Chapter Two - Better Than Before
The feeling of being watched was frightening, like a blade too close to ones throat. She knew it was a fear she should have overcome long ago, or at least one that should have been tamed when she reappeared in the entertainment industry. But it hadn't.
She could smile at the fans who wanted pictures, and she could act in movies where the entire crews' eyes would be on her, but only because it wasn't really her that they were looking at. It was the show she put on that they saw.
But now that she had left, and was walking around with the word guilt written all over her face, she felt completely naked—like the eyes of everyone around her were daggers. Like any moment, he would reappear.
Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding.
"WHAT THE HELL IS IT?" Someone yelled as the door in front of her swung open angrily, with a blonde mess only half dressed falling out of it. His hair was drenched in water, and he had one hand firmly grasping a towel, whose security around his waist could be questioned, while the other braced the door open in an exasperated manner.
She might have been embarrassed, less so by his lack of apparel and more by her actions, had she not been so relieved to see him.
"Rei!" she said in a high and exhilarated sigh of relief. She took a step forward, looking as if she were about to throw herself into his arms. But instead, she crumbled to the ground; her knee's smacking the floor in a distant sounding thunk.
The last thing she heard before the world around her faded into a brilliantly bright haze of blue was a single confused and fearful word, "Keito?"
When she woke up, she didn't open her eyes. Because once she did, she would have to face the reality of everything around her. But with her eyes closed, she could ignore it, imagining that the smell of coffee and the sizzle of eggs on a skillet were nothing more than her husband up early for breakfast.
But that dreamful thought was shortly lived, as the refined sound of a chef in a kitchen was replace by the clang of metal against tile and an exasperated "ouch, dammit".
So unwilling opening her eyes, she subjected herself to the world around her. And as she looked around the small apartment room, she was slightly surprised by the disappointment that didn't drown her. It ended up feeling more like suffocation. Better, but still unbelievably painful.
Standing up, she followed her nose which was chasing after the scent of coffee in the air. It led her, as one might expect, to the kitchen, where a boy in an apron stood, his back turned towards her.
"Rei, can I have a cup?" she asked in a low voice as she leaned herself against the wall of the doorway, letting her head fall to the side and rest.
He turned around and smiled, gesturing his head towards the table, silently demanding that she sit down so he could serve her. "You're the only one here who likes hot coffee," he said as reached up and grabbed a mug from the cabinet above him.
"Thanks," Keito said, sitting down at the table, assuming that meant a yes, and feeling slightly uncomfortable and much like an imposition as he presented a steaming cup of black liquid in front of her.
She sipped on the drink quietly while he went back to cooking. And no sooner than she finished the last drop of coffee in her cup, was he was filling it up again, and putting a plate of eggs and meat in front of her.
The eggs were black and singed, and the slab of ham on the side didn't look any more promising. But she held back the chuckle that threatened to escape from her throat. Especially considering that he went to the trouble to cook a meal for her, and that she herself couldn't cook it any better were she to try.
"You still like western food?" she asked in an attempt to hide the undeniable smile that was forming across her face, using the fork he had placed in front of her to scoop up the blackened eggs, which tasted oddly good considering their appearance.
"Yup, always have, always will," he said as he sat down, with a plate of his own, in the chair across from her.
The two of them talked as they ate, joking and laughing, talking and smiling—just like old times. It wasn't until she had finished her meal that he asked the question she had been dreading—the question she had no answer for.
"So do I get to know why you're here?" he asked, resting his chin in the palm of his hand as he looked intently at the girl in front of him.
She paused, looking at him, and then back down at her empty plate where she began to rake her fork back and forth on the bits of charcoaled egg that were left behind.
"No," she finally said, knowing the answer wasn't an answer he would be satisfied with. But to her surprise, he laughed, leaned over, and patted her head like she was a small child, stirring an odd mix of emotions inside her- ranging from confusion, happiness, and the slightest bit of bitterness which she failed to understand why she felt.
"Okay," he told her smiling.
I feel I lost something halfway through this chapter. But it's summer now, so hopefully I'll have more time to focus and write.
And you should feel more than welcome to leave a review. :)