My right hand went numb and I grabbed it with my left hand. It felt so surreal. I saw Anna and Andou rushing towards me, but I could only hear faint noises even though I could see that they were calling my name. I dropped to the ground and clasped my right wrist tightly.
I couldn't hear anything.
Best Served Cold
Chapter Eight – of Sliced Mangoes & Vanilla Ice Cream
My ears were buzzing as I struggled to regulate my breath. I could hear soft noises for a while. The noise started becoming clearer, and then I could hear Andou and Anna calling my name.
"I'm alright. It just… went numb for a while there." I flicked my hand a little bit to help with the numbness but it didn't really contribute much.
"I went to the hospital earlier today and the nurse told me you've checked out. But why you are still sick?" Andou prompted me as he helped me to sit on the dining chair.
"I'll grab another helping for you Andou-san." Anna went off to the kitchen to grab a plateful of spaghetti.
I shrugged. "It's just the tumor thing. No biggie."
Anna came out with quite a big plate of pasta covered with generous amount of carbonara cream and placed it on the table.
Andou took the first mouthful and claimed it was the best pasta he ever had. He initially wanted to grab a few cakes while visiting me, but he said he was lucky he was able to enjoy Anna's pasta. The latter was blushing madly.
"Oh yeah." Andou stopped eating and started fishing for something in his sling bag. "Here. Harada wants me to give you this."
He handed me a golden shiny envelope. I opened it and there was a black half-folded landscape card. The card wrote:
Dear Miss Sakura and Miss Umenomiya,
You are cordially invited to the nuptial ceremony between:
Mr. Hyuga Natsume & Ms. Harada Misaki
at Platinum National Park on the 20th day of April 2012 at 8AM.
This is a garden party and we will be having a Sakura-viewing event after the exchange of rings and vow.
Please do RVSP ASAP with Mr. Nogi Ruka or Ms. Imai Hotaru +81-xxxxxxx and +81-xxxxx respectively.
"Wow they act fast." I remarked. "Considering they only decided to push the wedding forward last night."
"Harada may sound and look goofy all the time, but when you're talking about work, no one is stricter than her. Even Hyuga respects that side of her."
"Ohh…" I mumbled.
"So!" Anna started off, "Would you like to be my date for the wedding?"
I was a little surprised at Anna's forward proposal. I grinned cheekily at the blushing girl.
"What about Nonoko?"
I realized I wasn't supposed to ask that when Anna shot me an angry glare.
Andou waved his hand, "Nah. She's going with her boyfriend."
"She has a boyfriend!?" Anna yelled at a rather high-pitched voice. "How dare she!"
She took the empty plates from the table and stomped to the kitchen.
"Bubbly girl we have here huh?"
Andou suddenly moved over and whispered to me, "Just between you and me. Why not we become dates for the wedding?"
"But Anna asked you first. And it seems to me that she likes you." I giggled as I whispered back.
"But I like you."
Okay okay. Chill Mikan. This is not what you think it is. Calm down.
"So what do you say?" Andou's voice interrupted my panicky attempt to calm myself.
"Uhhh… I'll think about it okay?" I replied hesitantly and he nodded.
"Anyway!" Anna strode into the dining area again, this time with desserts, "Are you going to be my date?"
Andou paused for a while as he scrutinized Anna's face. He then pointed at me with his thumb, "I'm going to the wedding with her."
My eyes almost popped out from its sockets when Anna turned to look at me. I tried to open my mouth and say something but Anna's cherry smile was gone and she looked crestfallen. I didn't know what to say and closed my mouth. I quickly took a piece of sliced mango from the dessert plate and popped it into my mouth.
"Hey!" I started nervously, "The mango is sweet! Good job picking them!"
Anna smiled a little at me before turning to look at Andou. "Good! I was worried this girl will be too busy making desserts that she forgets to get herself a date for the wedding!"
I wasn't sure if she really meant what she said, or that she was just trying to mask her disappointment.
"How about you Anna? Who are you going to the wedding with?" I prompted.
"Oh I'll find someone. Don't worry." Anna smiled at me as she wiped the table.
"Excellent! I shall make my move now then. Sakura, Anna. Thank you for the meal." Andou stood up and bowed at us and left the shop.
Suddenly Anna prodded me with her elbow. "Looks like someone is into you."
"I'm sorry Anna. I didn't mean to –" I pleaded exasperatedly.
Anna looked astonished. "What are you talking about? You thought I liked Andou? Oh no please. No. I was just kidding earlier."
I scanned for honesty in her eyes. "Really…?" I started hesitantly.
"Yes!" Anna exclaimed. "Please Mikan. If there's anything I want for you, I would want you to forget that dumbass in Kyoto last time and start a real relationship!"
The awkward moment when that person is the client you have been glorifying for the past few days…
"Okay. You don't know how relieved I am to hear that. Thanks Anna." I squeezed the girl for a few seconds.
"No problem. Have you taken your medication?"
"Oh yeah. I should. Thanks for reminding."
There were a lot of different meds. Colourful ones at that. I popped almost ten different tablets into my mouth and quickly swallowed the bitter ones away.
"Anna. I'm heading home. See you tonight!"
19 March 2012 1600 hours
I reached home and closed the door behind me. I threw the golden envelope on the table and dropped my bag on the couch. I went into my room and started rummaging through the drawers.
I was thinking that since I do not have much time left, I'd record my last few days on my video camera.
After going through and ransacking three drawers, I finally found my quite-abandoned Vcam and checked whether it still has battery. The battery bar was half empty but I hooked it on the tripod nonetheless.
I clicked on the red button and sat in front of the camera.
I cleared my throat and stared at the camera.
Day One. 19 March 2012 1700 hours. Vlog #1
Today I got to know that I have a huge tumor growing in my brain. The doctor told me to not fancy my chances even if I were to go for the surgery, so I decided against the surgery. It's like a ticking time bomb in my brain. Even though I have only three months maximum to live, I would like to appreciate the last days I have with my friends and also finish off the last wedding project I have before I leave.
Wish me luck for the next 90 days. If I'm lucky that is.
I sighed. I was exhausted from all the happenings since last night. I stripped and threw my clothes into the laundry basket and went into the bathroom. A long hot bath was what I needed before a nice sleep on my comfy bed.
I turned the pipe and water started pouring on me. It was cold at first, but the water slowly turned warmer. I pushed my forehead against the wall. I remembered that barely a few days ago I was doing the same thing and was still thinking about the guy I met so long ago. Never did I expect to meet him again after all those years and I definitely did not expect that I will be in charge of his wedding. That's like… the biggest joke ever. The hookup. And then the tumor. And the deadline of my life.
I laughed bitterly at myself as I punched the wall in frustration. Without realizing it, I started crying. I dropped to the ground. The water was still running heavily.
At that moment that I felt like stabbing myself. To end this pitiful life of mine before nature calls it quits on me. The doctor did say that I will start experience speech problems and motor dysfunction and even memory loss because of that stupid tumor.
And then suddenly, I heard movement in my room.
I remember locking my room, right? How could anyone get in other than Anna? But usually Anna would yell to tell that she's back.
I switched off the water and tried to reach for my towel. And then I realized I didn't bring my towel into the bathroom with me.
I slowly turned the doorknob and peeked outside. There wasn't anyone on the bed. I hesitantly pushed the door and stepped outside.
I screamed and ran back into the bathroom and locked the door.
"Who's there? How did you get into my room?"
I heard a low sigh. "It's Hyuga. Misaki and I went to the hospital today to visit you but you were already discharged. We went to the shop and Umenomiya told us that you were at home. Misaki had to discuss some things about the wedding with Umenomiya so she gave me the house keys. Said they are coming over as soon as they are done. It wasn't necessary though. I think you forgot to lock the main door. That's very dangerous you know? But well, you locked your door. Took me a while to figure out which key."
I panicked as I searched for objects to cover the very last ounce of dignity I have with me.
"Did you see – anything?" I stuttered.
"What? Oh. Uh. You probably want your towel." He responded with a knock on the door.
I opened the door slightly and grabbed the towel from the other side of the door and shut it again.
I came out from the bathroom wrapped in towel. I reminded myself to kill Anna when she comes back, for giving our house keys to a guy we barely know.
"I think you should change." Hyuga drawled as he scanned me up and down.
"Get out from the room then." I snapped at him.
He rolled his eyes. "It's not like I'm going to see anything. I've seen enough –" I shot him a dirty look and he cleared this throat, "- I mean, I have something to tell you before Misaki and Umenomiya comes back, so I'll speak as you change."
He turned away from me. "Quickly now."
I hissed at him and rushed to my wardrobe and picked my clothes and started putting them on.
"What were you going to say to me?" I said as I struggled to wear my underwear while keeping the towel wrapped around my body.
"I just wanted to ask about your condition. I heard from Imai it's pretty bad."
I clicked my tongue. "Why do you even care? It's none of your business after all." I pulled my pants up and proceeded to clasp my bra.
Before I could reach for my shirt, Hyuga suddenly pulled me away and almost made me stumble. He stared at me darkly and breathed heavily, "I am responsible for last night, that's why I'm going to care for all I want."
I stared back with the same intensity and I was breathing heavily as well. His crimson eyes were as captivating as ever and I almost lost myself at the search of his gaze.
Out of the blue Hyuga cupped both of my cheeks and started kissing me. I resisted at first and tried to pull away but he kept pulling me back and locked me in his arms. I knew if I don't pull away that very second, I would surely lose control of myself.
Our locked lips were like in a heated argument. There was a lot of pushing and pulling away, and there were bites and slamming involved.
"Stop – it – Hyu - ga" I said between muffled breaths and tried very hard to push him away, but my effort was fruitless.
His hands started wandering around my body and I knew that was the last straw. My hand slowly sneaked to the back of his head and started grabbing his hair. Hyuga responded by placing his arm around my waist and threw me on the bed. Our lips were still locked and we were helping each other to undress.
I was in my bra and panties and him in just his black pants when he pulled away. We were breathing heavily as we stared at each other's almost-nude bodies. I saw his eyes scanning my body and I looked away in embarrassment.
"Why are you so fucking hot?"
I was surprised by his remark and turned to look at him. His tanned body was firmly built and his six packs complimented his slim waist. "You're not too bad yourself." I replied wittingly.
He smirked and looked like he was proud of himself. "You don't say."
He started kissing me again, softer and gentler this time. He slowly trailed his warm wet lips from mine to my jawline and to my neck, where he did quite a bit of work there. He nipped on my skin and whenever his lips touched my sore skin, gushes of adrenaline kick in and it felt so damn good.
He stopped working on my neck and moved to my right ear. He started whispering, "I remember that time when that white wet cloth stuck on your body like a glove. We would have had an enjoyable time if Ruka hadn't called."
The mention of Nogi's name seemed to knock some senses in me as I suddenly realized at how wrong this was. I was driven again by my emotions and my bloody female hormones.
"Wait." I paused. "Natsume."
"Fancy hearing you call my first name." He sounded pleased as he continued nipping my ears. His hands were god-knows-where.
"No. I mean stop. This is wrong."
Hyuga stopped and stared at me. I looked away. We were silent for a few minutes until he finally sighed and pulled away. He grabbed his clothes and started putting them on. I did the same.
"I am not in love with Misaki."
I was startled at his confession, but didn't say anything.
"I met Misaki four years ago, shortly after I bumped into you at the alley. I was a mess back then. I fight and smoke and take drugs. Ruka was my best friend, and still is. But I'm not sure anymore judging from his reaction earlier yesterday. Imai and Misaki were close friends from college, Misaki was her senior in the dorm, so we kind of knew each other from there. Even though I kept rejected her approaches, Misaki kept coming back. I didn't know how but she soon realizes my potential in making pastries and sponsored me to study pastry-making abroad. I finished in two years and met up with her. We hit it off immediately because I was much too in debt with her."
"And that's why you asked her to marry you?" I asked as I sat on my desk. He was sitting at the edge of the bed.
He nodded. "But after meeting with you, and after listening to your story at the shop, I suddenly remembered what kind of person I was four years ago and somehow I couldn't control myself from –" he paused.
"- from?" I prompted.
"From having these feelings for you."
"What kind of feelings?" I was nervous.
He hesitated a little and bit his lower lip. "I don't feel towards Misaki the way I feel for you."
He raised his head looked at me with forlorn eyes, "I think... I think I love you."
The door suddenly slammed open.
"Hyuga Natsume! What the hell did you just say?!"
My first semester in law school just ended!
I'm having holidays for a month so I'll try to update as soon as possible.
Tho I have assignments piling up so if I'm late, please don't be angry?
Lastly, please please please please leave a review down there please please please with a cherry on top :3
Thank you for tuning in! :)