I packed my things even though my hands were covered in blisters and band-aids. I had to stay up all night just so that I could finish and wrap my gifts up. Anyway, I hope they do enjoy it or else I'm gonna kick some sense into their brains! It's not easy to endure sleepless night and blistering fingers!
"Rei-nee-chan, are you done yet?" Ryoma peered behind the door.
"Just a few more minutes, okay?"
Ryoma nodded and exited the room while I went back to packing. I grabbed my camera and stuffed it in.It's been awhile since Tsuki-chan and I talked to each other and I'm dying to know what the hell happened to her. I just missed her too much. At the back of my mind, I started to think of Ms. Clara and the rest of the guys back in America.
I hope they're okay…
I zipped my bags up and called Ryoma to help me carry them. He complained why I had to bring so many things when it's just a 3 day vacation. I explained that girls have a tendency to overdo things such as packing things. He merely grunted while I snickered along the way. We loaded the bags in the car and I checked the my watch.
Just in time...
We all agreed to meet at Kawamura sushi shop at around 4:00 and I think we'll make it there quite in time. Ryoma and I got inside the car while Uncle Nanjiroh drove. After a few minutes of driving, we arrived at Kawamura-san's shop and got out. I looked around and saw that most of the regulars are there. Well, except Momo.
"Hey, where's Momo? I thought all you guys were allowed to come…"
"Don't bother Rei-chan! Momo's always late, nya!"
How can I forget? Momo is always late…
"So where exactly in Hokkaido are we off to?" Oishi asked.
"Kiari-chan said that their onsen is in Noboribetsu which is in Iburi…"
"Noboribetsu, the city has an estimated population of 53,340 and the density of 254.77 persons per km2. The total area is 212.11 km2. Noboribetsu-onsen is one of the well-known resorts in Japan and is the largest "hotspring town" in Hokkaido…" Inui said while beaming his glasses.
I sweatdropped for the second time.
Oh well, I should be used to it by now…
We all turned our head around and saw Momo speeding away. He skidded to a halt when he was right in front of us.
"Thought you'd never make it…"
"I accidentally smashed my alarm clock so I overslept a bit!" Momo explained.
"And pigs can fly…" Kaido muttered.
"What did you say, Mamushi?"
"Baka! You always say that you smash your alarm clock!"
"It's the truth!!"
As usual, Oishi tried to stop them from fighting but failed miserably.
"Is everyone here?" Ice-man asked in a stern voice.
We all nodded slowly.
"Good…" He said before crossing his arms.
We all sighed. I almost thought that Ice-man would make them run to Hokkaido. I faced his direction and stared for awhile. I noticed that he was wearing a plain white collared shirt and a black coat with a pair of jeans which suited him perfectly. Before I knew it, Fuji snapped his fingers in front of my face.
"It's bad to stare at people, Rei-chan…" He said while chuckling and walking away.
"Fuji! I'm not-"
I resisted the urge to beat the hell outta Fuji. Instead, I clenched my fist while feeling my gloves crunching up my fingers. I loosened up when I felt hands covering mine. I looked up and saw no other than Ice-man.
"You'll break your fingers if you continue to do that…"
I slowly nodded while trying to hide my blush. He eyed me curiously but I shook my head.
"Come on, let's go before we get left behind…" I said while dragging him.
I saw him widen his eyes before he curved his fingers with mine. I soon felt my cheeks getting hot by the minute. I immediately let go of him and sat in the back part of the car. To my surprise, he sat beside me.
Great, this whole trip might make turn me into a tomato in less than an hour…
The first few seconds of the trip was unusually quiet which made me relax for a bit and just when I was about to close my eyes to get some needed rest, Momo started to whine loudly causing Kaido snap something back at him and shut him up. Before I knew it, the prince of tennis story was taking place. When I was about to shout at them to stop whatever the hell they were doing, Ice-man interfered,
"Everyone, 20 laps as soon as we arrive…"
Ice-man sure does come in handy in such situations...
I smiled before looking outside the window to catch some view since I decided that it was far too troublesome to sleep because in the end someone would apparently disturb my deep slumber. I continued to stare outside while feeling my eyes droop a little.
"You should sleep… It is a long ride to Hokkaido…"
I stared at him curiously.
Since when did he get so…
Before I could finish what I was thinking, he gently pulled the side of my head so that I was leaning on him. I blushed so hard that I couldn't even think straight! Suddenly, I felt something on my head. I glanced and saw Ice-man fast asleep with his head on mine! Could this day get any weirder?
Who is he and what did he do to Ice-man?
Agh! Déjà vu!
After fighting with my inner consciousness, I finally gave in and closed my eyes.
-Nobody's P.O.V. A few minutes later-
"Nya! Look over here!!" Eiji said while pointing to their buchou and coach.
As the regulars peeked at the two, their jaws fell. It took quite awhile before anyone could respond.
"I didn't know that buchou and Rei-hime are an item!"
"Nobody had the slightest idea…" Oishi muttered.
"Saa, why don't we take a picture?"
Everyone turned to look at the ever-sadistic Fuji.
"Nya, that's a great idea!"
Fuji's sadistic smile grew even wider. He took out his digital camera and de-activated the flash. He snuck towards where the two were sleeping and snapped a photo. He took another one but from a different angle. He stopped taking pictures when he saw Reika stirring up. He immediately went back to his seat and browsed the pictures while slowly chuckling to himself.
"Fujiko! Let me look, nya!"
"Fuji-sempai, I wanna have a look, too!"
"Please try to stay quiet… You may wake them up…" Oishi said in a hushed voice.
Soon enough, grunts were heard from behind.
I groggily opened my eyes and adjusted to my surroundings. I also felt Ice-man waking up beside me. When I finally got a clear view, I saw the regulars unusually quiet. I shot them a confused look. For goodness sake, they couldn't even last 2 seconds without fighting and now they're not even making a sound?
I swear to Kami-sama, I heard them fighting about something…
I looked around and noticed that it's getting dark outside. As I looked around even more, I saw a Japanese-style building which I assume is the onsen.
We're here already?
A few minutes later, we arrived. Soon after, everyone got out of the car and carried their luggages. Taka-san's dad told us that he'll be back after 3 days to pick us up. After the car was out of sight, we marveled the place in front of us before responding to anything.
"Nya! What are we waiting for?!"
I grabbed my bags but Ice-man carried one. I shot him another weird glance.
"You are not in place to complain when you know for sure that you cannot carry your luggages…" He said before walking inside leaving me staring wide in shock.
Now, I'm really, really confused…
"You are gonna catch a fever if you stay outside for long…"
"Uh.. Yeah… I'm coming…"
I grabbed my remaining bags and dashed towards the entrance.
"Welcome to Nakagawa Onsen! My name is Ayumi and I'll try my best to make you feel at home! May I know your names please?"
"Kikumaru Eiji!! Pleased to meet you Ayu-chan!! Call me Eiji, nya!!"
"Momoshiro Takeshi, nice to meet you!"
"Kaido Kaoru… Fsshh…"
I could tell poor Ayumi was terrified after knowing Kaido and Inui.
"How about you, kiddo?" Ayumi asked Ryoma.
"Saa, Fuji Syuusuke, nice to meet you…"
"So you're Tezuka from Seigaku!! I've heard all about you! You rooms are these way! Let's go, Tezuka-sama!"
My eyes twitched.
She didn't even wait for me to introduce myself!!
I continued to twitch uncontrollably until Ryoma intervened.
"Let's go, Rei-nee-chan"
"Yeah… We better… Before I get to whoop someone's-"
"Saa, Rei-chan… You don't have to be jealous…"
I shot Fuji a death glare while speeding my pace to Ryoma. Man, those chuckles are getting more annoying by the minute…
"These hall leads to your respective rooms… 2 persons in each… Figuring out that you're 9, one will have a room all by himself…" Ayumi said while pointing to a row of rooms.
I coughed louder.
"Great… You brought a girl…" Ayumi muttered low but I heard it loud and clear.
"I mean… Oh! You brought a girl! May I know your name? I hope we can be friends!"
At last!! I thought she was all evil!
"Your room's over there… the last door to the left…"
I did an anime fall and restrained myself from destroying her precious face. At the back of my mind, the "Maybe list" starts piling up.
Maybe she isn't bad at all…
Maybe she just likes to play "pretend"…
By then, I'll just hold my anger in…
I tensed up my fingers trying to restrain myself from breaking her to pieces. The rest of the regulars went back inside their rooms while I went to mine. Just when I thought I was alone, I heard footsteps behind me. I immediately spun around to look and saw Ice-man constantly trailing behind.
"Uhmm… Why are you following me?"
"If you haven't remembered, I am carrying your luggage…"
I rubbed the back of my head.
"I guess I forgot… Heh… Sorry bout that…"
We walked to my room without saying a word. For the first time in ages, I find it hard to talk. Moments from the start of the trip just keep repeating itself over and over. Something is definitely wrong with Ice-man. I don't know what exactly is going on but I'm exceptionally sure that it's not good.
I wonder if he's sick but doesn't want to tell anybody about it.
I stopped in my tracks.
"Oh yeah… Thanks again for carrying my stuff… See you in dinner…"
He nodded before walking inside the room beside mine. I slid the Japanese door open, went inside my room and unpacked. After I did, I quickly reached for my camera and went outside.
It's a brilliant night after all…
I roamed for quite a bit before finding an object worth taking. It didn't take me long to find that perfect light, perfect view, perfect angle.
Nothing's more perfect than a koi pond under the moonlight...
I positioned my camera and took a single shot. Before I can take another shot at a different angle, a flash of white obscured my lenses. Soon, many of them crowded over. I removed my view from the camera and took sometime to observe my surroundings.
Well, Whaddaya know? It started snowing!
I heard a paper door slide not far and constant rambling followed.
"Nya! It's snowing!!"
With Eiji's shout, the regulars slid their paper doors open with their coats on and rushed outside.
"Rei-chan's already here, nya!"
"I was taking pictures…" I said lamely before going in the middle and sticking my tongue out.
I giggled as a snowflake touched the surface. I continued to do the same thing over and over again before taking another picture with the guys. Most of them were goofing around in the snow. Eiji was sticking his tongue out trying to catch a snow flake while in the background, Momo and Kaido were fighting. The rest were practically enjoying the outdoors. If the snow was deep enough, they would have started a snow fight just then. Too bad they had to wait for tomorrow.
"Oh, there you are! I've been looking all over the place for you, guys!"
I immediately recognized that annoying, pesky voice of hers. Wait, scratch that. I mean, that "uncontrolled" voice of her.
Heck, I was trying my best to be kind!
"These way to the dining hall!"
We trailed behind her to the dining hall but when she saw Ice-man, she immediately latched hers into his arm.
The nerve! What happened to the next generation of Eve?!
If I remembered correctly, she didn't flirt with Adam!!
I continued to twitch as we neared the dining hall. Ice-man and the regulars started to take their seats and as I was about to take mine beside him, I got pushed by someone that I bumped my head on the opposite wall.
"Your seat's over there, girly…" Ayumi said while pointing to the FAR end of the room.
I saw cobwebs and insects crawling over that FAR end of the room…
I decided to restrain myself even more and patiently went to my seat. I twitched even further as I noticed a single piece of wasabi sushi on my disfigured plate which was placed beside cold tea which looked grimy and plain gross. I looked at my side and noticed that the regulars are having the time of their life with an assortment of sushi and other delicious foods.
"Uhmm.. I'm gonna skip dinner…" I said before standing up and going to my room gloomily.
"If you change your mind, the food's exactly were you left it, girly!" Ayumi said while latching to Ice-man.
"My name's… Ugh... never mind…" I said before sliding the door shut.
I dragged my feet to my room and slumped down for a bit. Growling ever so loudly, my stomach annoyed me to the highest bit. I punched my tummy and scolded,
"You shouldn't be complaining… You were better off without that wasabi sushi and that poison tea!"
Talking to my tummy isn't the best thing to do. Figuring that out, I grabbed my camera once again and set off to take some pictures. I slid the door and went outside.
Crap, I forgot my coat…
Ignoring the thought, I walked even further to find two birds huddling on a nearby branch keeping each other warm.
Well that's friggin sweet…
I snapped a picture and strolled down even further. I found a rock, big enough to sit on. I dusted some snow off and sat down. I raised my camera catching the view of the night sky. I took another shot and heard my name being called not far away. I turned around and saw Ice-man panting while his breath turns to a foggy mist or something like that…
"Uhmm… What are you doing here?"
"I brought you food…"
"Too bad, I'm not-"
Of all the moments we had together, my stomach chose to betray me and growled loudly. I ignored it while Ice-man's still dumbfounded. I patted down my rock, motioning him to join me.
"This rock can hold one more person, care to join in?" I asked.
He didn't answer but slowly walked towards my rock. I extended my hand out so that he can get on top of it and surprisingly, he took it. He sat down and placed a bento on my lap. I opened it and found it steaming hot. I smiled cheerfully and took a sushi. Ice-man eyed me but proceeded to watch the stars. I soon noticed that his mouth stood agape so without thinking, I stuffed a sushi. I watched him choke slightly but he ended up swallowing it. I giggled slightly before explaining it to him.
"Think of it as a "thank you gift"…" I said.
We continued to watch the stars while eating our sushi. I shivered slightly but proceeded to eat my sushi. I suddenly felt warmer and noticed that Ice-man removed his coat and draped it over my shoulders. I immediately put half of the coat over him.
"You'll get cold, too!"
He nodded and inched closer. I blushed noticing how close we were. Good thing it was snowing so red cheeks aren't a big deal.
"Oi, What's wrong with you? You haven't talked in quite awhile…" I asked him.
He shook his head and continued staring off to the skies, seemingly in deep thought. A thought flashed in my brain which made me grab my camera. I inched towards him and put the camera in front of us before snapping the photo. Before I could react with the photo I just took, I pointed to the sky and stated,
I closed my eyes and wished for something I really, really want. After I did, I slowly opened my eyes and saw Ice-man mumbling something while looking at the skies.
So he does believes in such things…
I smiled before telling him that we should head back soon before we freeze to death. He went down the rock first to help me get down. Aftre that, we went to our rooms and bid each other goodnight. I decided that I needed to take a dip since I'm nearly frozen to death so I slowly walked to find the door farthest and slid it open. I grabbed a towel and sunk slowly into the hot spring. Upon contact with the warm water, I closed my eyes and relaxed. Not long after, I heard the door open but didn't bother to open my eyes.
Must be Ayumi-san…
"Rei-chan's here too, nya!"
My eyes nearly popped out of my sockets when I recognized that voice. To make things worst, all of them are standing on the doorway half naked!
"What the hell are you guys doing here?!" I shouted at the top of my lungs.
"Saa, in case you didn't remember, Ayumi-san said that it's a mixed bath.."
That hag didn't tell me!!
I soon realized that I'm almost naked myself. With that, I sunk lower with the water covering half my face. They jumped in the water making mini waves and I still haven't moved in my position. Soon, they started chatting and quarreling like nothing's going on.
"Are you all right with this? I can make them leave if they trouble you…"
I turned to my side and saw Ice-man looking relaxed.
Ack! He's half naked plus the steam makes him a bazillion times hotter, how can he be so relaxed??
"Uh… I'm okay…" I said shakily trying to avoid his gaze.
He replied with a nod and I continued to watch the prince of tennis story unfold for the bazillionth time. I decided to go before I got seriously in trouble with my teenage hormones. I got my towel which was lying around a nearby rock and wrapped it around me. I immediately stepped out of the hot spring and slid the door close. After that, I heard Ryo-kun's voice saying,
"Momo-sempai, your nose is bleeding…"
More rambling followed shortly. Ignoring the noise around me, I rummaged through the drawers and changed into a pink yukata I found neatly folded. After I did, I towel dried my hair and went back to my room. I slumped back to my bed and closed my eyes.
Tomorrow's finally Christmas…
"Nya! Wake up, Rei-chan!!"
I opened my eyes groggily only to see the regulars standing at the doorway. All of them except Ice-man.
"You have 5 seconds to explain why you're here, disturbing my sleep at exactly…"
I glanced at the wall clock.
"12:01 in the morning…" I said while stifling a yawn.
"It's Christmas, nya!!"
I almost forgot…
"I'll get ready… Go away…" I said while shooing them away and sliding the door shut.
I went to slump back at my bed to get some shut eye when the door slid open again.
"Wake up, Rei-chan!!" Eiji shouted while shaking me violently.
"Ok ok… I'm up… Now you guys certainly have to go… I need to get dressed…" I said while shooing them once again.
"I won't sleep further… Meet you later…"
With that, I slid the door shut. I rummaged through the closet and found a plain yukata. It took me quite awhile to put it on but nonetheless, I made it somehow. After I brushed my hair, I quickly set off to find the rest of the guys going to the dining hall. Eiji was constantly ranting on how excited he is that Christmas has come. I would love to join in but it was far too early and my energy level is too low to be shouting early in the morning.
"TEZUKA-SAMA!! Wait, where's Tezuka-sama?"
"Let's go to the dining hall! I figured out that you'll be up early so I prepared an extra special breakfast for everyone!"
I'm starting to think if "everyone" includes me…
As if reading my mind, Ayumi replied,
"That includes you, too, missy…"
Ok. That was really freaky.
But never mind that, at least I'll be eating a decent meal! But it was too late before I figured something out. I didn't know that I was really slow.
"My name's not-"
"We should hurry everyone! You wouldn't like cold food, would you?"
Just when I thought that she was being nice….
When we arrived, I sat back at my usual spot at the far end of the room. This time, my food's the same as the others which made me smile for a bit. One by one, the regulars started eating their share and I went down with mine, too. I looked around and felt different that Ice-man isn't in his usual place. Shrugging the idea off, I chowed down the rest of my breakfast and noticed that the rest of the guys finished eating as well.
"Go get your gifts, nya! It's gift giving time!!"
With that, we all went to our respective rooms and got our gifts. We came back a few minutes later holding gifts of different sizes and shapes.
"Rei-chan's gonna go first, nya!" Eiji shouted while pushing me in front.
I gave each of them a parcel and went back down. Before Momo could open it, Eiji stopped him.
"We're gonna open it all at the same time, nya!!"
When everyone else has given their gifts, Eiji counted.
"1.. 2.. 3.. OPEN YOUR GIFTS, NOW!!"
I tore open my gifts and saw various things of some sort. Ranging from plushies to accessories and sweets! I soon noticed that a single parcel unopened.
Where the hell is he?!
"Rei-chan! You made this scarf especially for me, nya!!" Eiji said while glomping me.
"No biggie…" I said while rubbing the back of my head.
"Saa, that explains the band-aids all over your hands…"
"Yeah… I guess…"I said while smiling sheepishly.
"Rei-hime sacrificed her hands to make us our personal scarves!!" Momo cried anime-style.
"Rei-chan's so sweet, nya!" Eiji cried along with him.
"We're gonna wear this for the rest of our lives!!" They shouted in unison.
They weren't serious were they?
"Let's take a walk outside…" I said while motioning them to go outside.
We all grabbed out coats and left our things inside. To my surprise, they all grabbed their scarves and wrapped it around their necks, which made my heart jumped happily. Just in time, the sky lit up faintly. Even though the sun wasn't clearly visible due to the clouded skies, it still felt good that it's starting to lighten up a bit.
If only he was here…
Out of nowhere, something cold splattered on my face. I ran a hand through it and removed the rest before knowing what it was.
"Rei-hime! I'm so sorry! Mamushi was the one to blame since he-"
Without warning, I threw a snowball that hit him squarely on the face. I snickered slightly before feeling something cold behind me.
"Saa, my hand slipped…"
That was a lame excuse.
With that, I showered him with infinite snow balls but he evaded each and every one. Out of nowhere, Ryoma grabbed a racket and gave it to Taka-san which in turn, made us run for our lives unless we want to be buried in a few dozen feet under the snow. While Inui was creating the formula for the perfect snowball, Ryoma grabbed his racket and took a snowball in hand. He attempted to do a twist serve but the snow ball "plunked" to the soft ground.
"What were you thinking Echizen? Snow balls don't bounce!" Momo said while holding his sides and laughing out loud.
At that instant, Ryoma threw a snow ball back at him. The whole fight once again started. When everyone was busy, I managed to slip out of sight. I quickly grabbed my last gift and walked to Ice-man's room. I knocked and waited but no one answered. I knocked again but still, no one answered. I slid the door open and found no one there. Figuring out that he'd see it when he goes by his room, I left my gift on his bed and slid the door shut. Then I went to my room to get my camera and went back with the guys. I saw Inui half buried in snow while STILL scribbling on his notebook. I snapped that one. Momo and Kaido were furiously hurling snowballs at each other on the far end of the grounds. I snapped that one too. Oishi trying to pipe Eiji down was really funny so I caught that one. I put my camera on my pocket and went to throw snow balls with the rest of the guys.
Dinner's done but still no sign of Ice-man. He hasn't shown up all day considering that it's Christmas! It's Christmas for crying out loud! At least Oishi said he saw Ice-man earlier having a dip in the hot spring so we couldn't consider him on the missing list.
I excused myself from the dining hall and went outside for a walk. It's pretty dark outside with only the stars to serve as my light. I continued to wander around and saw a familiar rock. A rock with someone on it, that is. I made my slowly, careful not to make any sound. That's when I saw Ice-man, looking up at the skies seeming to be in deep thought but nonetheless relaxed. I snapped that photo and he seem taken aback. It took him long to know that I was there.
"Got a room for another one on that rock?" I asked.
He nodded and extended his hand out. I took it and sat beside him in the rock.
"So, where have you been all this time?" I asked.
"I… I've been thinking…"
He quickly took out an envelope and handed it to me.
"I chose to refuse the offer…"
I stopped to think about what he said. I literally felt the gears in my brain winding to process the information. I could see Ice-man raise his eyebrow. Without thinking, I hugged him with the rest of my energy. I just felt happy that he made quite a fine decision. When I noticed that we were in a kinda awkward position, I slowly released my hold of him and sat back down. I can feel my cheeks getting hotter by the minutes and when I looked at him, I notice a faint tinge of pink creeping on his cheeks.
"I have received your gift. Thank you very much…"
"Speaking of which, I have another gift for you!" I said while getting something out of my pocket.
After I found what I was looking for, I handed a box to him. He took it and stared at for a long while before slowly untying the ribbon revealing a green wristband. It isn't something fancy and it doesn't cost a million dollars. It's just a plain and simple wrist band.
"You should wear it on your left wrist so that you'll always be reminded not to overuse your arm too much… It's not a good sight to see you hurt…" I explained.
He nodded before muttering his thanks. I looked up at the stars and recognize some constellations. Sometimes, I would make up shapes and name them after my friends. I soon felt something in my lap and when I glanced down, I saw a plain pink box. I looked at Ice-man and he merely nodded.
I untied the ribbon and opened the box to find a heart-shaped locket. I clicked the locket open and found it playing a tune so soft that makes me wanna cry.
"Thank you very much! I love it!" I said while giving him a huge grin almost to blink my tears away.
I tried to put it on but surprisingly, Ice-man beat me to it. As soon as he was done, I touched the locket feeling its carvings. I smiled and look back at Ice-man before looking back at the stars again. It's such a wonderful night with the moon so big and the stars twinkling around it. I grabbed my camera and snapped it.
"Hmmm?" I said while looking at him and cocking my head to the side.
He shook his head.
Ok. That was really weird.
"Let's go now… It's getting dark… The mountain tengu might come and eat us…" I said getting off the rock.
Ice-man gave me a weird look but got off the rock soon after. While we were walking back, I started to comment on how wonderful the night is and how I'm gonna miss such events.
"When are you planning to tell the regulars who you really are?" Ice-man asked out of the blue.
Come to think of it, I haven't thought about that one yet…
"Why don't we tell them now?" I said skipping over the pebbles.
He gave me an "are-you-serious look" and I gave him a wide grin signaling that I wasn't joking around. We walked back to the main room and surprisingly my guess was right- the regulars are there. I asked them to gather around because I have to tell them something really important. After a few moments of breathing in and breathing out, I finally told them.
"I'm Reika Hino…" I blurted out.
After a few seconds of staring at each other, Eiji started laughing while the rest followed.
"Hey! Quit goofing around! I'm not joking!"
"But Rei-chan, you don't have to tell us what's obvious, nya!"
"Ok, now I'm confused! What do you mean "what's obvious"?!" I said while crossing my arms over my chest.
"Fujiko told us to keep a secret but in return, you get to treat us with all the ice cream we want!" Eiji replied enthusiastically.
I looked at Fuji and he gave me a wider smile in return.
"You mean, you knew all along?" I said slowly.
"Of course, nya! Now that our secret's out, you have to treat us with all the ice cream we want!"
I stared at them dumbfounded. To think that all this time we had together, I was worried to death on how to tell them! But even so, I'm glad that they had already accepted me for who I really am. It just makes my heart jump to know that they knew the truth all along and they didn't push me away. But I still have one teeny tiny question in mind.
"Since when did you guys know that?"
"The moment Fujiko told us that you and O'chibi are cousins, nya!"
Woah… That was like… a few days after I got here…
I yawned before telling them I need some sleep. With that, I dragged my feet to the room and went to retire for the night. After all, we were leaving early tomorrow morning.
I shut my eyes and went to dream land with the events earlier replaying over my head.
I woke up extra early to pack my things up and take a quick dip before going back to Tokyo. I arrived at the onsen seeing Ayumi-chan there. She eyed me for a few seconds but went back to closing her eyes and enjoying her bath. I dipped back down and relaxed for awhile.
"Are you and Tezuka-sama…"
"Hey! My name's not-"
"Together?" She finished.
Again, I find it hard to talk. I wanna spit out a loud "no" but I couldn't. It's not like we're together but we're friends.
Or so I think…
"Just as I thought…" She said quietly while proceeding to go.
"Wait! It isn't like that!" I shouted.
She stopped in her tracks and turned to face me with a warm smile.
"Take care of Tezuka-sama for me, okay?"
With that, I heard the door slid close and I was left all alone. I pondered over what she said a few seconds ago. Does that mean that she's giving up? But that's a good thing isn't it? Another fan girl down, a thousand more to go. Darn, why does he have to have so many fan girls?
Life's so unfair…
After a few more minutes of enjoying the last of my onsen days, I rushed out of the water. I slid the door open and came face to face with Ice-man. I blushed before rushing out the door. After that weird event, I ran back to my room and changed into a white dress with blue long sleeves underneath. I immediately start packing since I knew that I was totally late and I don't want to make the others wait. Come to think of it, Ice-man's still having a dip, which means that I still have plenty of time left. With consideration that he isn't late for anything, I'm pretty much in time.
After a few minutes or so, I finally finished packing up and went to the dining hall. If I remembered correctly, after breakfast we were supposed to leave. With that realization, I paced to the dining hall and sat down at my usual spot. This time, Ayumi-chan greeted me with a warm smile and food that's not grimy and not gross. I was quite surprised myself that it was palatable. I said my thanks and she replied with another smile.
She is nice after all...
We finished breakfast while trying to restrain a whining Eiji from whining even more. After that, we agreed to meet at the entrance with our luggage so that Kawamura-san can pick us up. While I was pacing down the halls after I dragged my luggage, Ayumi-san cornered me.
"Girly, I want you to take care of Tezuka-sama. Make sure that he takes his vitamins and he eats a balanced diet. When he's sweaty, change his shirt and when he's-"
"WHY DO I HAVE TO THAT?! CHANGE HIS SHIRT?! WHAT THE HELL?!" I shouted irritated and very much annoyed.
"Because I won't be there to do all those things and I think you are the most qualified for that job…"
"Why would you think of that?!"
"You ask too many questions but anyway, besides the fact that you are the only girl I know, I think that he is "fond" of you in a way…" She said while making air quotes.
"It all depends on how you define what "fond" is…" I said while mimicking her air quotes.
"Go now or you'll be left behind…" Ayumi-chan said while pushing me out.
I continued on with tracks when I was stopped immediately. I turned around and saw Ayumi-chan with a warm smile on her face.
"I believe you haven't introduced yourself yet…"
"The name's Hino… Hino Reika…" I said while continuing on.
I know it's rude to just leave but she was right and that I may get left behind. I paced more and finally, the regulars came to view.
"Rei-chan, you're so slow, nya!"
"Sorry guys… I had to do something…" I said sheepishly.
"Shall we go now?" Kawamura-san asked.
"Wait!" I grabbed my camera and waved it around.
"Can we at least take a picture before we go?" I asked.
"That's a great idea. Let me do the honor…" Kawamura-san said while prying the camera out of my hands.
I gathered the regulars in the middle and they fiddled around like children waiting for their class pictures to be taken. I noticed that Ice-man was crossing his arms standing at the side like he wasn't supposed to be in the picture so I grabbed his hand and dragged him to the middle as Kawamura-san started to count.
He looked at me and I replied with a cheesy grin.
I wiped the stupid grin out of my face as he stared at me intently while I felt my heart pounding wildly.
He took me by the waist and stared at me for a long while before giving a small smile which left me in utmost shock.
A faint flash soon followed and after that, Ice-men loosened his hold after that. I blushed a bazillion shades of red and wondered why he acts funny these days. He said he'd been thinking things lately and whatever that thing is, it's causing some weird changes…
"Let's see the picture, nya!!"
At the sound of Eiji's voice, I made a dash towards Kawamura-san and got the camera off his fingers.
"I have a proposal for you Eiji!" I beamed.
"What is it, nya?"
"I'll treat you some ice cream if you don't murder me with your hugs just because you wanna see the picture!!"
He stood there, apparently thinking before glomping in again saying that he agrees. I let out a sigh while out of the corner of my eye, I saw Fuji smiling widely as ever.
Damn him and his sadistic smile!
We said a couple of goodbyes to Ayumi-chan before going into the car. To my surprise, I saw that the last empty space was beside Ice-man.
Something tells me that weird smiles on the regulars' faces have something to do with why I'm sitting beside him right now…
Shrugging the idea off, I sat down beside him and took out my camera to browse some pictures. After an hour or so, I felt something heavy on my shoulders. I turned to my side and Ice-man already fell asleep.
This is so weird for him to sleep like this…
Nonetheless, I took out his glasses and adjusted him so that he doesn't bump his head or anything. After a while, I soon feel my eyes drooping down and my lids are closing in. I don't know what happened next except that I fell into a deep sleep leaning on Ice-man's head.
I wish we could be like this forever…
A/N: I would like to apologize to the readers for this very late update. So far, this is the longest chapter that I've made and I wouldn't be updating for quite a while. So please forgive me!
I extend my gratitude to those who reviewed, add my story to their story alert and added me as their fave author. It makes my heart go fat to have those kinds of feedback.
Sadly, Truth, Freedom and Ice Cream will come to and end in a few chapters and you can see it by how Reika reacts and thinks. (She's always zoning out!) In this chapter, I could say that Tezuka is starting to realize something that shows why he's a bit OOC on this one.