I hopped off the train, struggling to pull my suitcase off it with me. The station was packed full of people but I could quite clearly see that messy mop of blue hair that I was looking for.
"Tomoya!" I yelled above the crowd
"Sunohara, good to see you." Tomoya lead me out to his car and we began the short drive back to his and Nagisa's home. The two of them had moved in to Nagisa's parent's bakery after they left it to them to go travelling. Ever since we all finished school it's like they sped ahead in life and left the rest of us in their dust. They had a baby, a new home and a bakery to run. Although I have to admit, I was not jealous. My life wasn't exactly going anywhere fast but I was okay for the time being.
"So how's the job going, man?" Tomoya asked
"It wasn't for me"
"Wait, so you quit?"
"Yeah, but don't worry. I'll find something else" I smiled because I really did believe that something else would come along for me
"You're not still thinking about modelling are you?" Tomoya looked at me skeptically
"I can't help it if I've got the looks, man" We both chuckled and I realised how much I had missed this guy.
"So are you excited about spending sometime with the little lady?" Tomoya asked as we slowed to a stop. It was 5pm which meant most people were on their way home from work, so it wasn't surprising that we got stuck in traffic.
"Yeah, of course. But I'm kind of nervous, I've never spent so much time with her alone before"
"Don't worry about it, she loves you" Tomoya smiled at me
"Really?" I beamed. The traffic began to disappear and we were soon parking the car and pulling my suitcase up the lane towards the bakery. Then I saw her, for the first time in quite a while. her hair was pulled back and tied with a bow and she stood smiling and waving at me. She was so cute and I couldn't wait to hold her in my arms. I had no idea how much this girl would impact my life.
"Uncle Youhei!" She ran towards me ,giggling, with her arms spread wide
"There she is!" I grabbed her waist and swung her high into the air before bringing her down for a quick cuddle. "How is my favorite niece doing, eh?" I held her in one arm and pulled my suitcase inside with the other
"I'm good! How are you?" She tapped me on the nose. When she was younger I used to tap her on the nose to make her laugh and she loved it so much that it quickly became our thing.
"All the better for seeing you, my sweet" I sat her down on the counter and turned to Tomoya "So where's Nagisa?"
"She was just doing a checklist when I left so she should be down soon. Ushio, why don't you show Uncle Youhei where Mummy and Daddy are going?" He lifted her down and she ran from the room
"She's sure is growing up fast, isn't she? Are you sure you trust me with her?" I smiled anxiously
"Of course, you're my closest friend. Plus, we asked her who she wanted to look after her while we were gone and it was you she requested" Tomoya put a hand on my shoulder and grinned
"She did?" I felt so flattered. I had always had a great relationship with Ushio, so much so that she called me Uncle Youhei once and from the then on it stuck. I was and always will be Unchle Youhei.
"Look! Mummy and Daddy will be here!" Ushio tugged on my coat and held out a postcard for me to look at. On the front of the postcard was a beach scene full of tall palm trees and big yachts in the water.
"Tell Uncle Youhei where that is, Ushio" Tomoya picked up his daughter and held her close. He was obviously going to miss her very much.
"Greece! Daddy and Mummy are going to Greece to see Akki and Sanai!" Ushio beamed and then wrapped her arms round her Daddy's neck and held him tight. It was strange seeing Tomoya as a father, even after all these years, but it looked right. The role of a father fit him perfectly.
"Sunohara!" Nagisa's voice came from no where and I suddenly felt her arms around me.
"Nagisa, so nice to see you again!" I began to hug her back.
The four of us stood and chatted for a while but it was soon time for Tomoya and Nagisa to leave.
"Okay, I left all the numbers you made need stuck on the fridge and I don't want to be too strict but Ushio musn't go to bed any later than 7:30 and school has finished for the summer so you don't need to worry about that. Oh, and not too much television and Sunohara make sure you both eat properly and not just get takeouts each night, okay? Oh yeah, and-"
"Tomoya, are you done?" Nagisa interrupted with a giggle
"Um, Yes. I think so" He smiled, almost looking embarrassed
"Don't worry so much, Tomoya. Uncle Youhei will do a great job. Isn't that right, Ushio?" Nagisa knelt down and hugged her daughter tight, before kissing her gently on the head and standing again to say goodbye to me. Tomoya did the same and Ushio and I watched as her mummy and daddy got in the car and began to drive away. We stood in the doorway for a moment, silent and just staring. Suddenly I felt Ushio's little warm hand in mine and I couldn't help but squeeze it.
"Are you okay?" I asked her
"I'm okay, I have my Uncle Youhei" She grinned and pulled me inside. This was going to be a very interesting month and I had no idea how much it would change my life.