It didn't really surprise Haruka that pictures of Michiru and her had ended up in next day's newspaper, to her relief none of them showing how she had emerged from the broom closet with the aqua haired girl; what did surprise her though were the comments which had been written about the photos, her eyebrows wandering up as she read through the article.
Michiru Kaioh – gay?
the headline asked quite directly, the author then pointing out how so far, almost no details about the violinist's private life had been revealed – before he, to Haruka's annoyance, questioned Michiru's intelligence, reminding his readers about the notorious behaviour of the racer and asking them how smart it could be to get involved with someone like that.
No one can deny that they are visually appealing as a couple, the article went on, making the blonde frown, but one must ask why Kaioh-san would choose Tenoh-san as her companion, with the racer's exploits among the female population well known to her fans and followers.
"Hrmph", Haruka let out, not liking the tone of this article, "who does this guy think he is?" She crumpled the paper up angrily, momentarily feeling like throwing it into the trashcan – before her eyes fell on the headline again and she frowned to herself, now asking herself exactly the same question.
"Why couldn't you answer that in your stupid article?" she asked the paper, throwing it aside at last with a final glare; she shook her head to herself, then jumped as her phone rang, her annoyance only growing further when she saw that it was her manager calling, surely with the intention to ask her what the Hell had happened at the gala the previous evening.
"Hello?" she still took the call, knowing she had to talk to him sooner or later; and immediately, he gave the reason for his call, his words prompting the blonde to raise an eyebrow.
"What's going on between Michiru Kaioh and you?" her manager wanted to know, sounding quite excited, "are you dating her, or what? Why didn't you tell me?"
"I don't think it's any of your business", Haruka pointed out, "and no, we're not dating, we're just friends and I took her along to the gala since we both were going."
"Aw", the elder man let out, disappointed, "that could have opened a lot of new doors… But maybe a friendship might, too, so the chaos at the gala yesterday isn't that bad! What exactly happened there anyway?"
"Not sure", Haruka lied, "something happened to the host and he, um, turned into one of those creatures which keep popping up lately, but I ran off with the rest before anything else happened."
"Good thinking", her manager praised her at once, "the last thing we need now is that you get hurt by one of these things. Keep me updated about Kaioh-san, alright?"
"Yeah", Haruka sighed, even though she still didn't think that this was any of her manager's business, "I will. Talk to you soon."
"Yup!" the man agreed, to her great relief, before he said his goodbye; she did the same before she glanced at the newspaper once more, then got up from her seat and decided that she might as well use her free time for a little drive, smiling to herself as she already thought of said drive, suddenly barely able to wait for the feeling of the steering wheel beneath her hands and the power of her car all around her.
The driving soothed her as much as it always did, and after half an hour, she was as relaxed as she could be, leaning back into the car seat as she drove through Tokyo's streets; as always, people glanced at her car and at her when she passed them, and as always, it made her wonder if they were recognizing her and thus were staring or if the glaringly yellow colour of her car was attracting their attention.
Then, a flash of familiar aqua coloured hair caught her eye and her attention, and without even noticing, she slowed the car down, her gaze fixed on Michiru's back as she watched the violinist enter one of the buildings, not surprised when she saw that it was a store selling musical instruments and sheet music, a small smirk curling her lips as she parked her car in the next free spot, not even pausing to ask herself if this was a good idea.
Before she could start thinking about just this topic, Haruka killed the engine and got out of the vehicle, making her way to the store's entrance; upon entering, it didn't take her long to spot Michiru, the aqua haired girl standing at a shelf filled with books of sheet music, holding one of them in her hands and leafing through it, with the most adorable little pout on her face, the sight causing Haruka's smirk to widen slightly.
"Hey", she greeted her companion, forced to hold back a chuckle when Michiru flinched visibly, then turned to look at her, the way she immediately started to smile when her eyes met the taller woman's not unnoticed by the blonde.
"Haruka-san", she then greeted, lowering the book, having lost all interest in it, "how nice to meet you here. Are you looking for sheet music, too?"
"No", the blonde declined, not even glancing at the shelves with said sheets, "actually, I just happened to see you enter here and thought I'd say Hi."
"That's very nice of you", Michiru smiled at her, putting the book back into the shelf, "do you do this for all the pretty girls you're going to a gala with?"
"You're the only pretty girl I went to a gala with", Haruka pointed out in reply, glad that Michiru had brought this up first since now, she could do so without seeming too eager or curious.
"Speaking of the gala", she thus went on, giving her best to sound casual, "read today's paper already?"
"Of course", Michiru replied lightly, making Haruka wonder if she had to try just as hard for that tone as she had been struggling to adept a casual sound, "I read it each morning during breakfast. We look quite good on those pictures, don't we?"
"Yes", the blonde had to agree, frowning as she thought of the article again, "but the accompanying article wasn't that nice. It made me sound like some sort of gigolo."
"Well, some might say that you are", Michiru let her know with a small smile, a giggle escaping her when Haruka let out a cough; she gave the smaller woman a look, then brought the talk to the topic which really interested her, choosing her words wisely since she didn't want to end up offending the smaller woman.
"I thought you'd be more worried about the headline", she said, raising an eyebrow at the violinist, "I mean, after all, it basically asks Japan if you're gay."
"I noticed", Michiru replied quite dryly, turning to the shelf again and getting another book out of it, leafing through it, "it was quite prominently placed on the page after all."
"So?" Haruka decided that it was time now to ask the question which had been burning on her tongue since she had seen said headline, still giving her best to sound casual and even a bit jokingly, "are you?"
Briefly, Michiru glanced at her, with a glint in her eyes the blonde found hard to read; then, her lips curled upwards as she just as casually replied "I thought you already knew that" – before she looked down on the book again and went on with going through it, apparently not even noticing the dumbstruck way Haruka was staring at her now.
"Um", the blonde finally managed to let out some sort of noise, not all too intelligent as she had to admit, "okay…"
To her dismay, Michiru clearly wasn't willing to clarify, since she just glanced at her again and smiled – before she held up the book she had been looking at, letting the blonde know that she'd buy it and asking her if she felt like having coffee somewhere once she'd gotten done at the store.
"Um, sure", the taller woman agreed after a second, her mind still reeling from the violinist's casual response, "you're not… well, you know, sensing anything and want to stick together because of that, right?"
"No", Michiru shook her head, "but I'm not surprised, usually, the attacks don't happen so shortly after each other, and we just had one yesterday."
"Good point", Haruka nodded, "coffee it is, then. Once you paid for that book, unless you want to be in the newspaper again, as a petty thief this time."
"I'm not that desperate for publicity", Michiru let her know, smiling slightly again, "so just let me pay for this, then we can find a nice café."
Smirking, the blonde nodded, making her way to the cashier's desk with the smaller woman afterwards; the clerk there clearly recognized Michiru, since he gaped at her with wide eyes, then briefly looked up at Haruka, gulping visibly before he glanced aside, avoiding it to look at any of the two women as he rang up the book and told the aqua haired girl how much she had to pay.
"That was odd", Haruka commented as soon as the violinist had paid and they were leaving the store together, "why did he gulp like that when he saw me?"
"He probably read the newspaper too"; Michiru pointed out in reply, "and now, he's questioning my intelligence like the article did."
"That was quite rude", the blonde told her after a moment of thinking about this, not sure now why Michiru would bring that certain part of the article up again; and moments later, the aqua haired girl smiled at her, the strange glint back in her eyes as she replied, her words making Haruka's mouth go dry and once more causing her to just stare like a moron.
"Oh, I don't know", Michiru said, a small smile curling her lips, "you know, sometimes, love can cause people to do quite stupid things."
And with those words, she turned and walked off, Haruka remaining where she was a bit longer, staring after her with her mind racing – before she finally snapped out of her trance and hurried after the aqua haired girl, smirking to herself as she replayed Michiru's words in her mind again and again, suddenly sure that, should she try to kiss her again, she wouldn't end up being rejected after all.