The Love between Two People Begins to Grow

Baccano © Ryohgo Narita

I: There Are Still Many Emotions for Chane Laforet to Explore

There was a man who wanted to marry me.

He went by many names, so I'm not entirely certain which name is his real name. This man was kind to me, and I felt something for him – unlike the feelings of loyalty I've felt for Father. It was something else. Something different. He would always speak the truth with me with a voice of eloquent sincerity, a voice that rang so loud and true in my ears that made me want to believe in him. The man was strange and unlike any person I had met before, but I felt something for him. Was it respect? Admiration? Or…

A knock on my bedroom door awakened my thoughts. I lifted up my head, blinking.

"Chane-san?" a familiar voice asked on the other side of the door.

I recognized the voice. It belonged to Nice Holystone. She was a young woman working with a delinquent group alongside a young man named Jacuzzi Splot, who had once risked his life to save me. They were good people, but they were people I had difficulty understanding at times. I have been living with their group at the Genoard's villa for quite a while now. That man has been living with us too.

Nice opened the door and smiled at me. I liked Nice's smile. I sometimes wondered how a woman with so many scars could have such a wonderful smile. Maybe Jacuzzi has something do with it.

"Chane-san, I just wanted to say goodnight," she said.

I nodded.

"Oh, I also thought you should know. Claire returned from his assignment from the Gandors."

I blinked, my mouth opening slightly. The man returned? The very mention of his name made the unnamed feeling I felt for him begin to overflow. Nice tilted her head as she leaned against the door and chuckled warmly at my response.

"He's still insisting on formerly being known as Claire Stanfield, Vino, and the Rail Tracer. I honestly don't know what to call him anymore… It seems that guy can be very fickle when it comes to names."

"…" That feeling was mutual. I had no idea what to call that man either.

"He looked a little tired, but I think he really wanted to see you. He's in his room right now. You should see him and tell him goodnight too," Nice suggested thoughtfully before she waved and shut the door behind her, "I'm sure Claire would really like that, Chane-san."

With the door shut, I was left alone with my thoughts once more. That man would like it if I went to see him? I pondered for a moment. That probably would be the case. He hasn't seen me for a few days. He had wanted to take me along on his assignment, but Nice had convinced him that it was my presence would be unnecessary and that he shouldn't have to put me in harm's way if there was a way to avoid such circumstances. I honestly wouldn't have minded it either way, but I wonder Father would have thought it all. I sighed and shook my head, shrugging that thought away.

I stood up and glanced at the window. After a moment of thought, I decided to leave my bedroom and visit that man. His room was right across from my own room. He wanted to share a room with me, but everyone had objected, so instead he insisted on getting the closest room to me instead. I lingered at the front of his bedroom door before I knocked on it.

"Who is it?" I heard his overwhelmingly familiar voice call out from inside. It made me realize that it has been a while since I had seen him and since I had heard his voice. His voice always had a way of pulling me in. "Come in. The door's open."

I slowly opened the door to find the man sitting by the edge of his bed. His crimson red hair was ruffled and damp from a quick shower, and he was dressed in a black collared shirt and matching black pants. A towel hung around his neck. He looked up and flinched for a split-second. It seemed that he wasn't expecting my presence.

"C-Chane…," he muttered sheepishly as he grinned, "I didn't know you were still awake."

His grin relieved me. He was surprised, but he wasn't against my visit. That made me a little happy.

"Is there anything you need? I could get it for you. It doesn't matter what it is or how long it takes to get it. Or did you have to tell me something? Because I'm ready to listen. Just tell me anything you want."

That man wanted to make me happy. I wanted to make him happy too. It was strange how we both wanted the same things. I walked over to his desk and picked out a sheet of paper and a pen. When I was done writing, I presented the paper to him.

"I came to see you. I wanted to say good night."

"Ah. I see, I see!" he exclaimed, smiling, "Good night to you too, Chane!"

I looked away, beginning to blink rapidly. I was flustered, and for some reason, I felt like I didn't want him to look me in the face. My hands balled into fists. I didn't know why. I just didn't want him to look at me. Was this the feeling of embarrassment?

"Eh? Chane, what's wrong?" the man asked with concern, "Is there something in your eye? Is that what's bothering you?"

He stood up and reached out for my cheek. I glared and tried to smack his hand aside, but he grabbed me by the wrist instead. "That wasn't very nice, you know…," the man muttered, frowning, "Why were you trying to hit me?"

I flinched. Did I offend him? My eyes were immediately drawn to that man's face, in fear that he was insulted by my action. I didn't mean to. I didn't want to hurt him. I just… I only…

The man noticed my distressed expression, and his face softened. "Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you. Honestly, I'm not mad. I don't think I could ever get mad at you, Chane," he told me, "But you have to tell me what's on your mind, or I won't understand. Is there anything wrong?"

I took the paper and went back to the desk where the pen was and began to write down my thoughts. I returned the paper to the man, who began to read the contents.

"I'm sorry. I think I was a little embarrassed before. You're very kind to me, and I only want to make you happy."

"Chane, you always make me happy. You don't have to push yourself so much."

I looked down.

"You're thinking it's not enough, aren't you?" the man read my thoughts perfectly, just by looking into my eyes. He sighed and placed both of his hands on my shoulders. The warmth of my hands made me a little relaxed. "But it is enough for me. I'm not an impatient guy. I told you that we'd start things slow. It's been a few months, but that's okay. Listen, I want you to fall in love with me, but on your own terms," he reassured me gently, "We have all the time in the world. I'm not going anyway, and I'm not going to die ever. I love you, Chane. So, believe in me. All right?"

I looked up at him and nodded.

Relieved, he smiled at me in a way Father or Nice or Jacuzzi never could. When this man smiled, it pierced my heart. There were still many emotions that I needed to explore, but one thing was for certain.

For the first time, I understood what feelings were developing inside of me – slowly but surely… I was falling in love with this man.

what's next on baccano! –

II: A Surprise Attack Ruins Chane's and Nice's Plans