With Eyes Closed

After school she headed through the park, looking for a quiet place to sit. She found herself a bench that was a little removed from the main path where people were walking through, but not completely isolated. There was a lovely warm breeze swishing through the leaves of a nearby maple tree. Kahoko tucked her violin case and school bag under the bench, sat comfortably with her hands in her lap, and closed her eyes.

She had learned to meditate about a month ago. Her cousin had come for a visit and taught her how. She was surprised at how calm it made her. It was like a mini-vacation from all the worrying she did on a daily basis. As days passed, she could feel peacefulness increasing and worries receding. She began to feel more connected to nature, which is why she looked for opportunities to meditate outside.

While she was meditating she felt relaxed, yet also alert. She could hear everything going on around her, but they seemed small and unimportant. After a while, she began to feel as if she were floating in stillness.

* * * * *

Ryotaro had had a restless night and a restless day. For weeks and months he had patiently waited for Kahoko to show some sign that she could think of him as other than a friend. He knew that he would wait forever, but this was one of those times when frustration overcame him.

He aimed his feet toward the park. He just needed to walk it off. He took the long path, his strides keeping pace with his impatient state of mind. For the millionth time he weighed the pros and cons of confessing to her. He had hoped that by now she would have woken up to realize that their deep friendship could include romance. He had been planning to confess his feelings to her after the concert, but to be honest he was having second thoughts. If his words made her run away, he didn't know if he would survive the pain.

He was so in love with that girl.

Sitting down on a bench to sink his head into his hands, he came once again to the conclusion that he would rather be with her on her terms than risk losing her. But maybe he could make a point of spending more time with her. Maybe if he were always around, if he made himself indispensable…she would grow to love him, to see the potential for them as a couple. Hopefully before some other guy else got to her.

Feeling some relief from having decided some course of action, he headed back through the park on his way home. He began appreciating the things around him: people feeding the birds, the beauty of the late afternoon sun, the relative quiet of his surroundings.

His heart skipped a beat when he saw Her sitting with eyes closed, on a bench near a grove of trees.

* * * * *

She felt like she was suspended in pure peace. The breeze rustling the leaves seemed to be performing its breathy music for her benefit, like the subtle soundtrack of a beautiful movie. She became aware of a new sound. It was the soft crushing of grass approaching her. It stopped in front of her and she half-opened her eyes to see her friend Ryotaro crouched down in front of her, looking concerned. "Are you OK, Kahoko?" She gave him a sweet smile and closed her eyes again.

"I've just finished meditating and I'm supposed to keep my eyes closed for another few minutes, so I don't get a headache from the sudden change in light." She patted the bench beside her. "Will you sit with me?"

He stayed where he was for a couple more moments, mesmerized by the beauty of her sweet face smiling softly from whatever inner experience she was having. He loved her so much. He finally moved to sit next to her, unable to tolerate the distance between them. He watched in a trance as his arms reached for her, as though his limbs would no longer be denied by his mind's 'better' judgment.

* * * * *

She felt one muscular arm go around her back as another one went under her knees. She was lifted onto his lap, with his hand sliding down her back to rest on her hip. After a couple seconds of shock about her relocation, she sighed and relaxed into his embrace, leaning into the circle of his shoulder. He felt good; she began hoping that she could stay there forever, sheltered from care, close to his beating heart. She didn't want to open her eyes. This felt too good.

* * * * *

Now that she was in his arms where she belonged, he rejoiced in her nearness . She was so small compared to him, so precious, and yet what passion she embodied. He longed to get closer still, touch more of her. She smelled of sweet fruit. Her hair was tickling his neck.

* * * * *

She sensed the warmth of his approaching hand just before it touched her cheek. He was stroking her skin softly with his knuckles. His touch was comfortable and soothing. He had always been so good to her, always dependable and protective. If there was anyone she trusted it was him.

As his thumb made contact with the corner of her mouth, she felt something new. With her eyes closed her other senses were heightened and she was overcome with the sudden need for more of his touch. Her breath quickened and she instinctively turned into his hand so that his thumb was fully on her lips. His hand froze for few seconds until she kissed the pad on his thumb, followed by a little flick of her tongue. She heard his breath change and he began to move his thumb more purposefully, rubbing across her lower lip, grazing some of the moisture within. After she caught him again with her tongue, Ryotaro's hand was quickly replaced by his warm mouth.

Warm breaths buffeted skin, heartbeats quickened as Kahoko leaned into the fullness of his lips. With a groan, Ryotaro began kissing her in earnest. His mouth and tongue played with the plump wetness of hers, pulling at her lower lip, sliding from side to side. They gave each other access to each other's mouths, lost in the sensual pleasure of touch and taste. Passion escalated as they kissed each other more deeply and clung onto each other as if trying to meld two bodies into one.

Kahoko wondered why she had never thought of kissing him before. This felt so right. He was her best friend and he wanted her. He was passionate and exciting, but she could completely trust him. Knowing how safe she was with him made her feel free to push the boundaries.

They leaned back to look at each other. His eyes were heavy and warm. Her hand came up to stroke across his broad cheekbone and through his hair. "Ryo" she smiled contentedly.

"We can't go back, you know" he told her.

"I know" she said, still smiling at him.

"Kahoko, will you be my girlfriend?" His heart thudded in his throat at the slim possibility of rejection.

"Of course. There is no one I would rather be with than you, my Ryo."

Their lips found each other again and for a while they sat in a warm embrace. "I'll walk you home" he said, enclosing her small hand in his large one.