"How'd you know?"
"Because that's exactly the amount of money he got from my father to set up a new demonstration for one of his latest failures... Oh, god, the bastard..."
"Not to worry," Ayaka said. "I told him where to stuff his money. There's no way in hell I'm giving you up, Miyuki."
Miyuki curled up against Ayaka and the two watched television for a while.
"Miyuki?" Ayaka asked and started to lift her shirt. "I want to show you something."
"Well, they're really nice, but I already know what they look like," Miyuki smiled.
"No, silly," Ayaka chuckled. "You didn't see it while we were in the shower, did you?"
Ayaka turned around, and after she pushed the long blonde hair aside Miyuki saw it: the kanji of her given name were neatly inked on the skin of Ayaka's right shoulder blade. Next to her given name was Ayaka's, and the last Kanji of her name and first of Ayaka's were neatly linked together by a single stroke in the middle. Underneath their names, in smaller kanji, were given names of her children.
"You like it?" Ayaka asked. "I had it done yesterday. I wanted to surprise you."
Miyuki touched the tattoo, letting her fingers trace the strokes of kanji, now permanently inked on her beloved's skin. "You did this for me?"
"It's my way of saying how much I love you," Ayaka smiled. "Miyuki, I... I don't want to pressure you or anything, or seem selfish, but... If you and the kids... I mean, I love you and I love them. You have no idea how much it hurts to know that you got back to that estate. To him. That there's some bloke out there who thinks you belong to him."
"My heart belongs to you," Miyuki spoke sincerely.
"I mean, if you ever... My door's always open if... If you and the kids..."
"I know what you're trying to say," Miyuki said and lay her head in Ayaka's lap. "Thank you."
They sat in silence for a while, Ayaka gently stroking Miyuki's hair.
Miyuki sat starting at the piece of paper in front of her on her desk. She had been staring at the paper all day, her pen in hand. The paper in front of her represented an end and a new beginning. Thousands of arguments in favor of signing and against signing it had shot through her mind. Duty to her family, Rokujou honor, security for her children, a chance to give voice her to her own wishes, the dangers, the risks, the freedom, the prison that was this estate.
There was only one certainty. When the wheels were set in motion, there would be no turning back.
And Miyuki just didn't know what to do. She had considered calling Shizuma or Chikaru for advice, but she already knew what they were going to say, and their opinions weren't exactly unbiased. No, she had to make this decision on her own. Though not entirely on her own.
"Mommy?" sounded from the door.
"Hey, honey," Miyuki said and took her son on her lap. "Is Rei-chan coming?"
"Yeah," Hiro said. "She was on the phone with one of her stupid friends."
"Got a question for you, kiddo," Miyuki asked. "How'd you like it if we'd go stay at aunt Ayaka apartment?"
"Like in a slumber party?"
"More like... living with her all the time. Would you like that?"
"Aunt Ayaka-san is fun," Hiro answered.
Another voice sounded from the door. "Mom?" Rei asked. "What's going on?"
"We're going to live with aunt Ayaka-san!" Hiro answered cheerfully.
"Really?" Rei asked.
"Would you like living with aunt Ayaka, Rei-chan?" Miyuki asked.
Rei thought for a moment. "Are you leaving dad?" she asked, and in her eyes Miyuki saw a wisdom beyond her age.
"I don't love your dad," Miyuki told her children. "I never did. But I do love aunt Ayaka."
"Do what makes you happy," Rei said.
"But I want you with me too," Miyuki said. "You have to remember. Things'll be very different. You're going to have to stay in one room for a while, I think. And there won't be any servants, so you'll have to clean up your own mess. We won't have a chef and both me and aunt Ayaka can't cook very well. And there won't be a yard. I... guess I'm not selling this very well, am I?"
"This is house is too big," Hiro said simply. "I wanna stay with you, mommy."
"Okay, if you're really sure..." Miyuki smiled. "Go and pack. Aki will help you with your suitcases. Just pick only the things you really want to bring. We'll send for the rest later."
Miyuki sat back as her children left the room. And she stared at the paper once more. She nodded and she knew what she had to do. She took her pen and put it on the dotted line underneath the paper to 'Rokujou Miyuki'. And by signing the paper, she had just official started her divorce procedure.
There'd be consequences. There'd be dire consequences. If her family got wind of this, she'd be disowned immediately. And she'd have to face her husband's wrath in court, after humiliating him in front of everybody by leaving him for a woman. Oh, she had made some preparations. She had stashed away a nice little nest-egg in several bank accounts on the Cayman islands and Ayaka was far from poor. But still, she wouldn't be a parasite leeching off her lover: she'd have to go out and get a job to support her family, but even with all her education, she had never been on the job market before.
The signing of this paper was the beginning of something that could become very, very ugly. But despite that, a weight that had been laying on Miyuki's shoulders for the past seventeen years, even since her graduation from Miator, fell from her shoulders. And it felt good. It felt so very good.
No more duty. Not to her family, not her despicable husband, not to tradition. She was free. Free to create her own destiny. The future was her own to make of it as she wished. And with Ayaka and her children by her side, she'd strive to make the best of it.
Happiness was no longer a secondary luxury. It had become something to live for.
A mere hour later, Ayaka opened the door to her apartment as found, to her surprise, a smiling Miyuki, Rei and Hiro standing on her doorstep with a set of suitcases.
"Ayaka?" Miyuki asked softly. "Can we come in?"
"Always," Ayaka said, embraced Miyuki and gently kissed her on the forehead. "I'll order some pizza for dinner. Oh, and hey, I've got to tell my mother that she just because a grandmother in less time than it took to say that just now!"
Miyuki smiled as Ayaka led her inside her apartment to begin her new life with her children and the woman she loved.
I actually had an epilogue planned, but it was much nicer to end it at this point, I feel. Okay, next story posted will be the new chapter of Summer Holiday.