Chapter 01: Too Late
Ohana rested her cheek against her palm as her brown hues gazed out the train window. She was returning to the city after saying her farewells to everyone at the Kissuiso. She had hope that it would reopen in the future, and she'd be able to both see everyone again and work there as well. It was a life that she fell in love with in such a short time, and it left her longing for it the moment she left. Still, she didn't find returning to the city to be a terrible turn of events. It was just that...
"I'm afraid of her safety if I'm not watching over her."
There was someone that she hadn't seen in a long time. The last she had really heard from him was before she had her mother come to the Kissuiso for her review.
Ohana blinked and found her reflection in the window to be one of surprise. As they entered a tunnel, she could more clearly see how there was shock and turmoil that dwelled within her brown hues. Those words for that simple farewell... It was heart-wrenching. She felt like those words meant there might not be a next time, and she returned that same farewell in order to release the two of them from their ties. But...
Swallowing, the curly haired girl lowered her eyes so she wouldn't have to see her own pained expression. Even if she had said those words. Even if she had heard those words. She always believed that they would meet again. That they would find themselves laughing alongside each other, and she could admire him for the person he was. A person that always made her breathless with his kindness. Yet...
Squeezing her eyes shut, Ohana could picture it so vividly in her mind. When she returned to the city with her uncle's wife, she was on her way to speak with her mother, but something deterred her from her mission. Passing by the very park that he had confessed to her in, she couldn't help but notice a couple passing on the opposite side of the park. She had stopped in her tracks as she made herself as unnoticeable as possible, realizing that it was him and his co-worker. Namiko...Igarashi was it? Lowering herself to try and stay out of sight, she watched them silently, seeing that they were out of their work clothes. It was then that she noticed that their hands were clasped together, and as if fate was mocking her, Namiko leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. It seemed like such an innocent act, but Ohana felt her heart drop to the pit of her stomach. She could almost imagine the conversation between the two in their voices, and she could hardly hold herself up with her trembling legs. It didn't take long before she realized she could no longer see them because her vision had blurred.
Snapping her eyes open, Ohana sat up straight. Breathing heavily, she moved her hands to her face trying to calm herself. She was shaking visibly. It was lucky for her that no other passengers were sitting in the same row as her, as she gently curled her fingers against her cheeks before tears washed over them. Why does it hurt so much...? We...we both said our goodbyes to each other a long time ago. So why...why does it hurt to know that he's with someone else? She...she's a nice girl that has honest feelings about him. Why aren't I...happy for him? Why aren't...I... Ohana could do nothing to stop the tears from flowing as the droning sound of the train mixed with the sounds of her crying.
"I'm going out for a bit." Ohana was already putting on her shoes after serving dinner to her mother.
Still typing on her laptop, Satsuki only vaguely showed interest, "It might rain sometime soon, so don't stay out too long."
"Okay, I'm off!"
"Take care." The clacking keyboard continued on after the door closed behind Ohana.
It had only been a day since she had gotten back into the city, and she had avoided seeing him the entire time. She hadn't even notified him yet that Kissuiso had closed down and she was back to living in the city. Ohana just couldn't face him after their farewell. Or was that really the reason? Her hands curled in her pockets as she tried to keep that vivid imagery from entering her mind again. "It's...fine. Really...it's fine..." She murmured to herself, trying to reassure herself that it would be fine. After all, when they did meet, Ohana didn't want to show him a sad version of herself. She had to fest herself up and make sure she was energetic and optimistic around him. "Just...just like the good old days..."
Blinking, Ohana looked up from where she had ended up after wandering aimlessly. Widening her eyes, she realized that she was in that same park again. It had plenty of memories to offer, both painful and happy ones now. Slowly taking steps forward, she climbed up the slide, standing at the top while she gripped the rails. Looking up at the dark clouds that gathered, she tried to remember the night he confessed to her. How she had been too hesitant...too scared to really give him a reply. And now...was she regretting it? "Ko...chan..." Biting her lower lip, she tried to keep the tears from coming again. Before the tears even started though, the downpour of rain drowned out any sounds of her weeping. Her tears mixed with the raindrops that covered her face as she stood there, overcome with the sadness that she tried to overcome. Wasn't there someone that she went to in times like these? When she felt like she wanted to just wallow in her misery? "Ko-chan...Ko-chan, Ko-chan...KO-CHAN!" Her voice was drowned out in the rain as her hands covered her face, hiding her pained face.
"O...na... ...hana... Ohana!" Koichi's voice could barely be heard through the loud roar of the rain. He rushed into the park after he had barely recognized Ohana in the rain. Carrying an umbrella, he climbed up the slide and held it over her as he took a hold of her wrist, pulling her down the slide slowly, "What are you doing out here?! You're absolutely soaked! I...my place is closer, so let's get you dry before you catch a cold." His voice could still barely be heard, but he did see that Ohana nodded faintly. Guiding her out of the park, he held onto her wrist as he made sure to shield the two of them, mainly Ohana, from the rain.
Ohana had only lowered her hands when the rain stopped pouring on her and he was standing over her. She only looked into his eyes for a moment before she quickly looked away. Those eyes...they were still the same. Filled with such kindness. And now he was still looking after her despite the time they've spent apart. Ohana could feel her tears continue to trickle down her cheeks. Or was it the rain now? She could hardly tell as she shivered from the cold and her current state of mind. Following his guide, she looked down at the hand that held her wrist, wondering what it'd be like to have his large hand wrap around her smaller one. To be so intimate with him... She exchanged no words with him as she stayed silent the entire way. Going up the nearby apartment to his floor, Ohana made no sound as she entered his home, her hair and clothes utterly soaked.
Closing the door behind them, Koichi took off his shoes and motioned for her to come in, "You don't have to worry about getting the floor wet. I'll dry it later. I'll get you a towel now, so wait for me in the living room, okay?"
Her shimmering brown pools looked up just in time to see his broad back moving away, and it invoked such a pained feeling in her chest. Still, Ohana shook her head, trying to stop herself from becoming a blubbering idiot, but it might have been too late to not leave that impression on him. Taking off her shoes, she stepped carefully into the living room. She stood there in between the television and the couch, holding her arms around herself trying to warm herself up.
Koichi entered the living room with a towel and placed it over Ohana's head, "Don't worry, it's one of the spare clean ones we keep around. But anyways...are you alright, Ohana? What were you doing standing out there in the middle of the pouring rain? And when did you get back into the city?"
Ohana slowly began to dry her hair as she wouldn't make eye contact with him, "Th-Thanks, Ko-" She swallowed her words as she found it awkward to call him like she always did. For some reason, she had to wonder what Namiko call him? By his full first name? Did he have a pet name for Namiko? How intimate were they? Ohana quickly covered her face with the towel, pretending to dry herself as she tried to forget these wandering, aimless worries that came from just his name. "I was just...deep in thought and hardly noticed when it started raining, eheheh..." She gave a nervous laugh as she lowered the towel and held it against herself. "What were you doing out in the rain, K-Ko...chan?" She asked nervously while averting her eyes still.
Koichi was watching her intently, somewhat confused as to why she was acting so differently around him, but he made no mention of it. "I...was coming back from work when it started to rain. I had to go buy an umbrella, and when I passed by the park... I barely recognized you in the heavy rain, but I'm glad I did. I wouldn't have wanted to leave you out in the rain like that."
Clenching the towel even more, Ohana bit her lower lip before she spoke in the softest audible voice she could muster, "Coming back from work? Is...Is your co-worker, Namiko, still working there? Have...Have you given her a proper answer yet?" She remembered how she almost scolded him on not giving her a clear answer, but she knew she was such a hypocrite because of that. Ohana had not given him a clear answer to his feelings, and she still had yet to vocally reciprocate those feelings.
"...yeah, she's still working there. And...yes, I gave her my answer not too long ago. I...decided to give it a chance, and we've been dating for a few weeks now." Koichi gave a straightforward answer as his eyes rested on Ohana still. He felt somewhat uncomfortable speaking about it just like that, especially in front of Ohana, but he didn't want to lie about anything to Ohana. "You must be cold, right? I'll go get you a warm drink."
Looking up just to see him leave, Ohana blinked as she realized that she had dropped the towel. Was she surprised? Why was she so surprised at this when she allowed it to happen? She really just watched it all unfold before her eyes, so why was it that she felt torn apart? Ko-chan... I thought...I believed that...I... That feeling swelled up in her chest again. I...I want to ask, "Why didn't you wait for me? Why didn't you wait till I gave you my answer? Did you...did you forget your confession to me? Do you not feel the same toward me anymore? I...I want to know why...why you chose her over me!?" But...but... I know...I know I'm being selfish. I'm being...punished for running away from this the entire time. I thought I grew up a little at the Kissuiso, but...even when I learned to cope and love that new life, I was running away from my old one. The one that had Ko-chan in it...the one that... Without thinking, she darted out of the living room and put on her shoes as quickly as possible. She could hear him come out into the living room calling out to her, but she couldn't make out what he was saying. Before she knew it, she had ran out the door and down the apartment building. Rushing out into the rain again, she continued to sprint toward a random direction, just wanting to get away from that apartment. From him.
I was an idiot for thinking you'd wait forever...for thinking that I could just push you away for the longest time and pull you back to me whenever I wanted... I...I never wanted for this to happen. I want it to be just like the old days when we were together...just...just you and me... When we were just...friends? I always had you to myself back then...but now...even if we were to continue being friends, you'd have your eyes on another girl. That...I can't live with that! No matter how happy I want to be for you for finding a nice girl, I can't...I can't help but feel...
Is it really too late? Did I make you wait too long? Have you...forgotten my promise to you? I...I...
I still...I still want...to...
.::|| I'd like to continue with more chapters, but is it a good enough read for me to continue?