Chapter 2; Road Trippin'
After Kuno announced her dumping Ouji, she promptly called him, telling him as such over the phone. She hung up the second the groveling began, and growled in annoyance at every missed call and message he left her. She found it unexpectedly easy to not be swayed by him, and just watched as his failed attempts at talking to her piled up. After that, Mari had hinted the idea of the trip, and Kuno had pitched her plan. The group, of course, were delighted with it. Schools all over Japan were days from winter holidays beginning, and a trip sounded perfect for kicking off their much needed free time.
"Mum, it's only for four or five days. We don't know yet... Maybe a resort? Wha- how is that boring? Fine, what about a... a hot spring?" Mari grimaced. "You have unexpectedly high standards. Hot springs are not plain. Ugh, whatever! You think of somewhere for us to go then!"
And that's just what she did. Not half an hour later, Mari received a call from her uncle Kira. He was a man that was almost as creepy as his name, and Mari didn't even bother smiling as she spoke with him, thankful he couldn't see her. Despite his questionable manner, however, he did pose an interesting idea; as the rich CEO he was, he had money to spend on whatever he pleased. It just so happened he had a summer home of sorts north of Tokyo. It sounded wonderful, of course, but Mari had to wonder why. "Um, I don't mean to look a gift horse in the mouth, it's very generous, but... why are you doing this?"
"Do I need any reason, beyond desiring to please my sister's wonderful children? My wonderful niece?"
He wanted to sit in favor with her family...? No, they were pretty low on the family food chain though. Something was fishy...
But who was she to complain?
The moment she got an email with pictures of the site, she knew her decision was made. It was simply beautiful. The building itself was reasonably large, with two stories and a spacious addic, as well as a basement that used to be used as a large freezer. It was almost American in style, with a high, strong tiled roof and rooms assorted like compartments in the higher floors, while the ground level was one huge living room, a decent dining room and a spacious kitchen. The kitchen opened to a deck outside that had a barbeque and a set of full body sun chairs - something that would be sadly neglected, due to the weather- and a large umbrella, that was folded up in the picture. The backyard was overwhelming. At first it was simply clipped grass, a large, old tree that looked all too climbable and a dinky tin shed, but the lawn's neatness abruptly stopped at the mouth of a dark, intimidating wood. The picture with the clearest view of the woods was blurry, and wouldn't load properly on her computer. The instinct grays, deep greens and blackness said enough however. It wasn't exactly the most enchanting forest. She read a note at the bottom of the picture; 'Maiden's End, once a popular spot for hunting and camping, is now feared by the locals for the legends of a demon that captures and eats young travelers, and has since dropped in popularity.'
Mari cocked a brow. They actually let some stupid legend get to them? Though, it is kind of worrisome. I mean... nah, it wouldn't be true. That's ridiculous. Mari closed the window, and shut her computer, mulling over whether to go again. It can't hurt... It is a beautiful place, and it would almost be like not being in Japan any more. Mari nodded, and slid open her mobile, scrolling down to Kuno in her contacts. It rang once, then picked up. "Kuno? Its Mari. Yeah, that's what I'm calling about. I found the perfect place..."
"I don't know what kind of place you found, but the last time I saw Kuno, she was bouncing off the walls. Just what is this infamous Maiden's End, and why is its name so creepy?"
"I know right?" Mari said, she leaning over to retrieve her laptop. Akko snuggled into her side, using the computer's small screen as an excuse to get extra close. Mari smiled in delight. Shes so cute...She opened the laptop, and found she had forgot to shut it down last time. She opened the file of pictures, and went through each of them, Akko's eyebrows getting higher and higher at each photo.
"Wow." She grinned at Mari. "Nice work, Mari! This place is amazing..." She frowned. "Though those woods are kind of weird..."
"Yeah..." Mari murmured, her brows furrowing as she stared at the dark photo, still refusing to load to its full quality. "They seem so... I don't know. Unsettling."
"Well, it doesn't matter." Akko said, turning on the plush couch to face Mari properly. "Its beautiful anyways. I mean, that is a seriously cool house. All its missing is a pool, and we wouldn't be able to use it anyways."
"There is a nearby lake that's apparently wonderful all year around... when the leeches aren't eating you alive." Mari joked, and Akko snorted.
"I'm not swimming in a lake."
"Aw, but it could be quite romantic!" Mari said, looping an arm through Akko's. "Like that song, Full Moon Sway." Mari almost didn't notice as their hands slipped together. It had become second nature to touch and interact like this.
Akko laughed, squeezing Mari's hand. "Skinny dipping at night in a forest! We should try it some time." The brunette wiggled her eyebrows cheekily, and Mari rolled her eyes with an embarrassed grin.
"Why not just go down to the local swimming pool?"
"Uh, because you can't skinny dip or go in at night?" Akko's eyes twinkled. "The swimming doesn't even matter. Just you, naked in the moonlight..." Akko looked off distantly, sighing to herself as Mari blushed with a scandalized gawp.
"Geez, Akko...! Must you be so blunt...?"
"Mari, we're in my apartment. No one else is going to hear us." Akko said, amused. "Anyway, I should be allowed to talk abut my favorite thing in the whole wide world."
Mari narrowed her eyes. "Naked girls?"
"No." Akko dropped her head to Mari's shoulder, pressing a kiss to the spot beneath her ear. She peered up at Mari through her lashes. "You're my favorite thing, naked or not." She paused. "Though I do prefer the former."
"Shut up and kiss me." Akko happily obliged.
"Oh my god Tagu you seriously have to see the pictures this place looks sooooooo awesome!"
"I bet. You've been yapping about it incessantly for almost two hours." The tennis player said, closing the book she had been attempting to read since her arrival. She looked up at Kuno with a bored grimace. "So? What makes it so unbelievably amazing?"
"You have to see them for yourself, Tagu." Kuno said, shaking her head. "Those pictures... this place is like, gorgeous!" She slapped her head like she had just gotten an epiphany. "I'm not bringing my mobile. I refuse to let Ouji ruin this for me!" She smiled triumphantly, the first time she had been marginally still in the last half an hour, and jumped into action again as another thought came to her. "You should leave yours too, Tagu! We should all leave our mobiles! Severe all our links to the outside world for a week! Yes!" She punched the air dramatically, and did a little victory dance. Taguchi groaned.
"Please stop talking, shouting, dancing and just being weird in general. " She sighed. "Also, isn't that dangerous? What if we get in trouble? There could be like... bears."
"Stupid, the house would have a phone! Its not like we'll have much to do other then lounge around there anyways. Its miles from anywhere. Plus, what kind of bears would be in Japan? Pandas?" Kuno scoffed.
Taguchi rolled her eyes at the 'stupid' remark, but decided to ignore it. "Pandas are from China." The whole point of this trip was to make Kuno feel better. Taguchi decided she owed it to just go along with her ideas, no matter how pointless and possibly dangerous. Plus, the image of Kuno crying like before was reason enough to do a lot more than not take her mobile on some trip.
"I don't remember when the nature of our relationship changed enough for this to be normal."
"Probably when you told me where you keep your spare key. Next, you'll actually be making a copy for me."
Sugi sighed. "Do you want a copy? You might as well move in at this point. We could split the rent."
Tamamin stopped the constant stream of crisp eating to look up at Sugi, her eyes wide with surprise and delight. "I would love that! I would finally get to move out!"
Sugi stared down at her, an unreadable look in her eye. "...I suppose its possible. But you have all those weird habits..."
"I promise to tone it down," Tamamin said immediately, sitting up on her knees. She smiled as adorably as possible. "I'll be the perfect roommate. Pleeeeeease can I move in?"
"Pleeeeeeeease?" She said, clasping her hands together. She made her eyes wobbly, and jutted out her bottom lip in an adorable pout. "Pretty pretty pret-"
"Okay, I get it!" Sugi said, her brows furrowing in annoyance. "Just stop making those ridiculous doggy eyes."
"You know you love it." Tamamin said with a cheeky grin as she fell back down into her previous position on her tummy. Sugi snickered.
"Yeah, sure. Keep deluding yourself with that." She held up the large rubbish bag in her hands. "I'm gonna take these cans out, then I have a date."
"Oh? With which one?" Tamamin asked, having memorized the majority of Sugi's boyfriends.
"Tekade." She said, tying the top of the bag. "He's taking me to see the newest Harry Potter movie," Sugi dragged the famous name's vowels a little too long as she started toward her apartment's door. "Apparently it's really good. I remember the others being kind of pathetic though."
"Well, all the actors have grown up now." Tamamin said absently. "The girl that plays Hermione is so pretty... but in the books she was meant to be all bushy hair and buck teeth."
"You read the books?"
"Its Harry Potter." Tamamin said. "Everyone's read the books."
Sugi stopped in the hall way, gazing unfocused at the far window. It was small. "Everyone, huh..." She looked down at the bag in her hands. "Must be pretty popular if even Japanese people are reading it."
"Westerners read manga." Tamamin said, shrugging one shoulder. "Its just like that. I mean, you're a uni student. You should read more." She looked up from her DS. "Reading doesn't make you an otaku, Sugi. People don't judge you for having culture. Being well read is like being well learned."
Sugi looked at Tamamin with a little frown. "Why are we talking about this?" Tamamin shrugged and went back to her game. "... Do you know any books I would like?"
"Well, what do you like?"
Sugi pursed her lips. She had never really cared for reading. What did she like? "I don't know."
Tamamin didn't say anything after that, so Sugi made her way down to the building's rubbish area, slinging the bags into the already large pile. As she began back up the stairs, she paused. Why did Tamamin come by in the first place...?
"Tamamin," Sugi called when she was back. "Why are you here...?"
The otaku stared at her blankly for a few moments, then jerked back, exclaiming in realization. "Packing! For the trip," Tamamin scrambled to her feet. "We were meant to!"
"Crap," Sugi rushed into her room. It was almost eleven in the evening and they hadn't packed for a trip they were due to go on tomorrow! She yanked her usual bag down from the top of her wardrobe and began stuffing clothes into it. Tamamin did much the same, just in the livingroom/bedroom/kitchen. "I'm sorry!" She cried, and Sugi sighed.
God damn it Tamamin.
"Three cheers for Taguchi!"
"Yes, yes." She said, cutting off the group as she drummed her fingers on the steering wheel. "If its so amazing that I have a drivers license why not just get one yourselves?"
"I hate driving," Kuno said immediately. "Too complicated."
"I don't like the idea of it." Sugi said, gazing into the little mirror of her compact. "I mean, really. Think about it. We're in this big metal thing, going one-hundred k's an hour while opposite us, separated by nothing but some stupid white line of paint another, possibly bigger metal thing is going just as fast. If you were to collide, that would be two-hundred k's of force smashing two four-ton metal machines together, both of which consist of flammable gas and fuels, as well as toxic liquids and fumes." She snapped her compact closed. "Also, the amount of car crashes, road rage incidents and drink driving only makes your chances worse. Its as barbaric as it is convenient."
Sugi, finally realizing how quiet the entire vehicle had fallen, glanced around to the faces of her friends. Mari and Akko were sitting beside her rigidly, their faces set into troubled grimaces. Kuno seemed to be staring out the window and Taguchi's hand had tightened on the wheel.
"...Then again, thousands of people drive every day, right? Not everyone is crashing." Sugi said, her friends' panic morbidly amusing. They all seemed to let out quiet sighs of relief.
"Yeah," Mari said, more to reassure herself then to agree with Sugi. She unconsciously touched Akko's thigh. The brunette didn't seem to mind, and Sugi quirked a veiled smile at how obvious they were.
The rest of the trip was spent like most with a car full of good friends; lots of talking, fighting, shouting over what music to play and the occasional sleeper. Mari was the one passed out at the moment; she had drifted off against the window, and Akko had noticed. Using the 'that looks uncomfortable' excuse, she pulled Mari over to lean on her, and after a while found her arm winding around the girl's waist, cradling her like child. Kuno 'aaaaaw'-ed at the image, teasing Akko about being like Mari's mother. Sugi interjected with a "Actually, it's quite the opposite," to which Akko blushed and glared pointedly at Sugi.
"...Okay, we need to do something."
The laps of silence, which had lasted around half an hour so far, was broken by Tamamin. Kuno looked over her shoulder lazily. "What did you have in mind?"
"Sexy truth or dare?" Tamamin looked around the care with a mischievous smile. Akko almost groaned in complaint, but knew in an instant that it was no use. Sugi was smirking, Kuno was wooping in approval, and Taguchi probably didn't care either way - she had driving to attend to.
"Me first! Me!" Kuno cheered, twisting in her seat. "Truth."
"Okay..." Tamamin sat back, tapping her chin. "... If you had to make out with someone here, who would it be and why?"
Kuno frowned thoughtfully, looking at each person in the car. Akko flashed her a small smile. Mari was fast asleep, looking as adorable as ever. Sugi quirked a brow at her, going back to her iphone after a moment. Tamamin was waiting for her answer, grinning in excitement. Taguchi was watching the road with a calm expression. Kuno felt like giving her a shock.
"Tagu." She said with a smug smile. Tamamin gave out an overly dramatic gasp, Sugi giving her an annoyed glance. Taguchi frowned, turning toward the car with her gaze still ahead.
"What? Did you just say my name?"
"... Um, are you going to tell me why?"
"Because they asked who I would make out with in this car."
Taguchi made an understanding noise and went back to driving. Then she blushed, and snapped around, glaring at Kuno wildly. "Wait, what!"
Kono shrugged and smiled, sitting back in her chair. "I just answered the question." She looked back into the car. "Who next?"
"Why not?" Sugi put her phone into her bag, smiling politely. "Dare, please."
Kuno looked at Tamamin. "You're now game moderator. Come up with the truths and dares."
"Might as well be the king game, but okay... Dares, huh." She looked at Sugi mildly. "Kiss the second person to either your left or your right."
"Well, if it was my right, I would have to kiss Taguchi, and she's a little preoccupied." Sugi looked at Akko, then Mari. Akko's eyes widened.
"Uh oh. No. She's asleep and defenseless." Sugi gave her a dry look. "No! Look, skip to the next person - kiss Kuno!"
"You." Sugi gave her the most annoying smile she had ever seen. "Either I kiss Mari, or you sacrifice yourself in place."
That calculating bitch! She knows that if she kisses Mari, I'll go mad. But if I kiss her...Akko looked down at Mari with a grimace. It feels like cheating! I can't do it. But... ugh. No. Akko sighed. "Fine. You can kiss her." Akko glowered at her resentfully. "But I won't forget this." She muttered quiet enough for only Sugi to hear.
Sugi ignored Akko's malice and leaned over her, brushing her thick hair over her shoulder so Akko didn't get a mouthful of it. The annoyed girl leaned back as far as possible, her arm tightening around Mari. "Linger, and I'll steal all your bras." Sugi gave her a bemused smirk.
Then she tilted her head and kissed Mari.
Mari, now half-asleep with Sugi's lips over her own, made a little noise at the back of her throat and shifted against Akko's side. She smiled sleepily and pressed her lips back against Sugi's, Akko blushing awkwardly beside them. I am so confused right now. I mean, I'm frustrated because it's Sugi, but it's hot because it's Mari.They were still at it. Hey, aren't they a little too into this?
"You can stop any time you like you know." Akko muttered moodily. Sugi ignored her. Honestly, she was a little shocked - Mari was a pretty good kisser, even while partly unconscious. She had almost forgotten how much softer girl's lips were. That hand cupping her neck was kind of stopping her from going anywhere, too. Alas, the position she was holding was getting really uncomfortable. She parted from the kiss with a few light pecks and grinned, patting Mari's cheek.
"You taste awesome."
"That's it. Off." Akko shoved her friend back into her seat, Tamamin and Kuno giggling at how embarrassed she looked. "Shut up!"
"Akko, I'd say its your turn." Sugi said silkily. Akko felt like stabbing herself in the eye. So it continues.
"Does the thought of kissing the person to your right excite you?" Tamamin said, reading from a small pad. She had been thinking of truths and dares to bust out while Sugi had been molesting Mari.
Akko looked at Sugi. The manipulative girl looked back with her sexiest smile. She had the same thick, curled hair and dark eyes. She was gorgeous - that was obvious - but was Akko attracted to her? She didn't know. She was obviously into girls, but... She had never really thought about being attracted to anyone but Mari.
"You're really considering this very hard, aren't you?" Kuno chuckled. Akko blushed and shrugged her shoulders.
"I don't know." She had kissed Sugi before - she had kissed almost all of the people here before - but was usually drunk, or it was only for a second. "Sugi is really beautiful, but..."
"She obviously has someone else on her mind." Sugi finished. That caused a stir. The game was forgotten, taken over by Kuno, Tamamin and even Taguchi grilling Akko for answers as to who this hypothetical someone may be. Mari slept on innocently.
"Is this Korean?"
Sugi picked up Kuno's ipod. "Brown Eyed Girls. Is this a girl's group?"
"Yeah, they're really good!" Tamamin piped in. "I didn't know you liked K-pop, Kuno-chin!"
"They're one of the better groups out there, but I mostly like the boy bands. Key is sooo pretty..." Kuno sighed dreamily.
"From SHINee? But they aren't sexy at all, you know? Koreans aren't too good at that. Especially the girl groups."
"True. Girls Generation are almost embarrassing to watch."
"But BEG... they're the exception, you know?" Tamamin grinned goofily. "Have you seen their video for 'Abracadabra'? That was super hot. Their dancing is hypnotic - and Gain is so sexy..."
"These are girls you're talking about, right?" Sugi asked uncertainly. Tamamin smiled lopsidedly as Kuno and Akko sent her amused, suspicious looks.
"What? Girls are hot."
"You're a freak, Tam." Taguchi chuckled, still refusing to turn her gaze from the road before her.
the conversation went quiet. Sugi was back on her phone, Akko playing with Mari's hair and staring out the window. Tamamin was reading some manga. Kuno was bored, scrolling through her ipod for the next thing to put on.
Taguchi turned to their right, off from the long road they had been on for most of the trip.
"Are we close?"
"I think so..." Taguchi said. "Maybe another 15 minutes or so? It's up this hill."
"Mari..." Akko said gently, shaking her shoulder as carefully as possible. Mari blinked sleepily, mumbling about her mother being annoying. Akko smiled warmly. Man, she's way too adorable..."Mari, we're almost here. Come on," She shook her a touch firmer, and the sleepy girl sat up straight, her brows furrowing.
"What... are we there?" She murmured, attempting to stifle a huge yawn.
"Almost." Akko said, smiling at her general cuteness. Mari pouted.
"Noooo..." She whined, snuggling back into Akko's side, and the brunette died a little inside. "Wake me up when we're there... or something..." She trailed off into Akko's shoulder. The brunette attempted to steady her breathing, and found Kuno staring at her with a suspiciously delighted grin.
"You guys are like sisters!" She exclaimed, and then perked up, another brilliant idea coming to her. "That's what we'll call you from now on. Big Sis Akko and Little Sis Mari."
Akko smothered a grimaced. She didn't exactly want to go around calling her girlfriend 'Little Sis'. She would rather Wife, or...well, girlfriend. "Hah, I guess..." She looked down at Mari. She knew she was awake - her shoulders weren't as relaxed as when she was asleep. Mari peered up at her through her lashes, and a small smile curled her lip.
"I would much rather wife..." She said, quiet enough that only Akko could make it out. The brunette blushed, and felt a huge wave of affection for the girl in her arms.
"Me too, Mari."
This felt a little boring, since it was pretty much just them in a car chillin' out but... hopefully it built up their relationships a little bit :P