Here's Chapter 5 :)
Note: If my sources are correct Amaboshi means dried persimmon. :D
The sun was already starting to peek out from the horizon by the time I reached home. The little shack looked so welcoming, glowing gold as the sun's first rays stretched across its white surface. I dragged my exhausted feet towards the door, my shoulders sagging under the weight of the sack of goods and the little fox. I slid the door open quietly, praying silently to God that Rangiku was still asleep.
The room smelled of the smoldering candles I had left burning last night. I wrinkled my nose at the smell as the little fox squirmed out of my arms and jumped lightly onto the floor. I set the sack down on the ground and leaned against the wall. The exhaustion from last night's escapade and fatigue from lack of sleep caught up with me as I slid down to the wall into a sitting position. Sighing, I rested my head against the wall as I watched the fox kit prance about the room, exploring its new home.
He searched every corner, his little tail swinging happily from side to side like a broom. I smiled as he came upon the sleeping Rangiku. She was still curled snugly under the blankets, her hair carpeting the mats. Her pillow was in wrapped in her arms instead of under her head. She must have been having a good dream because she smiled and sighed happily.
The kit sniffed at her face curiously, tilting its head inquisitively. He circled around her sleeping body, poking his nose everywhere and bit at her hair, chewing on it briefly before spitting it back out. Rangiku turned in her sleep, giggling as he lapped at the bottom of her foot. He came back up to her face and stared at her smile, intrigued. He turned his head back towards me and smiled.
I barely had the energy to smile back. My lips trembled as I grinned weakly. My eyelids were beginning to feel heavy. I sighed and close my eyes.
I didn't realize that I had fallen asleep until a mischievous paw swatted my face and jolted me out of my slumber. I blinked to rid my eyes of the blurriness and looked up to find both the fox and Rangiku snickering.
"Heh… Mornin' there, Ran-chan," I mumbled through a big yawn. I rubbed my bleary eyes as she smiled brightly.
"It's already past lunchtime, sleepyhead!" she teased as plopped down across from me and pushed a plate of whole roasted potatoes into my hands. Dread spread through my body. "Eat!"
I accepted the plate reluctantly and balanced it on my lap. I picked a spud off the plate and examined it. The potatoes were completely burnt on the outside and smelled strongly of fish. It was cold and slightly damp. I peeled the skin and a thick layer of burnt potato flesh slithered off with it, leaving behind only a small lump of edible food. I held it up by my mouth and gulped, hesitant to take a bite. Rangiku was watching me avidly.
"Take a bite! Take a bite!" she encouraged. I looked warily from the potato to her.
"Eh… what about you?"
Rangiku shook her head.
"No, no. Me and Boshi-kun already had some before."
"Boshi-kun? Who's that?"
"Oh! This little guy here," she said, petting the top of the kit's head. He mewed lightly and wiggled out of her arms. "I was talking to him while you were asleep and we're friends now. I named him Amaboshi because he's the same color as dried persimmons! We can call him Boshi for short."
Boshi-kun, who had now curled up next to me, mewed approvingly. Rangiku and I laughed.
"Well, I'm glad ya two are getting' along."
"Uh-huh! And Gin, eat the potato," Rangiku demanded as she caught me sniffing cautiously at the lump in my hand. "I made it myself," she exclaimed, puffing up with pride.
I inwardly flinched. The last time Rangiku "made food herself" I ended up with the runs for a week… I wasn't so very keen on getting full-blown diarrhea or throwing up my innards but she was staring at me so expectantly with those pretty, pleading eyes….
I sighed and complied with her wishes by taking a small, delicate bite of the potato. It rolled across my tongue and I started to chew slowly. Rangiku watched me earnestly, bobbing her head at every chew. Suddenly, my mouth froze and my body became rigid.
"So…. H-how is it?"
How is it?This girl's tryin' ta kill me… It's the most rancid, vile, disgustin' thing I've ever put in my mouth…. Is this really a potato? It feels like sand rippin' up my tongue…. And what's with this insane saltiness? It's suckin' all the moisture out of my body… I can't swallow it.
"How...ACK!" I coughed violently as sandy bits of potato rattled down my throat. I pounded my chest until the strange burning sensation went away. "How exactly didja make this?" I asked, my eyes watery.
"Oh! Umm… Boshi-kun helped me find an open furnace behind the public bathhouse and when the man outside wasn't looking, I threw the potatoes in so that they could cook," she explained animatedly.
"I wasn't planning on leaving them in too long but I couldn't take them out because the guy wouldn't leave. So I had Boshi distract him by biting his ankle and leading him away from the furnace. When they were gone, I took them out and they were kinda black…"She glanced down at the pile of burned skin on the plate and gave me a slightly apologetic look.
"I went looking for Boshi and I found him by the beach. Then I had a great idea! Potatoes taste better with salt and the ocean is full of it right? So I filled a bucket with water and soaked the potatoes in there for a bit!"
Well tha' must explain why this taste like whale shit…
She must have caught the cross look on my face because the smile fell from her face and she suddenly looked dejected. Slumping forward, she sighed and looked sadly at the floor.
"I'm sorry," she mumbled, her head hanging sadly. "I guess it was a failure…"
I felt an intense pang of guilt wrack my conscience and I instantly regretted thinking such mean thoughts.
"Eh? No, Ran-chan! It's uh… delicious…" I hurriedly reassured her with a big smile and another bite of the vile lump. She looked up at me skeptically.
"Uh… really! Ya made it taste pretty good."
Rangiku frowned and shook her head and removed the lump of potato out of my hand.
"Liar," she accused. "You're lying to me."
I sat there stumped, the smile still lingering uncertainly on my face. How did she know? She noticed my bemused look and smiled kindly.
"You can tell me the truth, Gin. I know I'm no good at cooking…"
She glanced up at me before removing the plate from my lap. I stood up as she dragged herself miserably towards the door to dump the plate outside. The feeling of guilt returned again and I felt terrible for ruining her mood.
"Ran-chan," I called out. She turned around, one hand on the knob. I strolled up to her and gently pulled the plate of potatoes out of her hands. She blinked questioningly as I set the plate on the ground and placed my hand on hers.
"How 'bout you and I go out today?"
I grinned as I saw her entire face light up making her eyes sparkle and her cheeks glow pink. A wide smiled stretched across her face, revealing her pretty teeth.
"Really? You mean it, Gin?"
"Yahoo! You hear that Boshi-kun? We're going out! We're going out!" she yelled as she jumped up and down in place. Boshi grinned and darted around our feet, wiggling his rear excitedly. She ran out the door laughing and chattering with the little fox kit. Her bouncing hair looked like sunshine rolling down her shoulders as she twirled around and around.
"C'mon, Gin! Let's go!"
I nodded and walked out the door. Rangiku ran up and grabbed my hand, tugging at me as Boshi followed suit, pawing at my sandal. I glanced behind me at the open door and spotted the forgotten plate of potatoes. A smile tugged the corners of my lips as I pulled the door closed with my free hand.
I didn't entirely like how this chapter turned out...
I was really impatient to get on to the next one so I had to trudge through this one. LOL
The next one will be better. I promise :)
Like always R&R!