I woke up in my hospital room feeling refreshed and energized. My headache had faded away and the pain in my ribs had numbed. I must have slept for a few hours because it was twilight when I looked out the window. When I sat up and looked around, I noticed that I was in a different room but the same bed. This room was a little bigger with a bathroom on the other side of the room. The walls were painted tan and the floor was white linoleum. The large window that was over my bed had a little koi pond in vision.
I sat up carefully so not to put immediate pressure on my ribs. My bandages looked new, as if someone just came and changed them. My body also looked new, so to speak. I smelled of fresh flowers that had an unrecognizable but lovely scent and my skin had been washed of any remaining dirt I had before. Someone had come and washed me up while I was sleeping, and my conclusion had been confirmed when that someone spoke from the foot of my bed.
"That's bellflower soap that you smell."
"Eek!" I yelped in surprise at the sudden voice, thinking that I was alone this whole time. I couldn't believe I hadn't notice someone else's presence, especially when he was leaning against the wall facing me.
"It's the insignia for our squad, not the soap but the bellflower itself," the man said as he moved to sit on the edge of my bed. He had dark hair and eyes and an armband on his left arm, just like the guy from…wait a second…it is that guy from before! He smiled at me, noting the recognition in my eyes. Before I said anything he continued, "It signifies 'those who grieve are loved,' an old saying that was made by the Taichou long ago. I'm kind of too young to understand, but I guess it means if you've lost someone special, someone who you thought was the only one that loved you, you're still loved by someone else, whether it is a being such as yourself or a heavenly being. I don't know if the saying's meaning is that simple, because if it was said by our Taichou, than it's maybe something you'll only know when you become wiser through age."
I was a little taken aback about how social he was with me, as if we've known each other for years. But he seemed to be a good expression reader because he apologetically smiled when he saw my slight confusion. "Forgive me. I'm pretty sure if I found a stranger in my room who just nonchalantly tried to start a conversation, I would want to know his identity immediately," he extended his hand out to me, prompting a handshake, "My name is Seinosuke Yamada, the Fukutaichou of the 4th Division."
I shook his hand and smiled, liking his pleasant personality. Seinosuke…I feel like I've heard that name before. Maybe he did something so great that it even reached the Rukongai, as he was a Fukutaichou. However, now that I've studied his face, I feel like I've also seen him, but I'm not sure. With his black hair and eyes, he doesn't have any qualities that stand out to make you remember him. I opened my mouth to introduce myself, but Seinosuke cut me off.
"I already know who you are, Isane-san. You've become quite the celebrity around here."
"Celebrity? What do you mean? Oh Lord…don't tell me I was sleep walking again!" The last time that happened was a few years ago and I ended up walking right into a neighboring newlywed's first love-making session. My lord… I've never been so embarrassed… or seen something so small…
Seinosuke made a light-hearted chuckle, "No, no, don't worry, Isane-san, you weren't sleepwalking. You've been sleeping rather peacefully this whole time. I can honestly tell you that I don't actually know why you've been the subject of the whole squad's conversations, but it is rare that the Taichou brought a Rukongai resident with her."
"Is that uncommon?"
"Well, it is and it isn't. One of the Gotei 13's jobs is to protect the Rukongai from hollow attacks. Usually, after a Menos Grande attack, a few Shinigami would stay around just for rebuilding and aid purposes. The injured would be treated by village doctors, unless they had serious injuries that would need Kido healing, and the Shinigami would come back to the Seireitei. However, your injuries weren't so serious, at least in our book. It would have taken a few weeks, but your reiatsu would have gradually repaired your ribs and wounds. Plus, the Taichou never goes out and help in the Rukongai now that I think about it," Seinosuke said matter-of-factly.
Before I could respond there was a knock on the door. It was a nurse who asked if I was awake and if I was hungry. It was my stomach who responded rather loudly with a growl which caused my face to turn into a tomato and the other two to laugh.
"Don't worry about it, Isane. We would be worried if you weren't hungry after 24 hours of no food."
I thanked the nurse and placed the deliciously smelling silver-topped plate on my lap. When I uncovered it, a small squeal of astonishment and delight escaped my lips as I took in the wonderful view of assorted delicacies. If it wasn't for those medical books I always read that sometimes included healthy foods to eat, a Rukongai peasant like me wouldn't know what I was looking at. There was a colorful mix of sushi and sashimi, edamame, a hot bowl of soba, yakitori, yudofu, and another bowl of miso soup. Seinosuke must have seen my surprise as he made another light-hearted chuckle.
"I guess the nurses must have also thought of you as a special guest. We've never given a patient such a large meal."
I felt a little pampered since I was getting some kind of special treatment, and I thought that I wouldn't be able to eat all of it. Well, I thought that before I was half-way finished and still hungry. I did pause however, when I noticed the other occupant in the room gazing at me with his somewhat handsome eyes. I know I said he was average looking, but there was something attractive about him. We locked eyes for only a couple of seconds, but it felt like eternity, and I swear I saw something…no…lust in his eyes.
Lust? No, no it couldn't be. We just met and hardly know each other. But…whoa…what was that? My chest felt like it was tightening and clenching. And why were my cheeks so hot all of a sudden? I looked away at my tray because I felt odd and nervous, and I saw from the corner of my eye that Seinosuke was walking toward me, his eyes still looking at me as if I was prey. Okay, now he's a little scary. I wanted to speak, but I just opened my mouth with no sound coming from it. He sat at the side of the bed and moved the tray from my lap, prompting me to look up at him. He had such a beautiful smile on his face, but he scooted a little closer to me so that our faces were a foot apart. When his fingers intertwined with mines (WTF?!), he leaned in closer and closed his eyes.
Closer? Seinosuke, you're already a little too close don't you think? Unfortunately for me, my back was already against the headboard of the bed so I couldn't lean backwards. I was literally speechless and frozen, and I didn't know if it was from shock or fear. His lips were almost touching mines until…
Nothing. I was hoping it would be like those romance novels when someone would burst through the door right before the two protagonists' lips touched, but that didn't happen at all. Seinosuke's lips touched mines and…well I felt a lot of things. My face would have put a red tomato to shame, and my eyes would have probably done the same to an owl. That weird feeling I mentioned earlier felt like it spiked up in my chest, but I refused to kiss back or pull away, the latter option being too rude.
And, as suddenly as it started, Seinosuke abruptly broke the kiss and stood up, a smirk now on his face. "See you later, Isane-san. I had a great time," he said with tinge of seductiveness in his voice before leaving without another word. Again, I didn't say or do anything except looking as if my parents were a tomato and owl.
I don't even know how long I sat there. My thoughts were in disarray and lost track of time. "That was my first kiss" was the only thought I remembered before my body forced me into a slumber.
A/N: I'm just going to be straight with you guys, I got kind of (hella) lazy. I know this chapter sucks, especially after waiting months and months. But I'll need some time to get back into the writing groove. Before I update How Are We In Love, I might just do a short story as a warm up. I turned 15 during the hiatus, and now I'm getting ready for my learners' permit test. Plus, I enrolled in all advanced and AP classes, so that sucks. Fortunately, I have Friday off because this week is midterms, so that's when I'll jump right back in to fanfiction.
Thank you all so much for your comments and support. I'm really sorry for making you guys wait, and I'll try to be one of those authors who respond to all of their reviews. Again, sorry for the sucky chapter, I kind of rushed. I'm kind of striving for a peek into the comedic side of Isane, so I may put humor as a genre. And what's a love story without rivalry for the protagonist's heart? And don't worry, Unohana will come next chapter.
Hasta próxima tiempo (Until Next Time)-mmhmm, I'm learning me some Spanish.