Trouble in Paradise
Minako's dubious nursing skills are put to the test. This story takes place two weeks after 'Vignettes from Tokyo'.
The little orange Toyota hatchback lurched to an abrupt stop in the driveway of Makoto's country house, sending a cloud of dust swirling into the air.
"That's really strange" Minako said, switching off the tired, wheezing engine while beside her Makoto breathed a sigh of relief at having survived yet another of her friend's frantic drives to Nerima. "The boys aren't here yet. I wonder what's keeping them?"
"They have a key, Minako-chan. Maybe they're waiting for us inside." The tall brunette climbed from the passenger seat and strode up the front step, grateful to be on solid ground again instead of careening wildly down the road with her lead-footed blonde friend behind the wheel. She tried the door as Minako joined her. "It's locked. They must still be at their home."
"What are we waiting for, Mako-chan?" Minako urged. "Let's go get them!" The two girls returned to the car and a minute later they pulled into the empty driveway of the Ito residence. Minako bounded from the car and rang the front doorbell. It took a few seconds before Yuji appeared.
"Hi! Sorry we kept you waiting, ladies" he apologized before taking Makoto in his arms. "There's been a slight problem." He kissed the brunette he loved tenderly, having not seen her for an entire week.
"What kind of problem, Yuji-chan?" Minako asked. She had her answer a moment later as the love of her life appeared in the doorway, wobbling on a pair of crutches.
The blonde's eyes widened like saucers. "Taro-chan! You're hurt!"
Her seventeen year old boyfriend grinned sheepishly. "Hai, a little. Nothing to worry about though, Minako honey. Just a slight sprain I picked up in a volleyball game at school this morning. Nothing's broken." He propped himself against one of the wooden crutches while leaning forward to kiss her.
"What happened, Taro-chan?" Makoto asked. "Did you take a bad turn on the court?"
"Not exactly, Mako-chan. I collided with another player on my team while we were both trying to return a serve and twisted my ankle. The school nurse said it should be fine in a few days but she wanted me to use these for the weekend." He gestured at the crutches. "It's no big deal, we can still spend the weekend together." He laughed, "I just won't be running up and down the stairs too much."
Minako was furious. "What clumsy idiot did this to you? I'd like to find him and give him a piece of my mind!"
"Uh... you just did, Minako-chan" Yuji mumbled. "I'm the clumsy idiot you're looking for."
"Oh!" Minako's face turned as pink as her top. "Gomen, Yuji-chan! I didn't mean to call you names like that."
"Yes you did" Makoto scowled at her. "So watch it."
"It was just a freak accident, sweetheart" Taro explained. "We both jumped for the ball at the same time and my brother bumped into me. I landed funny and twisted my leg. It's nothing to worry about."
Makoto tittered, "Looks like your romantic weekend plans may have to take a back seat for a while, Minako-chan!"
Minako's expression instantly paled at the thought. "No way! I'll take care of you, my love. You'll be feeling much better in no time at all!" She ignored the groan from the nearby brunette and beamed brightly at her boyfriend. "Nurse Minako is now officially on the job!"
"Really?" Taro asked, noticing Makoto's silent grimace. "I don't want to be any bother."
"No bother at all, honey love! Let's get you back to Mako-chan's place where I can look after you properly."
"We really should say hello to the parents before we carry their boys away" Makoto pointed out.
"They aren't home, Mako-chan" Yuji said before fetching a small bag from the hallway. "They're shopping in town and taking in a movie after. They won't be back until late tonight. But mother and father said to say hello." He locked his house and the two couples slowly made their way toward the car.
"That looks so uncomfortable, honey love" Minako fretted. "Are you sure nothing else is damaged?"
"Nothing important, sweetheart" Taro grinned.
"Good!" Minako giggled back.
Makoto groaned again. "Even an injury can't slow you two down!"
"I hope not!" Minako said. "Mako-chan, you and Yuji can sit in the back, I want my Taro to be beside me. He'll have more room there too." She opened the passenger door and watched her boyfriend carefully begin easing himself into the left seat. She suddenly turned and scolded the brunette. "Why does your silly house have stairs anyway? It should be all on one floor."
"Sorry Minako-chan. Maybe you'd like to find some tools and remodel it for me sometime."
"It's too late for that now!" the blonde muttered. Still looking at her friend, she began swinging the door closed before Taro had gotten his sore leg fully inside.
"Mako-chan! Now look at what you made me do!" Minako yelled. "Taro honey, I'm so sorry! Are you ok?"
"I'm fine" the teen gasped. "Just pinched it a little." He dragged his leg inside and his girlfriend gingerly eased the door shut. With Makoto and Yuji scrunched in the cramped rear seat, Minako drove the two kilometers to their destination with surprising care.
"Minako-chan, I'm shocked!" the brunette teased from behind. "You're driving like a normal person for once. I never thought I'd see the day."
"I know we're going crazy slow but I don't want Taro's leg to get bumped or anything." At Makoto's old house she braked gently to a stop and leapt from the car, scurrying around to help her boyfriend climb out. Taro stood on one foot, leaning against the door for support, and stooped to retrieve his crutches from the front seat.
"Let me get them for you, Taro-chan" his girlfriend insisted. She squeezed past him and grabbed one of the crutches. It was hung up between the seats and she impatiently yanked it out, whacking him in the head with the padded end of it.
"Gomen! I'm just so clumsy today!" Minako groaned. "I'll be more careful from now on."
Makoto and Yuji lifted the two small overnight bags from the trunk. "Nice move, Minako-chan. Trying to give your Taro a concussion too? A sore ankle isn't bad enough?"
"Quiet... Rei-chan!" Minako hissed. "That's just like something she would say!"
Makoto ignored the intended insult. "Minna, let's go inside before anything else bad happens."
. . . . .
Having seated himself comfortably on the sofa, Taro relaxed and propped his injured limb on a cushion atop the coffee table. He smiled embarrassingly at his girl. "I really feel awful about this, Minako honey. I know it isn't the kind of weekend we had planned."
"We're together and that's all that matters, honey love" the blonde replied brightly. "Besides, the weekend is just starting. We have lots of time for... other things later." Minako peered at the wrap fastened around the bottom of his leg. "How long do you have to wear that thing?"
"Just a few days. I'm also supposed to put an ice pack on the sprain every now and then to keep the swelling down."
"Too bad Ami isn't here today" Makoto thought aloud. "Her mother's a doctor and she knows a lot about this medical stuff too."
"Ami and Ryo aren't coming out for the weekend?" Yuji asked.
"Not this one, honey. They have cram school tomorrow and Sunday."
"Hai, more stupid school!" Minako scoffed. "Well, at least they're doing one of their two favorite things together."
"What's the other one?" Yuji asked innocently. His girlfriend gave him a knowing look. "Oh! I should have guessed, Mako-chan!" he laughed.
"We don't need Ami or any silly doctors!" Minako insisted. "Not when you have me here to look after you!" She asked her brunette friend, "Mako-chan, is there any ice in your refrigerator?"
"There may be a little we can wrap in a towel. I'll go check." She began to stand but Minako waved her down.
"Let me handle this. You just sit right there with your Yuji-love and I'll take care of everything!" She sprang from the sofa and bolted away to the kitchen in a shot.
"I think my sweet Minako is too concerned about me" Taro chuckled as he slid the compression bandage up his leg to expose the damaged area. "I'm not exactly on death's door!"
"Not yet" the brunette warned with a straight face. "But then again, she's just getting started."
Minako's excited voice carried from the other room. "Found some ice! There's a tray of cubes in here, but they're all stuck together. I"ll get them loose and be right back, Taro-love!"
"I really appreciate it sweetheart" the boy answered. "You're spoiling me!"
"That's what soul mates do, honey!" came her second reply. "Now how do I get these silly things out of the tray?"
Yuji asked, "What about Usagi and Rei, Mako-chan? Are they and their boyfriends joining us-" His question was interrupted by a series of loud, sharp bangs and a clattering noise from the kitchen.
Makoto glared down the short hallway with a worried frown. "What on earth are you doing in there? Don't break anything!"
"Too late!" came the giggling answer. "I got the ice out but cracked the tray when I hit it against the sink."
"Wonderful" the brunette groaned. "And we've only been here twenty minutes."
Minako soon came scurrying back with the ice wrapped in a dish cloth. "This is just what the doctor ordered! Oops, I mean the nurse! That's me!" She squeezed herself around the coffee table and held out the ice. "Where do you want me to hold this, Taro-chan?" As she spoke, one end of the cloth slipped from her fingers and the ice spilled out, dropping into Taro's lap.
"Not there!" Makoto snorted.
"How did that happen?" the blonde gasped. She quickly gathered up the wayward cubes and gently pressed the cloth against the bruise. "Better, honey?"
"Much better" Taro said with a smile. "Arigatou, my beautiful nurse. You're the best." Minako beamed happily at him.
"Rei and Yuuichirou are stuck working at the shrine all weekend so we won't be seeing them" Makoto told her boyfriend. "And Mamoru is very busy at his university so I guess Usagi won't be here either. It's just us four, Yuji honey."
"Isn't that nice?" Minako sighed happily. "It's so much more romantic when the house isn't so crowded." She batted her eyelids seductively at her guy. "I missed you so much" she sighed.
"Crowds have never seemed to bother you before, Minako-chan" Makoto teased. "And give your boy a break, he's hurting."
Taro grinned, "Not that much!"
"You two really are unbelievable!" the brunette girl laughed, shaking her head.
Minako giggled, "We are, aren't we?"