Aika's THANK YOU Note~
:hands out everybody a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts:
Why doughnuts? That was what we had yesterday for breakfast, o_O but no, yours are not leftover. What kind of hostess do you think I am? XD
df14-blacksnow Yup he's cute, and good that he's got some spotlight there, :D
Yuki029 Oh yes about the answer, when you put it that way (more than 20 chapters or not), I found it easier to estimate, XD
manga-girl-freak Uh-oh, o_O
dyingbreed003 My, your hands are fractured? Whatever have you done with them? :sweatdrops: I do hope they get better soon, :)
jen :LOL: Why, I'm not, :) but really, thank you! And I'm glad you like the story, :D
minidalkki You're tempting me to blab, minidalkki-san, XD and oh, you had reviewed anonymously before? Well then, thank you all the same! :)
Lilrountree Math skills? Should I get a calculator for that? XD Here's the update~
midnight blue08 Yes, yes, hopefully. Next chapter, :)
angelorumzero Good that you're liking it still, :D next chapter~!
Cam24Ryo I get excited easily too, XD but well, here's the update~
fire19 :LOL: I don't know what to say but giggle along, XD
GoldenDoe06 I remember being on a vacation but somehow finding everything… Boring and just… Bland… o_O Hope you enjoy yours! :D Here's next update~
After confirming that Ryoma's fever was gone (after three days of being absent from school following the day when he'd collapsed); they went for a date at the beach on that amiable-weathered Saturday evening. The patterns of sunlight were lustrous, bright but not intense. Living humans of diverse ages could be seen everywhere, floating about on the water and mingling with volleyball games and fragile sandcastles and people-buried-under-the-white-sands and sunbathing-girls-in-cute-bikinis and lovey-dovey couples and flirtatious-boys-trying-to-make-a-good-catch. Small children were running and digging sands with their plastic shovels. Moving vendors waited at their stalls that had large colorful umbrellas which shadowed them over; offering ice creams, candies and pretty handicrafts. Loud voices and cheerful laughter abounded the area good-humoredly, and Sakuno thought as she watched the activities go by, she'd never known before that sitting on a plump rock under the shade of a large bushy tree while eating a cone of blueberry ice cream could feel so heavenly.
Or in Ryoma's case, sitting on a rock under a tree while eating a double cone of French vanilla and a chocolate fudge with rainbow sprinkles on top. In fact, the double cone of French vanilla was his second serve in fifteen minutes.
Sakuno wasn't exactly surprised. She'd long noticed that her boyfriend had quite a large appetite. She'd seen him compete with Momoshiro to eat a larger number of hamburgers, and she'd wondered at how spacious the hole in the boys' tummy must be. Thank God they always had those arduous tennis practices to burn all the unnecessary calories they consumed. After all, Ryoma looked as good as any boys his age could've looked without a shirt on.
Thinking about her boyfriend without a shirt on made Sakuno blush, and she forced her attention back on her blueberry ice cream, trying her best not to peek at the shirtless tennis prince sitting next to her.
"Do you know where pervert-kun lives?" Ryoma asked, cutting Sakuno from further thoughts.
"We went to Kobayashi-kun's house once when we were in middle school." Sakuno said.
"You still remember the direction?"
"Um, it isn't that far away. I think I remember." Sakuno watched Ryoma's face intently, curious as to why he was asking. "Do you want to visit Kobayashi-kun, Ryoma-kun?"
"Kobayashi-kun lives in a big house." she told, recalling how Tomoka had nearly fainted. But then, so had their other classmates and herself. "It's just we didn't expect it."
"I know. I heard he's a rich brat who pedals to school." Ryoma retorted uninterestedly.
"Then we'll go to his house today." Sakuno agreed, smiling.
Like Ryoma, Kobayashi hadn't been to school after he was suspended for Eri's case. She was glad Ryoma was being so nice as to visit their class president.
Sakuno was concentrating on biting around her cone when Ryoma cupped her face with his hand, using his thumb to wipe away a smudge of ice cream from the corner of her mouth. When she looked at him, he looked back and smiled, innocently putting the same thumb in his own mouth.
"Hn. Blueberry. Not my favorite." he decided, before leaning over to kiss her quickly but firmly, on the mouth. He stood up from the rock they'd been sitting on, his double cone and his sprinkled fudge finished. "Wait for me, I'm thirsty." he said, walking away toward the many stalls on the sandy slopes.
Sakuno watched him in silence, blushing red. Gingerly, she touched her lips with her fingers, where she'd tasted the faint flavors of vanilla and chocolate.
For a fact, Takenouchi Azusa was a complete jerk who happened to openly admit himself as being a playboy. He was one of those good-looking guys who knew they were good-looking and used their good-look as a magnet for silly girls. Sometimes, when they felt like making an effort, they pretended to be nice, and girls went tumbling over them head over heels. Other times, they switched to being a complete jerk and still, no less girls came tumbling over them head over heels. Because either way, the good-look was a head-start bonus.
Not that any of those really mattered. Eri wasn't kissing Azusa because she liked him. She was kissing him because she was bored. And highly likely, so was he.
"Shouta didn't touch you, did he?" Azusa asked. Hearing the class president's name, Eri's mood entirely disappeared. She pushed Azusa away, taking her glass of strawberry smoothie. He watched her with a knowing smile, lying propped on his elbow on the sand. "I know who you're aiming for, Eri. It's that tennis guy, isn't it?" Azusa guessed, and he chuckled when Eri's glass stopped an inch from her mouth. "You could've got Shouta expelled, you know."
"That's what Kuroboshi deserves for meddling in other people's business." Eri retorted.
"Kobayashi." he said. "It's Kobayashi Shouta."
Eri ignored him and took a sip of her strawberry smoothie, watching a group of children chasing a hermit crab heading seaside.
She hadn't screamed because she'd failed to get Kobayashi tell her what she'd wanted to know. She'd screamed because of something he'd said.
"You know what your problem is, Okumura? You don't know when to let go. You're like a spoiled kid who does whatever you need to get whatever you want. The difference is, you're not a kid. You're smart, and I'm not as stupid as I seem. We both know I'm right."
Eri had never been as angry as when he'd said those. Without even thinking, she'd tugged at her school uniform and screamed. But he hadn't even tried to stop her.
Eri still wanted the class president to take back what he'd said. For a while, she'd forgotten about Ryoma as his words and the calm look on his face replayed in her mind. He'd made himself the newest subject of her hate and she wanted to slap him, but for now, at least she'd got him suspended for two weeks. Maybe some time later, she could try for something more.
And then there was Echizen Ryoma. Even when he hadn't been to school since Wednesday, news about him going to return to tennis had spread throughout the school like wildfire. Even people who didn't know the first thing about tennis talked of the comeback. After all, Seigaku was famous for its tennis team and Ryoma was one of the greatest players.
Eri hated the joyful smile she'd seen on Ryuzaki Sakuno's face the past three days in school.
"Oh hey, look." Azusa pointed back toward where some vendors could be seen. "Isn't that your tennis guy, Echizen?"
Eri turned around and caught sight of Ryoma. He was holding a can of Ponta and standing in front of a stall which sold a variety of handicrafts. Only in his shorts without any shirt on, Eri could see Sakuno's crimson hairband he always wore on his right wrist even more clearly. One day, Eri decided silently, she would pull that hairband from his wrist and throw it away.
"Do you know why Ryoma returns to tennis?" Eri asked, not taking her eyes from Ryoma.
Azusa shook a soda can, popping it open with his forefinger. He shrugged carelessly.
"You tell me." he said.
"Even a fool would've known why he returns to tennis." Eri said sharply, glaring at him.
Azusa glanced over at her, grinning.
"Then I'm more or less below a fool." he told. "So why is it he returns to tennis?" he asked.
Why did some people act the way Takenouchi Azusa did, Eri would never understand. Not that she cared.
"Just shut up." she stood, seizing her towel and her handbag on the sand, turning toward the direction of the public bathrooms.
"Aren't you going to find your tennis guy?" Azusa asked from behind.
Eri made no reply, but she told herself she wouldn't.
It wasn't exactly in Sakuno's comfort zone to be wearing a bikini. The last time she had worn one was back when she'd been a little eight years old girl, going for a picnic at the beach with her family. Despite herself, after Ryoma had called her yesterday informing they were going to go to the beach, she'd fished out her long-forgotten, cerulean blue piece of bathing suit in the back of her wardrobe. After all, it was the first time that they were going to the beach together.
But then again, ever since they'd stepped in the open air, Sakuno hadn't removed her pink fluffy towel from around her shoulders. Even when she'd laid out a blanket to be their picnic spot, she'd remained wrapped in her huge towel and her own modesty. Fortunately, Ryoma hadn't made any comment.
A large, round and colorful beachball came bouncing lightly toward Sakuno, and she caught it with her hands. Not long a group of six children came running toward her, laughing and yelling at each other.
"Gomen, onee-chan!" one of them shouted from afar.
Sakuno smiled and waved at the small boy. As she waited, someone took the beachball from behind her, and she looked up to see Ryoma staring at the happy children.
He put down his Ponta can and carried the colorful beachball with him, walking down the slope. Then, he gave the large ball a mighty blow, kicking it with his barefoot, and the large, round plaything was flung over toward the children, flying high.
The six kiddies screamed and scattered around delightedly, laughing and giggling and trying to avoid being the victim of the beachball.
Ryoma chuckled, but when he noticed Sakuno watching him with a loving smile, he scoffed and immediately put on his cool expression again.
"You like children, Ryoma-kun?" she asked as he sat down on the purple blanket which she had spread in front of the rock.
"I like children the way I like ducks."
"No you don't." she said.
Ryoma took his Ponta can and sipped from it.
"No I don't," he agreed. "That's why I want twenty four children when we get married. I want our house full of yells and giggles and you shouting for everybody to be quiet." he told, and he sounded as if he'd been imagining the situation for some time now.
Sakuno blinked, feeling a rush of heat creeping up her neck. But she suspiciously thought that the last time he'd said he wanted twelve children, not twenty four.
"B-but Ryoma-kun won't definitely marry me." she had to gather her courage to say it. Ryoma sat in front of her, not interrupting. "Later we're going to go to college, and maybe Ryoma-kun's going elsewhere for tennis." Sakuno pointed out, and the more she thought about it, the more sad and suddenly afraid she became. What was she talking about? The future. Why was she talking about the future? "A-and maybe… Maybe then Ryoma-kun would find another girlfriend."
Who was she kidding? Maybe their relationship wouldn't last until the end of this year. Things happen, don't they?
Feeling heavyhearted, Sakuno's shoulders slumped.
How did she even get to the depressing topic?
Quietly Sakuno felt a pair of arms around her, and she was pulled into a firm embrace by Ryoma. Before she could stop herself, tears came trailing down her cheeks like downpour and her body shook uncontrollably against his. If the people at the beach happened to stop and stare, they would've thought somebody had died.
Ryoma pressed his lips on Sakuno's ear, and she actually felt them move into a smile.
"I've no idea why you're crying so sadly." he whispered to her, pressing a soothing palm on her back. It only encouraged Sakuno to cry more, and she shamefully hid her face in his bare shoulder. "So even if this doesn't last forever—" Sakuno nearly choked on her sobs at those words; this must've referred to their relationship, wasn't it? "—so even if you dump me someday and get married to some other guy, I could still always point it out to you that you owe me twenty four children."
"I-I don't think I'll be the one dumping Ryoma-kun," she mumbled, but she smiled at the thought of owing Ryoma twenty four children. Sakuno moved along when he pulled her from the rock to sit on their thick, fluffy, purple blanket. She collected her courage again and quickly kissed his shoulder and his neck. She looked at him shyly then, and Ryoma raised an eyebrow. "W-what?"
"Were those all?" he asked, sitting straight in front of her. Sakuno stared when he closed his eyes and tilted his head slightly to one side. As if he was waiting for another kiss. "Now?"
And so Sakuno plucked up every little bit of courage she still had and held Ryoma's face with terribly shaking hands. They stopped shaking when he put his hands gently on hers, and she plunged headfirst, leaning forward to kiss him.
In all her clumsiness, she nearly knocked her forehead against his, and she didn't aim right.
Ryoma opened one eye to peer at Sakuno's blushing face.
"Are you trying to bite my fine nose?" he asked.
"I-I'm sorry…" she whispered miserably. It wasn't their first kiss, but it was the first time she was making her own move, and she was moving it humiliatingly. Ryoma closed his eye again, and this time, Sakuno made sure she was close enough not to miss, before she shut her eyes and kissed him. She succeeded. "W-was that right?" she asked with some excitement.
But just as Sakuno pulled back, Ryoma pressed her hands to stay on his cheeks and caught her mouth again, prolonging the kiss tenderly in that way which always made her head spin.
It was only when Sakuno desperately needed to breathe that Ryoma broke away. The sun was dazzling, but she thought it couldn't compete with the light smirk on his face.
"Mada mada dane." he said. While Sakuno sighed, he pulled out a plastic from his pocket, showing it to her. "Here."
There was a shiny, pastel green butterfly hairpin inside.
Sakuno smiled beamingly.
"It-it's beautiful." she breathed.
"Don't sound so shocked, it's just a cheap handiwork." Ryoma frowned mildly, but as soon as he handed it to her, Sakuno ripped away the plastic and gratefully replaced her hairpin with the butterfly one, arranging her long brown hair in a neat bun on the back of her head.
"Thank you so much, Ryoma-kun." she smiled and continued to beam at him.
Ryoma turned away and drank his Ponta. But Sakuno suspected he was hiding a blush.
When he'd first heard that Kobayashi Shouta lived in a big house, he hadn't expected it to be an expansive building of ivory-and-pale-pink harmoniously painted with an imposing automatic gate perched up a long distance from the main building itself, along which ran a spacious, lush green lawn. There was a garden of multicolor flowers which bloomed fragrantly and a marble sculptured fountain at the right side of the massive double door of the building.
To be concise, Ryoma thought curiously, the pervert lived in a mansion.
"Do you think he rides a bicycle to school as an exercise?" he asked, staring at the shining black limousine parked nearby.
"I-I really don't know." Sakuno replied in a small voice. From the way she looked up at the oaken door in front of them, Ryoma could tell she was feeling very intimidated. The massive wings of the double door opened with the slightest creak, and Sakuno bowed deeply at the uniformed maidservant who greeted them. "S-sorry for disturbing."
Before the maidservant could even speak, a familiar voice shouted from somewhere inside.
"Ryoma?! Is that finally you?!"
Sakuno turned to Ryoma, puzzled.
"H-Horio-kun?" she asked.
Ryoma nudged with his head to the front instead, and Sakuno turned again, this time seeing a very irritated-looking Kobayashi standing a few meters from the maidservant. From wherever Horio was, there came a lot of sound which suggested something huge was going on inside.
"Why the hell did you tell them all to come partying here?" their class president demanded.
Not for the first time, Ryoma smirked with deliberate evilness.
"I thought you need some cheering, pervert-kun." he told earnestly.
"I'm not counting about you beating me yet, Echizen." Kobayashi muttered.
"Hn, let's continue today." Ryoma stepped inside, and Sakuno skittered following him, bowing profusely.
Now dear friends, I have to say that the next update might not come in a while. I've to deal with some stuff first. When I've got it all settled and done, I'll get back here. I'm a man of his words (so I'm a girl, but you know what I mean), OK?
Put down your weapons and do not murder me even if it's not OK, OK?
Thank you for reading, :)