Chapter EIGHT: Promises and Salvation
It has been twenty minutes now since Tsubasa excused himself from their dinner and Kaname is getting suspicious. 'He's taking an awful lot of time in the loo,' he thought, as he checked his wrist watch, for the third time now.
"Hey, why don't we have our pictures taken after this sumptuous dinner?" Norada suggested.
"You're right! I would love to have a keepsake of this night, we've made such wonderful friends!" Yume agreed. "I'll go ask the maître d' if they have that service here," her husband added, standing up.
"Oh no, Uncle, let me ask them instead." Kaname volunteered. "Besides, I'm going to the rest room, too. See what's taking Tsubasa so long."
"Oh you've noticed, too!" Nadeshiko exclaimed. "Thank you, Kaname, you sweet boy, I was wondering what's keeping him, too."
"No problem, Auntie." Kaname said, as he stood from his chair. "Please excuse me."
"I admire how close Kaname and Tsubasa seem to be." Yume said when he was out of the room. "They're like brothers. You guys raised them so well."
"Thank you, Yume-san. It's a natural thing for our families I guess, since our families have been friends ever since," Kanuichi explained.
"Yeah, but we honestly thought it was going to end with Kanu and me." Matsude added. "We weren't getting along and even considered ourselves as rivals during high school."
"Really? What happened?" Mirayuno asked. "That seems impossible, looking at you guys now!"
"Well, we usually rivaled each other in academics and in sports, but our greatest rivalry was when I thought he was hitting on Nadeshiko," Matsude answered.
"Oh, yes. Tell them that." Nadeshiko said, delightedly, "I've always loved how jealous you were back then."
"Haha, that's true, what he didn't know was, I was friends with Nadeshiko and she was helping me with her best friend, Norada." Kanuichi laughed.
"They both realized how silly they were both being." Norada said. "And they became inseparable after overcoming the awkward stage."
"Wow, that's funny!" Misaki said. "I think it's amazing how tightly knit your families are, and I feel grateful you're welcoming ours."
After speaking with the maitre d' for a couple of minutes, Kaname went to the terrace, where the lone figure of his best friend was.
"I knew I'd find you here," he said.
Tsubasa didn't even flinch, "Well, you know me like the back of your hand." He was leaning over the balustrade, looking at the empty night sky.
"So, are you going to tell me about it?"
Sigh. I can never hide things from Kaname. "The thing is… Misaki and I… We…"
"You, what?" Kaname curiously asked.
"We saw each other last night. She saw me with Mizuno."
Tsubasa then narrated the events of the previous night, sparing no detail at all.
"Wow Tsubasa, you're screwed."
"Tell me about it." Tsubasa sighed, "I sure know how to make a lasting first impression."
He looks devastated, poor thing. "Don't be so glum, buddy."
"And you know what, Kaname, you're right." Tsubasa sighed. "She's so beautiful. And I know I won't hear the end of this but, I can't help but have a crush on her."
"Hey. Don't be like that." Kaname said, as he led Tsubasa away from the balustrade. "I'm sure you still have a chance with her."
"It's not like I'm planning to court her. I just want to be friends with her. But I don't think she'll let me, given what Mizuno did"
"I haven't known Misaki that long, but I don't think she's the type to hold grudges."
"You can't tell that."
Sigh. "Tsubasa, since when did you sulk? Would you stop moping?" Kaname said, already a bit irritated. "You won't solve your problem looking at the moon here."
"You're right. Sorry, Kaname." Tsubasa smiled. "I didn't mean to brood."
"It's alright, and besides," Kaname said, as he opened the door on their way back to the suite. "I am your best friend, right? Of course I'll do what I can to help you kids out."
"Hah. You say that as if she likes me." Tsubasa said, as he closed the door and caught up with his best friend. "But seriously, thank you, brother. I wouldn't know where I'd be without you."
"I wouldn't know where you'd be without me, either!" Kaname laughed, as they made their way back to their families.
Dessert was just served when they got back, and their mothers were delighted.
"I'm sorry we took so long, everyone," Tsubasa said, as he sat beside Misaki again.
"Yeah, Tsubasa here had been caught up with an arguing couple." Kaname suddenly interjected.
"Oh really?" Yume said. "What happened?"
Tsubasa was as surprised as the rest of their families. Of course, there was no arguing couple outside. As far as he remembers, an internal argument was all that he encountered. "Yeah! The husband was about to hit the wife, so Tsubasa here got in the way."
Everyone was stunned, Misaki included. And she was just able to gape at him. Really now?
Not kowing how to react, Tsubasa just looked down. "Are you alright?" Misaki started.
"Y-yeah… Thanks," came his reply. "I wasn't really hurt…"
"Yeah," Kaname supplied once more. "He was able to dodge the attack. But it was funny because the woman grew mad that Tsubasa interfered."
"Haha. Y-yeah. That's right." Tsubasa said. "I guess it's my fault, I acted on impulse."
"I'm so proud of you sweetie." Nadeshiko said. "Dad and I raised you well."
"You did." Mirayuno agreed. "I always tell Misaki here not to settle for guys who raise their hands at girls because…"
"…because girls are meant to be loved," Misaki said, finishing her father's words, "to be loved and not hurt."
Tsubasa wasn't able to keep himself from looking at her at that. His eyes bore into her deep and warm brown ones. It's an intriguing mix, her eyes, since it looks brown, but the longer you look at it, it's like the color's changing into a deep red. And sure enough, those lovely eyes were looking at him, too. She noticed for the first time how his eyes were a very deep shade of blue, but it had silver streaks that might be cast upon there by the light, but still held her gaze for a moment.
It's a good thing our parents are busy. Kaname thought, as he was so intently watching the two, he took out his phone from his pocket, and took a souvenir of the moment, before they even noticed. However, the trance was immediately broken when a server came in and asked the adults when they wanted to have the completely-forgotten picture taking. They looked away at once, each blushing furiously.
After their dinner was finished, they were all escorted to the adjoining room of the suite. The staff had arranged the furniture at the back for a nice setting, including a set up of chairs for the ladies to sit on. After they had their group photo taken, they each had one with their families, one with just the husbands, one with just the wives, and now, it was time to take one with just the children.
"Hey, Misaki, stay in the middle, so you can balance the two guys on each side of you" her mother said.
I was perfectly content with staying beside Kaname…"S-sure, Mom," she agreed, as she sat beside Tsubasa. This is so awkward.
But Kaname suddenly stood up, "Sorry, I gotta pee."
"Wha-what?!" Tsubasa and Misaki simultaneously said.
"Can't it wait later?" Tsubasa argued
"Yeah, and you already went earlier, didn't you?" Misaki added.
"I can't help if I have to go again, do I?" Kaname said, as he was already at the rest room's door. "I'll be back at once!"
"Oh Kaname-kun. He's being troublesome." Norada said, as he watched her son go. "He's wasting the poor photographer's time."
"It's no problem, Madame." The photographer replied, "How about we take a test shot first?"
"That would be lovely!" Nadeshiko said, unaware of the blush in both Misaki's and Tsubasa's faces.
"Please move closer to the young lady, sir." The photographer said, as he gestured with his hand for Tsubasa to move. "How about showing the camera an even bigger smile, miss?"
And right after a couple of Tsubasa and Misaki photos were taken, Kaname came back, as if on cue. "Alright, let's get this done with."
"Tonight was so much fun, thank you so much, Ada and Kanu,and Nadeshiko and Matsude." Yumenatsu said, as they all waited for their cars to be fetched by valet drivers. "We look forward to more dinners with you."
"We had so much fun, too. Thank you so much for coming." Nadeshiko said. "If you may ask, my family frequently hosts dinners or lunches and you're surely invited to all of them from now on!"
"Oh yes," Ada said, as she grabbed both her friends by the arms. "Nadeshiko here sure loves gatherings. Don't underestimate her when she says there are lots of them!"
"Oh haha, it's our pleasure to attend every one of those." Yume laughed good-naturedly.
Meanwhile, Kaname and Tsubasa were flanking Misaki.
"You guys, uhm" Misaki started, "thank you, for welcoming me."
"You're welcome. It's our pleasure." Kaname answered.
"Y-yeah." Tsubasa said, still unable to look at her directly in the eyes.
"You know what," Kaname started. "We should all go out some other day. You know, without our parents."
"What?" Misaki asked, while Tsubasa only looked on.
"Well, it's a bit awkward hanging out with parents all the time, right? And besides, we can show you better around town it was just us. I don't think your parents would like it if we took you to some clubs where they'd think we're being bad influences to you. Don't you like it?"
"Oh, no, it's not that." Misaki stammered, "Its just that…"
"You can bring your friends along!" Tsubasa suddenly exclaimed.
"How did you know she already has friends here?" Kaname seemingly asked innocently.
But you already know how I knew! Damn it, Kaname. "Well, we… " Tsubasa said, unable to decipher what his best friend was going with this. "I saw her the other night at a restaurant with her friends."
"The other night?..." Kaname asked, seemingly lost in thought. "Oh, the night you clarified things with your stalker? "
The what? "Uh, yeah." Tsubasa agreed. "That."
So she's his stalker, huh? Misaki thought, raising an eyebrow. "Really? But I distinctly remember hearing her call you her boyfriend."
"She said that?!" Kaname asked, stunned. "Wow, she's gone too much."
"She did." Misaki confirmed. "I should know, I lost a few hair strands because of her that night."
"Oh that's just low!" Kaname gasped. Tsubasa, meanwhile, was fuming again.
"I'm really sorry about her behavior." Tsubasa said, looking at her straight in the eyes. "And I'm really sorry that I gave a bad impression the other night. But, I guess you just witnessed a bad timing, and I really didn't mean to hurt you in any way."
Misaki was speechless. And Kaname was secretly delighted; his plan was falling into place. "Now, now, from the looks of it, I think you both just got into an ugly start. Why don't you start over, huh, Misaki, Tsubasa?"
I'm not sure. Misaki thought, as Kaname took one of hers and Tsubasa's hands, waiting for them to shake hands.
This is hopeless. Tsubasa thought.
"Come on, guys. Give yourselves another chance." Kaname insisted. "Besides, we're not going anywhere until you both agree."
After a few seconds of hesitation,Misaki accepted the outstretched hand in front of her. "You're so persistent, Kaname"
"Alright, that's great!" Kaname exclaimed, as he held the pair of hands tightly. "Misaki, let me introduce you to my best friend, Tsubasa. Tsubasa, meet my friend, Misaki."
"Nice to finally meet you, Tsubasa." Misaki said, shaking his hand gently.
"The pleasure is all mine." Tsubasa said. You have no idea just how much.
"Misaki, our ride is here!" Mirayuno called out. "Let's go?"
"Y-yes, dad." She answered. "See you guys around."
"Oh wait, Misaki! Since we're officially friends now, give us your number so we can schedule our get together." Kaname called out.
"I'm sorry, I don't have a local phone yet," Misaki answered. "I'll just ask your moms through mine for your numbers when I finally get one."
"You promise?" Tsubasa hopefully asked.
"Yeah, pinky swears!" Misaki said, as she approached her family's car and kissed the boys' parents on their cheeks good bye.
Unbeknownst to her, her simple reply caught Tsubasa's attention more than she thought it would. Pinky swears, huh?