So I've decided to take a break on NJAM and work on this instead, since it's shorter and easier to write. Thanks to all who read the first chapter and a special bonus thanks to those who reviewed, faved, and alerted!
Not the longest chapter, but this is what sets the real plot in motion. I plan on this being either a 4 or 5 chapter story, so whoo it's halfway done :3
"It's so cold out here."
I glanced over to see Keiichi rubbing his hands together for friction. He placed them around his bare neck when he thought they were warm enough, then repeated the process. I laughed quietly, my breath causing a cloud of white to linger in front of my face before dissipating. All around us was sparkling white. The trees were coated with snow, icicles dangling off the bare branches. Even the It was all freshly fallen; the ground had been barely covered last night before I went to sleep. This morning I woke up to find at least four inches coating. In some places where the snow had drifted, it was even deeper.
"Figures the day the top button on my coat breaks is the day a blizzard hits." Keiichi grimaced as his hands worked to keep his neck warm. I glanced over at him again. His cheeks were rosy from the temperature, much like mine were I was sure. I could see his puffs of his breath as he breathed.
"You can always put another button on." I reassured him with a smile. "I'm sure once we're at school it'll be nice and warm."
Keiichi nodded as he continued to warm his exposed neck. My hands rose to the scarf I was wearing. I looked down at it, afterwards stealing another glance at Keiichi.
I began to unwind the scarf from around my neck. The movement must have caught his eye, because I saw him staring at me once it was off.
"What're you doing?"
I stepped in front of him, trying not to concentrate on how cute he looked with that surprised look on his face. He stopped and stared at my curiously. With shaky hands, I threw the scarf around his neck and flashed him a grin.
"There. Now you won't be cold."
Keiichi held the ends of the blue scarf in his hands and stared down at it incredulously.
"N-No, it's okay, here." He looked ready to take it off before I stopped him.
"Nope, wear it. It's okay." My hand had brushed lightly against his, before I pulled away quickly. Even if it was cold, he still felt warm. As did my cheeks, which I'm sure were even redder now.
Keiichi sighed with a smile. He wound the scarf around his neck, making it more snug.
"Thanks Satoshi." He smiled.
I'd never felt warmer.
We walked out of the movie theater, trapped in a flood of people. It was a decent sized movie theater, capable of holding a sizable crowd. Right now, it felt like the whole theater had been packed and all the movies ended at the same time. I let out a sigh as I was pushed backwards a few steps. It felt nice to be free of the people once outside on the sidewalk. I let in a big gulp of fresh air and tried to loosen up my body, only now realizing how tense I'd been.
"Well that was lousy." Keiichi grimaced as he chewed pensively on some popcorn.
"Could have been worse." I reasoned and reached into the bag for popcorn of my own. I tossed a salty handful into my mouth, afterwards wiping my hands on my pants legs.
"What now?" Keiichi asked as he watched the crowd disperse around us. I even caught sight of the little girl from before. My eyes narrowed ever so slightly on their own. I shook my head ever so slightly, bringing myself back to reality.
"I don't know, you're the one who dragged me out here wanting to do stuff. Choose something else." I told him while stretching my arms above my head. Keiichi's eyebrows furrowed before he tilted his head back and emptied the popcorn bag into his mouth. He appeared deep in thought as he chewed, leaving me with no choice but to wait patiently. I had nothing in mind of what we could do. Just spending time was enough for me.
He crumpled the bag and threw it away in a nearby trashcan before he finally answered me.
"After all that salt I want something sweet...Want to go get ice cream or something?"
I bit my lip. It really felt like we were on some kind of date. Was that why my heart was beating so quickly. I checked the clock that was mounted conveniently near the entrance of the theater.
"It's getting to be lunch time...Want to just go get some food and ice cream later?" I asked, my stomach beginning to ache at the thought of food. The popcorn I'd eaten did close to nothing for my stomach. Keiichi shrugged his shoulders.
We ate at a burger joint, not spending too much time there. Across the way was a small park, where we spent the rest of our day at. Inside had been an ice cream vendor we were plenty familiar with after being his customers quite often. We sat on a park bench with our snack and watched the people passing by.
"I wish everything was always this relaxed." Keiichi spoke, breaking the silence. I nodded and nibbled on the cone that held my ice cream.
"Breaks like these are nice..."
Keiichi leaned his head back over the bench, eyes on the cloud spotted sky above. I continued to nibble on my cone while watching the other park visitors. There were plenty of happy couples meandering about, hand in hand, fingers laced together. Smiles stretched across their faces; they all radiated an aura of happiness. Scenes like this made my heart ache in my chest. Something I've wanted so badly for so long... Something that will never happen...
I hadn't realized that I was staring at the ground now, all my features not hiding I was downcast. I sat back up, this time focusing more on a little boy of about seven who was walking his puppy. This parents were right behind him, chatting and watching their beloved child bounce around with his pet. I fought off an audible sigh and went back to half heartedly eating my ice cream. The heat had already began to melt it, some melted streams trickling down my hand. Without a napkin, I licked the sweet mess before returning to my actual ice cream. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Keiichi had already finished off his ice cream and had remained in that same position.
Not wanting to appear creepy, I took to watching other people again. The boy and his dog were a little ways ahead now, just passing by an old couple who were seated on a bench. From where I was sitting, I could only see their backs. Judging from the flock of birds around their bench, I figured they must have some bird seed or bread. The old man had his arm around his wife in a loving matter.
I was beginning to feel sick. Was this God punishing me for all the things I've done wrong in life? What did I do to deserve all this? Or maybe it was something that was yet to come, and I was being punished early. He just had to make sure I received a lifetime of suffering. I couldn't hold back the sour frown. I shouldn't be so selfish. Just being here with him should be enough.
So why wasn't I satisfied?
I shook the thoughts away. This was enough. I was happy with this.
And all I could hope is the more I told myself, the easier it would be to believe.
I'd become so wrapped up in my thoughts, I hadn't realized that the seat next to mine was vacant. My head whipped around to see the spot Keiichi had occupied was empty. I looked around frantically for him, not seeing him anywhere. My ice cream was as good as cream now, the heat having already gotten the better of it. I stared down the mess in my hand and grimaced.
"You sure made a mess."
My head snapped up to see Keiichi had returned with napkins in his hand. He took my cone from me and let a napkin slip through his hand and onto my lap.
"Thanks." I murmured, wiping down my arm and dabbing a little at my face. Keiichi had walked across the path to the trashcan that was there and disposed of my half eaten snack. He walked back over, using one of the napkins he grabbed to wipe his hands. I stood to throw mine away when he stopped me.
"You missed a spot." He laughed, not giving me a chance to respond. His hand stretched out and rubbed away roughly at the corner of my lip. I was to take aback to react so I let him do as he pleased.
"Th-thanks." Was all managed to muster. I followed Keiichi back over to the trashcan to throw away the napkins before sighing.
"It's getting really hot out..." I uttered, wiping my brow.
"Yeah, I know." Keiichi groaned and pushed his bangs back. He fanned himself with his free hand. "Ready to go back to the dorms? Air conditioning?"
I nodded in approval, my sense still not quite recovered from what Keiichi had done a few seconds ago. Why did he...no...my thoughts...why did they tease me like this? Keiichi hadn't meant that gesture in a romantic sweet sense. That was just...Keiichi. Still...
My hand moved on its own and touched the spot Keiichi had touched with the napkin. My eyes closed and I swore I could still feel his hand there.
"You coming slow poke?" Keiichi called over his shoulder, bringing me back down to reality. I grinned.
"Yeah, sorry." I caught back up to him and walked back to the dorm by his side all the way.
We spent the rest of the afternoon and most the night playing video games back in our room. It was the most fun I'd had in quite awhile. That day had been full of surprises...
Yet the biggest surprise... definitely came later that night.
With just one phone call.