Otaniw alked down the street, thinking of Risa.
He hadn't heard from her in a while, she hadn't been answering his calls.
He sighed and took out his phone again, dialing the familiar number.
It rang three times, then picked up.
"H-hello?" she sounded like she had been crying.
"Hey. You sound like you're crying"
"You want me to come over?"
"K, i'll be there in a couple minutes"
He hung up.
What could make her cry like this?
As he walked by a small flwer vendor, he looked at the roses.
They were her favorites, and they were on sale.
He picked out a pink one and paid the lady, then continued down the street.
When he knocked on the door, Risa's mother opened it.
Her eyes were red, like she had been crying as well.
"Oh, hello Otani. Please come in, Risa's in her room"
Otani went down the hall, stopping at the last door and knocking.
Risa opened the door, her hands covering the lower part of her face.
"I brought you flowers" He said, handing her the rose.
"Thanks" She said, taking it from him.
She led him into her familiar room.
He watched as she put it in a small vase on he bedside table.
He sat down the bed, and watched her.
He noticed her grip on the vase tighten.
"Nothing's wrong, why do you ask?"
"You've been crying"
She turned back to him, looking down at her feet.
"How can you tell"
He stood, and gently wrapped and arm around her slim waist, pulling her close.
"I just can"
She covered her mouth again with her long light pink sleeves, and Otani saw that she was fighting back tears.
"Tell me what's wrong" He whispered, looking into her eyes.
His hands rested gently on her hips as he waited for her to answer.
"My father is in the hospital"
Otani pulled her close and let her cry on his chest.
Their father was a real anchor in their family, no wonder she was upset.
She cried quietly, not the usual sob fest.
He rubbed her back, waiting.
After a coupled minutes, she wiped her eyes and stepped slightly away.
His hands were on her slender hips again.
"Why don't we go out?" He suggested.
"You could use some fresh air"
She shook her head.
"Thanks Otani, but I don't think I can do it quite yet"
"K, why don't we just go out in the back yard, it's beautiful out"
This time, she nodded.
They walked out into the Koizumi's large back yard, it had a small pond, and swing set, a porch swing, and a hill in the corner.
Otani pulled her over to the hill, then lay down, watching Risa follow suit.
"Look at the cloud" He said.
"It looks like you" Risa giggled.
Risa was smiling, so he didn't retort.
After they watched the clouds for a while, Otani looked at his watch.
"Dang, looks like I have to go"
Risa's face darkened.
"Oh, okay. Thanks Otani"
Otani leaned over and kissed her cheek, watching her surprised face as he did so.
"I'll see you tomorrow" He said, and she nodded.
Then, he was gone, leaving out the gate and waving as he walked away.