The Road We Are On··On-going Novl duration N/A
The Road We Are On
The Road We Are On
“Ha-chan... Kenya... It’s raining... LOOK OUT... KENYAAAAAAAA!” Oshitari Aya jolted from her sleep breathing heavily, covered in sweat. She lifted her trembling hands and held her head. Why? Why did this have to happen? She kept thinking agitated by the nightmare she just woke up from.
She got off her bed and walked to the bathroom. She looked at her reflection on the mirror and frowned. Quickly she took her pajama off and stepped in the shower. She opened the cold water and placed her hands on the wall in front of her. She lowered her head and left the icy water run down her cold body.
It had been two years since the accident that changed her life completely, but she could never forget, she could never walk away from the past. For two years she had been living like a shadow, just existing in the world with the memories of her past. She had been a talented artist and had a bright future. She had been happily married and had a beautiful son. It seems like a lifetime ago; she thought sadly, still standing in the shower, letting the water run down her body washing her despair away.
“Where are you taking me Kenya?” Aya giggled hugging Oshitari Kenya’s arm tightly.
“You’ll see,” Kenya smiled tenderly looking at his girlfriend.
They walked through the park’s small lanes until they reached the pond in the center of it.
“Why did we stop?” Aya asked curiously looking around the well-lit pond.
“Can you see what’s on the other side?” he asked smiling.
Aya followed his line of vision and saw a single table on the side of the pond. She also spotted two people standing by another table a little further.
Kenya took her hand in his and pulled her gently to follow him. Walking towards the other side of the pond, Aya heard a sweet melody filling the air. It was a single violin; she felt her heart beating fast and glanced at her boyfriend who was walking smiling brightly.
They reached their destination and Aya stopped to admire the beautiful decoration.
“Do you like what you see?” he whispered in her ear. Aya shivered at the feel of his hot breath and nodded.
Aya turned the water off and walked out of the shower. She took a towel and covered her body. She opened the door and looked at the clock on the wall. The time was 07:20 am. She closed the door and dried her hair with another towel. After she dried her hair she placed the towel on a hanger to dry and she looked at the mirror again.
“Will you marry me?” Kenya whispered in her ear while they danced to the sweet music under the moonlight.
“What?” Aya asked surprised looking at his face for a sign of mockery, thinking she heard him wrong.
Kenya chuckled and hugged her tighter. He leaned his head next to her ear and placed a kiss at her neck before whispering again, “Will you marry me?”
Tears started running down her cheeks. “Kenya,” she whispered lifting her hands to wipe them away but another memory made her cry more.
Aya was standing beside Kenya in a small church. There were a few people invited; they never wanted something grand, just their family and closest friends. The priest was performing the ceremony and Kenya leaned his head towards her.
“I will love you forever, you and no other.”
She managed to dry her tears and walked in her bedroom to get dressed in something comfortable. She looked at the photo on her bed-table and picked it up. It was a photo of her and Oshitari Kenya on their honeymoon.
“I want to grow old with you,” he had said to her.
She grasped the frame harder. “You didn’t keep that promise, did you Kenya?” she said aloud; she opened the drawer of the table and placed the photo inside. She glanced at it once more and closed the drawer.
Before she could think or do something the doorbell startled her, and she rushed to open the door.
“Yuu... Yuushi? What are you doing here?” Aya said surprised to see Oshitari Yuushi at her doorstep so early in the morning.
“I came to see you,” he replied smiling.
“At this time?” Aya inquired looking at him suspiciously. She didn’t trust his smiling face at the moment. She moved to the side and gestured for him to enter her apartment.
“Its eight thirty Aya,” he said walking towards the kitchen, being familiar with the house. He made himself some tea and sat on a chair at the kitchen table.
“It’s rare for you to visit at this hour,” Aya said as she poured a cup of tea for herself and sat across Oshitari.
“I came to Oosaka for a meeting with one of our branches. It’s at twelve, so, I thought I’d come to see how you are doing?” he reasoned sipping his tea studying her carefully.
Aya didn’t say anything; she just went to the fridge and brought some chocolate cake for her guest. She sat back in her chair and smiled at him.
“Aya, are you feeling alright?” he asked concerned.
She looked at him straight in the eyes; wondering why he would asker something like that. She was sure she was looking better than a couple of hours ago.
10th October... Rain was pouring... Sounds of sirens... 2 people dead in a car accident... 2 people injured... 10th October... 2 years ago...
Today is the anniversary of that day; she thought realizing what Oshitari Yuushi meant with his question. “I am fine,” she answered forcing a smile.
“I came to offer you a job,” Oshitari said changing the subject of discussion. He knew she was faking that smile. He took off his spectacles and rubbed the bridge of his nose. “It’s a job at the company I work for.” He ate a piece of cake.
Aya was looking at him with no expression on her face. Oshitari kept ranting about the job offer for another half hour before Aya asked him the question that had been on her mind all along.
“Is this job here in Oosaka or are you referring at the company in Tokyo?”
Oshitari looked at her and smirked, she always had the ability to read through him like an open book. “In Tokyo,” he answered firmly.
“Thanks for the offer but I will decline,” she said getting up from the table and taking both cups with her over to the sink to wash them. “My life is here Yuushi and I won’t leave.”
Oshitari got up from his chair and walked over to the sink. “Aya, you need to move on. Come to Tokyo. It will be a fresh start for you,” he pleaded leaning on the wall looking at her.
Aya stopped what she was doing and placed her hands on the edge of the sink; she lowered her head and breathed deeply. “Yuushi, I am alright. You don’t need to worry about me. I am fine.” she turned her head and looked at him, “I don’t want to leave my home.”
He looked at his watch and straightened his body. “I have to leave. Let’s go out for dinner tonight and we can talk about this then.” He kissed her on the cheek and took his jacket from the chair he had hang it. “Think about my offer. See you later.” He left the kitchen and saw himself out of the apartment.
Oshitari stood outside the closed door; she is still in denial, damn it; he thought walking to the elevator, it’s been two years already.
A few hours later
Aya walked through the graveyard holding flowers in her hands; she reached the top level and stopped at the second row in front of two graves. She placed the flowers on the ground next to her and started cleaning the graves. After she finished cleaning up she placed a few flowers on one grave and the rest on the other. She sat down on the ground looking at the cold stones silently.
“Kenya...? Kenya...? Where are you?” Aya shouted running inside their apartment leaving the front door wide open.
Kenya walked out of the kitchen and looked at his wife curiously. “What happened? Why are you yelling?” he inquired looking at Aya jumping up and down in joy. “Did you win the Jackpot?” he teased her.
Aya jumped into his arms and kissed him excitedly. “I am pregnant,” she squealed happily.
Kenya froze when he heard what she told him. He looked at her with eyes wide in surprise. “Did you just say...” he trailed off.
She nodded cheerfully and kissed him again. “You are going to be a father,” she whispered and laughed.
Silence; A deafening silence surrounded the whole place.
Aya sat there, in front of his grave and left the memories take her away on a journey to the past. “Kenya,” she whispered.
Aya opened her eyes slowly feeling someone caressing her hair gently. She closed her eyes again and turned her head tiredly to look at the person who was with her. She opened her eyes and saw Oshitari Kenya looking at her, grinning widely. His hand was caressing her hair tenderly.
When he saw Aya open her eyes he leaned and kissed her forehead softly. “We have a son,” he whispered and kissed her nose lovingly.
“A son?” Aya asked as excited as possible in her condition.
Kenya nodded and pulled away from her. “I will go tell the nurse to bring him,” he said as he opened the door.
“Wait!” she shouted and tried to move. Kenya ran to her and helped her sit in a more comfortable position. “Did you see him?” she asked her husband.
“No. I was waiting for you to wake up.” He scratched the back of his head sheepishly.
“I love you Kenya.”
I love you Kenya; she thought and fought back the tears that threatened to spill out of her eyes. She knew she couldn’t keep her tears from falling but she had to try, she wanted to be strong.
The nurse brought the cot with the baby inside the room. Both Aya and Kenya looked at the little baby sleeping soundly in the small cot and smiled. The nurse picked him up slowly and placed him in Aya’s arms.
She looked at her baby boy and started crying. She could never believe that she would be so happy.
“He is so beautiful,” Kenya said caressing the baby’s cheek with his finger.
Aya looked at him and nodded. “What should his name be?” She asked hiccupping.
Kenya laughed and kissed her cheek tenderly. “Let me think,” he said looking at his son. “Jin.”
“No. He doesn’t look like a Jin to me,” she said thoughtfully.
“What do you mean ‘doesn’t look like a Jin’? It’s just a name.” Kenya teased his wife laughing loudly.
The baby stirred and Aya rocked him in her arms. “I think we should call him Hayato,” she whispered.
Kenya just smiled and nodded.
“Hayato,” whispered Aya and covered her crying face with her hands as she wept in silence.
“How long have you been here?”
Aya froze hearing the deep voice of Oshitari Yuushi behind her. She got up and stretched her feet. They felt numb after sitting on the ground for so many hours.
She wiped her tears away and looked at the man that spoke to her.
“It’s cold. How long have you been sitting here Aya?” Oshitari repeated his question looking at her concerned. “I thought you said you were alright. Is this your notion of being ‘alright’?” he scolded.
“I miss them Yuushi. I miss them every day, every hour, every minute. I have a void in my heart,” she shouted back at him. She hugged herself and started crying again.
Oshitari walked closer to her and hugged her. His eyes looked down to the two graves. He blinked the tears away; he had to be strong for Aya. He missed his cousin; they had shared so many memories; there was never a time in Yuushi’s life that Kenya was never included, even though they lived in different cities.
“Yuushi, I want to propose to Aya,” Kenya said excitedly.
“How come?” Oshitari asked surprised, closing the book he was reading before his cousin burst in the room.
“What do you mean ‘How come’? She has been my girlfriend since Junior High school. I want to marry her,” he responded to his cousin’s absurd question looking at him seriously.
“Congratulations then. Why are you telling me?” Oshitari asked with a smirk.
Kenya rolled his eyes; “I want you to play the violin on our special date. I have this whole set planned and I want to have live music. I know she likes the violin,” Kenya said in one breath.
Oshitari looked at him stunned. “You want me to play the violin?” he asked and immediately shook his head. “It’s out of the question.”
“Yuushi, if you don’t help me out, I will tell your girlfriend how much of a pervert you are.” Kenya threatened smiling devilishly.
Oshitari smiled at that memory and hugged Aya tighter because she was still crying. He felt so pathetic; he was unable to help her move on with her life after the accident. Kenya’s parents didn’t want to see her anymore, because they blamed her for their son’s death.
His eyes moved to the grave next to his cousin’s. Both father and son were killed that fateful rainy night; a truck had past a red light and hit them with full force on the driver’s side. Both of them died instantly; Aya was injured and was hospitalized for 7 months.
“Oshitari-san congratulations. You are the father of a beautiful little boy,” the doctor said shaking Oshitari Kenya’s hand smiling brightly.
“A boy?” he asked absent-mindedly. He felt a surge of pain on his shoulder and he looked at the man standing beside him who was grinning like a small child.
“Cheeky devil. You have a son. Congratulations,” Oshitari Yuushi said and slapped his cousin on the shoulder again.
“A boy.” Kenya repeated and hugged his cousin tightly.
Everybody in the waiting room wished him ‘congratulations’ and he was crying like a baby out of happiness. Because the baby was coming out the wrong way they had to perform an operation to deliver him to the world.
“So, what are you going to name him?” Oshitari asked Kenya when he finally pulled him away from the joyous crowd.
“I will let Aya chose, although I know she will ask me for a name,” he laughed happily. “Yuushi, I have a son.”
Oshitari felt a tug at his heart remembering how happy they both were when they held Hayato. Life is so unfair; he thought and averted his eyes from the sight of both graves. “Aya, let’s go,” he said and pulled away from her; he looked at her and wiped her tears. He took her hand and they walked away.
“You know, I think Kenya wouldn’t like to see you cry like this,” Oshitari said softly opening the door to his car for Aya.
“Yuushi, if my husband and son where here with me I wouldn’t be crying,” she answered back with a hoarse voice.
Oshitari looked at her with no expression on his face. “Enough Aya,” he responded annoyed, “It’s been two years since they died, get over it already.” He looked at her straight in the eyes. “You should live your life for their sake too.”
Aya’s eyes widened at Oshitari’s outburst; she knew what he said to her was true but the feeling of emptiness drowned her sanity day by day. She sat in the seat of the passenger without saying a thing. Oshitari sighed closing the door and got in the car too.
They drove in silence to a small, secluded restaurant. Oshitari wanted to talk to her about moving on and bringing her to Tokyo with him; he wanted to be at a quiet place when they had this conversation. This will be a challenge; he sighed inwardly.
Aya looked at the small restaurant as she got out of the car. The sun had set a long time ago and the night was cold, she hugged herself tightly and followed Oshitari in the restaurant. They sat at a table close to an old looking heater so she wouldn’t feel cold.
After ordering their food, silence fell upon them once again. Oshitari sipped from his glass of water and kept thinking how to best approach the subject of moving to Tokyo.
“Yuushi,” Aya said looking at her hands that where folded on her lap. “I know you are worried about me. I don’t think I have the strength to move to a new city; I am sorry,” she whispered the last phrase.
“Aya, you can come and live with me and Hitomi. You know how much she likes you.” He poured some water in her glass. “Drink some water your throat is sore.”
Shedid as she was told and thanked Oshitari for his observance; her throat was in pain from all the crying but she didn’t feel it until she drank the water. “Thank you Yuushi,” she said softly.
“You are welcome. Now, I am here not only for my meetings as I told you but also to take you with me,” he said seriously and crossed his arms. Aya jerked her head up and looked at him surprised. “Your parents called me and asked me to come talk to you. They are worried about you.” He reasoned.
“My parents?” she asked surprised not believing what she was hearing.
Oshitari nodded. “I don’t want to argue with you but you will come to Tokyo with me. It’s about time you get back into the game of life and stop being just a mere existence.”
“Yuushi!” Aya gasped. “I can’t just walk away,” she argued back. “My life is here.”
“You call this a life?” he asked her sarcastically. “I had enough of this silly behavior of yours. We will be leaving for Tokyo in three days time,” he said almost glaring at her.
Two days later
Aya was sitting on the couch in her living room and was holding a frame in her hands. She had been cleaning the house out so she could send her things to her new destination. Tokyo, she thought tightening her hold on the photo frame she was holding.
The phone rang and startled her out of her thoughts. She placed the frame in one of the many boxes in front of her and reached out to answer the phone. “Hello? Oshitari,” she said softly.
“Hey stranger.” Came the reply of a man’s voice.
“Shiraishi!” Aya smiled, “Where have you been?” she asked picking up her cup of tea with her other hand.
“I was in Tokyo. I was offered a job there,” Shiraishi Kuranosuke said through the phone. “I am contemplating on my answer.”
“Because I don’t want to leave you alone,” he said with a tender tone in his voice.
Aya smiled warmly and placed the cup back on the table. “You don’t need to worry. Yuushi is here and he is forcing me to move to Tokyo.” She got up from the couch and stretched her body lightly. “Please take the job. It would be nice to have a friend to talk too,” she reasoned pacing up and down the room placing things into the open boxes.
“Well, if you put it that way, I will take the job,” he chuckled. “When are you leaving?”
“So soon?” he asked worriedly. “Why is Oshitari taking you in such a rush?”
Aya walked towards the window and pulled the curtain lightly and gazed at the cloudy sky. “I guess he is worried about me,” she muttered calmly.
“I am worried about you too,” Shiraishi responded immediately. “What about your things? Should I come and help you with the packing?” he asked concerned.
“Thanks, but I am almost done,” she said quickly moving away from the window. “Besides I am not taking a lot of things. Just the basic,” she finished sitting back on the couch. “Clothes, some accessories and anything I might need.”
“What about Kenya’s things?” Shiraishi asked softly.
Aya looked at the frame she had left in the box previously. “I will… I will burn them,” she said sadly.
“Aya, just because you decided to move on in life that doesn’t mean you should throw away your past,” Shiraishi said with a hint of sadness in his voice. “I will come over in an hour and take Kenya’s things.”
“Shiraishi…” she began but was cut off.
“I’ll be there in an hour,” he interrupted her, “See you later.” He hung up.
Aya looked at the phone and then closed it placing it on the table. She needed to finish packing soon. Oshitari was firm on his decision to take her with him to Tokyo. What am I supposed to do there?, she thought exhausted from all the work she had been doing. She stretched her body tiredly and looked at the clock on the wall. I have time to have a shower before Shiraishi comes.
She left the boxes open on the floor and walked to her bedroom. She took a clean set of pajamas and a towel and went to the bathroom.
Next day at Oshitari Yuushi’s apartment in Tokyo
Oshitari opened the door to his apartment and walked in holding two luggage’s; two arms and a very tight hug greeted Aya who closed the door behind her as she entered after him.
“Welcome,” said a chirpy voice.
Aya gasped at the sadden hug but smiled after a few seconds. “Thanks Hitomi,” she said sweetly and returned the hug.
“I can’t believe that he persuaded you to come and live here,” Hitomi said excited.
“I didn’t have much of a choice,” Aya muttered; Oshitari half glared at her and chuckled when she pulled her tongue out in tease.
Hitomi pulled Aya by the hand and went to the kitchen. “I am so happy you are here,” she said leaving her hand. “Sit and keep me company. Yuushi was worried about you a lot.”
“Thank you for the warm welcome. I can’t believe I haven’t been here in two years.” She looked around the spacious kitchen and smiled at Hitomi when their eyes met.
“How have you been Aya? I should be mad at you. You totally forgot about everyone,” Hitomi complained as she busied herself with the dishes.
“Sorry Tomi-chan, but I kind of lost myself too.” Aya squeezed out a smile. “I guess you will get bored of me now!”
Hitomi giggled forgetting the list of complaints on her mind. “I could never get bored of you,” she said with a loving smile.
Oshitari entered and walked to the fridge. “Aya, do you want to drink something?” he asked as he took out a bottle of water.
“No thanks, I am fine Yuushi.”
He turned his attention to his girlfriend. “Is her room ready?” he asked.
“Yes. Why don’t you show her around and to her room until I finish cooking?” Hitomi said wiping her hands and shooed them out of the kitchen.
Aya followed Oshitari to her room silently. She looked at him from behind while he was walking in front carrying her luggage. It’s now or never Aya; u have to tell him, she thought and stopped when Oshitari stopped too.
“This will be your room. It’s big and has its own bathroom.” He opened the door and they both entered.
The room was spacious enough with a big double bed and a wall closet. The walls were painted in a pale pink color and all furniture were made of dark red wood. Aya looked around delighted, it’s a very beautiful room, she thought. Her gaze fell upon a photo frame and she walked to it unconsciously. She picked it up and looked at it with a sad expression on her face.
Oshitari left the luggage near the closet and looked at Aya, he saw her holding a frame and was about to cry. He walked up to her and took the frame from her hands. “This was left here by mistake. Why don’t you have a warm shower and start unpacking before dinner?” he turned to leave but Aya caught his wrist.
“Yuushi…” she trailed off not knowing how to tell him what was on her mind.
Oshitari turned slightly and looked at her curiously.
She finally decided to tell him and took a deep breath. “I will not be staying here for long. I will look for an apartment. Shiraishi will be living here in Tokyo too, so I will share an apartment with him. Please don’t argue with me on this Yuushi. I hate imposing on people,” she said in one breath and waited for Oshitari’s outburst but it never came.
Oshitari chuckled when he heard her small monologue. “I have no objection if you want to live alone Aya. As long as someone is with you I am okay. And I know Shiraishi will take good care of you.” He pulled his hand softly away from hers and fixed his glasses. “I will help you look for an apartment. Now excuse me, I will go help Tomi-chan with the preparations.” He walked to the door. “I forgot to tell you that my good friend Atobe will be here for dinner too. He is the boss!” he chuckled and left the room.
As he closed the door behind him, he lifted the hand that held onto the frame he took away from Aya. He looked at it and frowned. In the photo were four people posing, a bride, a groom and another couple. It was a photo taken at Kenya’s wedding.
At the Shin-Oosaka station
“Thanks for helping me out Yuushi,” Kenya said happily hugging Oshitari tightly.
Oshitari smirked and pulled away. “You didn’t give me much of a choice, did you?” he fixed his glasses and picked his luggage. “You could at least pay for the tickets since you had me come all the way here.”
Kenya laughed and placed his hand on Oshitari’s shoulder. “I want you to be my best-man,” he grinned.
Oshitari was about to shrug his cousin’s hand off but stopped. He turned and looked at him surprised. “Me?” he asked puzzled. “I thought you would ask Shiraishi.”
Kenya smiled. “You are the only one I can trust around Aya.”
“What are you doing standing there Yuushi?” Hitomi asked with her hands on her hips. “Don’t disturb Aya.”
Oshitari looked at his girlfriend and showed her the frame he was holding. “What were you thinking leaving this in her room?” he inquired ignoring her comment.
“It’s a nice photo. I thought she would like to have it.” She defended herself and snatched the frame away.
“She will be staying only for a short while with us, so let’s try not to depress her very much,” Oshitari said and walked past Hitomi to go to his study.
Aya was in the bathtub relaxing in the hot water, thinking about everything that happened in her life up to now. I feel like a child that is taking its first steps, she sighed. Her gaze was fixed on a spot on the opposite wall as she remembered the conversation she had with Shiraishi last night when he helped her pack the last few boxes.
“I really don’t understand why you want to burn Kenya’s things?” Shiraishi said annoyed placing his cup of coffee on the table and crossed his arms.
Aya lowered her head. “I am moving away Shiraishi. I will start from fresh,” she answered softly.
Shiraishi uncrossed his hands and ruffled his hair to let the frustration out. “Aya, just because you decided to make a new start it doesn’t mean you should erase your past. Think about the good times you had with him,” he pleaded and frowned when he saw no reaction from her.
Aya said nothing in response, she kept her head low and contemplated on the things Shiraishi was telling her. She wanted to be able to think of Kenya without crying or feeling like she had no place in the world anymore but she could not do so.
“Maybe when you settle down in Tokyo, you could go she a psychologist,” Shiraishi said and broke Aya’s train of thoughts.
She looked up at him and anger flashed in her eyes. “I am not crazy,” she shouted irritated.
Shiraishi sighed and scratched the back of his head looking at her carefully. “I know you are not crazy Aya, but you need help to get over your sorrowful emotions. Someone you can confide in, about all your thoughts and feelings.” He kept his gaze on her, “Obviously you can’t confide in me or Oshitari because you think that we might argue with what you’ll tell us. That’s why it should be someone that didn’t know Kenya. Someone, who would be your bridge to the world.” He finished sipping his coffee.
“Someone that can help,” she whispered softly and sunk her head in the water.
She held her breath for a while and then emerged from the water again. She lifted her hands and pulled back the strands of hair that had stuck on her face. She opened her eyes and leaned back.
She turned her head sideways when she heard a small knock on the door. “I am in the tub,” she shouted to be heard.
The door opened slowly and Hitomi’s head popped through it. “Sorry to disturb you sweetie, but I thought you might want some company.” She smiled sweetly and sat on a small stool.
Aya laughed and nodded. “Sure, I just hope Yuushi doesn’t go insane thinking about us in the bathroom.” They both laughed.
Hitomi held her tummy from all the laughter. “Seriously, I don’t know how I tolerate him,” she said between laughs. After they finished with the laughing spree, she looked at Aya carefully. “Why don’t you want to stay with us?” she asked.
Aya turned her head and looked at her surprised that she knew she wanted to live alone. “I didn’t know he told you already,” she said and moved forward to scrub her upper body with some soap.
“He did.” Hitomi moved and sat on the tub behind Aya. She took the sponge from her hands and scrubbed her back gently.
Aya said nothing more; she hugged her knees and let her mind drift into one of the memories she shared with her beloved late husband.
“Move forward, let me wash your back,” Aya said laughing.
Kenya did as he was told and leaned forward. They were both in the big bathtub of his parent’s house. They were living there until they could get married and move in their own home. He was sitting in between Aya’s feet. “I could get use to this,” he said with a smirk.
Aya laughed. “You better make sure our home has a big tub if you want me to wash your back like this.” She placed a kiss on his neck and hugged him from behind pulling him closer in her arms.
She circled her legs around his waist and caressed the skin on his bare chest. “You have a small waist,” she whispered in his ear.
Kenya smiled at the tingling sensation of her breath on his wet skin. “No, you have long, beautiful legs.” He laughed. “Don’t let Yuushi know that,” he said in tease.
Aya leaned her head on her knees and laughed.
“Is something funny?” Hitomi asked looking at her with a warm smile.
“Umm… No, not really! I just remembered something,” she answered sincerely. She didn’t want to discuss anything about Kenya, she had decided to move on; more like Yuushi threatened me to move on, she thought with a chuckle.
“Tomi-chan, I am ready with my bath,” Aya said softly with a small smile. “I will come help you in the kitchen when I’m done getting dressed.”
Hitomi nodded and got up wincing from the sudden pain she felt on her knees. Aya laughed at her grimace and soon she joined her in laughter.
“See you later, sweetie,” she said and walked out of the bathroom, leaving Aya alone to finish up with her bath.
Fifteen minutes later Aya made her appearance in the Kitchen and stumbled upon Oshitari and Hitomi kissing.
“Oooh! I am sorry,” she said and turned to leave.
Both Oshitari and Hitomi moved away from each other. “No… Aya, we’re sorry,” Hitomi said as she lifted her hands to cover her blushed face.
Oshitari moved his hand through his hair and smiled as if nothing happened. “Well, I am going to watch some television. I will let you ladies handle the kitchen.” He patted Aya’s head as he walked out of the room.
Aya walked towards the table and sat on a chair. She was feeling embarrassed to walk in on such an intimate moment between her two friends. That wouldn’t happen if I wasn’t here, she thought sighing inwardly.
“Aya, could you cut the cabbage for the salad, please.”
“Sure,” she responded mechanically and got up to walk to the counter. “Tomi-chan, what is this Atobe guy like?” she asked while she was chopping the vegetables.
“You know him, but I guess it’s been a long time since you two met,” she answered as she busied herself on the stove. “I think it’s been almost fourteen years.” She turned and looked at Aya with a smile. “It’s been too long for you to remember him.”
Aya smiled at that. “I guess he didn’t leave an impression on me so I would remember him,” she commented as she poured a bit of oil on the salad.
“You two went on a date.” Hitomi pointed out.
Aya was shocked hearing the fact that she had dated her ‘soon to be’ boss. “What do you mean we dated? I only came to Tokyo during the time my school had qualified for the Nationals,” she replied in defense.
Hitomi laughed. “You weren’t dating Kenya yet by that time if I remember correct,” she said still laughing at Aya’s shocked expression. “I am surprised you forgot about him. He is not an easy person to forget, and given your history with him, I am really surprised.”
“Hitomi!” Aya shouted annoyed. “Stop mumbling. I honestly can’t remember,” she said in a lower voice trying to think of the man she once knew but no longer could remember. “Tell me something about him or at least what happened with him,” she asked after a few minutes.
“Well, you two weren’t on the best of terms. Atobe is the total opposite of you. He is flashy, arrogant, self-centered with a huge ego tackling along. All in all he is a Diva. That’s why I am surprised you don’t remember him,” Hitomi said as she washed her hands. “Thank goodness everything is ready.” She moved a strand of hair from her face and smile sweetly at Aya, who was still trying hard to remember Atobe. “Don’t worry Aya; everything will come back to you once you see him.”
“Yeah. I guess you are right,” she replied as the doorbell rang. “I think our guest of honor is here,” she laughed and walked in the living room alongside Hitomi.
Oshitari opened the door and greeted his long time best friend Atobe Keigo. “You are late. Got caught up under some woman’s dress again?” he joked.
“Hmm, your jokes keep getting colder and colder Yuushi.” Atobe walked in the apartment leaving Oshitari standing by the door. “I presume you got the wine I like, right Yuushi?” he asked walking with Oshitari to the living room.
“Of course,” was Oshitari’s only reply.
“Hi Keigo.” Hitomi greeted sweetly. “This is Oshitari Aya.” She pushed Aya forward a bit. “Aya this is Atobe Keigo.”
“Nice to meet you,” Aya said bowing lightly. Why the hell is he looking at me like that, she thought aggravated.
Atobe looked at Aya from head to bottom and then smirked. “You look even prettier than I remember,” he answered and moved to sit on one of the armchairs near the fireplace. “It will be interesting working with you.”
In any other case every woman would be flattered by the comments Atobe made, but Aya was furious; her eyebrow twitched when he said his last phrase. Who does he think he is? He is such… but stopped her thoughts midway when everything he said popped into her mind again, ~ You look even prettier than I remember, it will be interesting working with you.~
“Oh!” Aya covered her mouth quickly. “Excuse me, I will be right back.” She left the room and went straight to her bedroom. I remember him now.
“Yuuuuushiiiii…” Aya jumped on Oshitari’s back and hugged him tight.
Oshitari gasped at the sudden attack, but smiled a few seconds later. “Aya, why are you jumping on me like a monkey, it’s not ladylike you know,” he said and detangled himself from her embrace. “Where is Kenya?” he asked straightening his uniform.
“He is with Shiraishi. Soooo, how are you doing? I haven’t seen you in a long time,” she said in one breath with a wide grin on her face.
“As you can see I am very well and you just spoiled my mood in asking Hitomi on a date,” he replied with a sly smile.
“That is what you always say, you idiot.” Hitomi retorted to Oshitari’s comments, even though he was not directly talking to her. “Hi, I am Sakamoto Hitomi. Nice to meet you,” she said to Aya bowing lightly.
Aya bowed too. “Nice to meet you too, I am Akanishi Aya. Are you and Yuushi friends?” she asked the other girl sweetly.
“Unfortunately, yes, we are classmates,” she replied and waved her hand off to shoo Oshitari away. “Are you relatives?”
Oshitari chuckled. “No, she is Kenya’s ‘want to be’ girlfriend.”
“Wha… WHAT?” Aya yelled embarrassed.
“Arn, what is all this noise?”
Oshitari looked behind him and then smirked. “Oh! It’s no one important. What do you want Atobe?” he pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose.
Aya was fuming upon hearing Oshitari’s response. Oh! I so want to hit him right now; she thought inwardly trying to calm herself.
Atobe looked at Aya from top to bottom with a scrutinizing look. “You are pretty enough for Ore-sama to date,” he said running his hand thru his hair.
Aya looked at him bewildered at his audacity while Hitomi and Oshitari where trying hard to hold their laughter back. “I beg your pardon?” she asked feeling the veins in her body boil.
Atobe smirked saying nothing more to the girl in front of him. He walked past her without so much as looking at her. “Oshitari, go warm up,” he said strictly.
Oshitari nodded. “Aya tell Kenya that I will meet him after my game,” he said walking away. “Atobe are you coming?”
“Go ahead Oshitari. Ore-sama wants to get acquainted with the pretty stranger,” he said smugly.
Aya gasped at his statement. “Are you some kind of retard calling yourself Ore-sama?” she asked Atobe with her hands on her hips. “Is he for real?” she asked Hitomi pointing at Atobe’s direction with her hand.
Atobe’s eyebrow twitched upon hearing her inquiry. “Don’t you know who I am naïve little girl,” he said with a smirk forming gracefully on his lips.
“Oh dear,” Aya sighed out loud. She had felt so happy to forget the existence of that irritating young boy when she had met him during her visit in Tokyo; but as ironic as it could sound he was crossing paths with her once again.
She straightened herself and fixed her shirt. I guess I could give him the benefit of a doubt, she thought before she emerged from her room. People do change; I know I have; she walked into the living room and made her way to the couch. She sat next to Hitomi quietly without paying much attention to the conversation.
Hitomi got up from the couch a few moments later. “I’ll go serve dinner. I’ll call you guys to come when I am done,” she smiled and walked away.
Aya got up as well ready to follow Hitomi. “It’s best if you stay here with us,” Oshitari said knowingly.
She frowned but sat back down and looked towards the kitchen door. She didn’t want to look at the men because she could feel Atobe’s gaze on her. She was feeling uncomfortable and was glad when she heard her phone ring. She picked it up from the table and excused herself.
“Oshitari,” she answered the phone hurriedly; the last thing she wanted was to miss talking to the caller.
Aya´s face lit up hearing her friend. “Shiraishi, I am so happy you called,” she said with a smile.
“Hmm… What’s wrong?” he asked teasingly. “You’re too hyper to be Aya.”
“Hey…” she complained her smile never fading.
They conversed from a good twenty minutes. When she closed the phone she made her way to the couch and sat on. The room was silent so she looked around to see what was wrong and her eyes met Atobe’s.
“Where… where is Yuushi,” she asked feeling uncomfortable again.
Atobe smirked. “He went to help Hitomi. So, you’re going to work for my company,” he said with a cold expression on his face. “Don’t think that because you’re beautiful or Oshitari’s relative I will tolerate any slacking.” He picked his glass of wine from the table and sipped still piercing Aya with his gaze.
“I… I have no intention to slack off,” she answered back defending herself. What an ass, she thought irritated, scratch what I said about chances; I already hate him.
“Good,” he said satisfied by her response. “Did Oshitari explain to you the position of your job?” he asked indifferently.
“Good.” He finished his glass of wine and left the glass on the table. “You will be in charge of the most important department of my company since all the designs for commercial usage will go through your hands. I believe you are capable to handle the pressure.” He crossed his arms looking intensely at her.
“Yes,” she muttered.
“Is that all you can say?” he asked mockingly. “I do hope you are not scared of saying your opinions or else you are not fit for the job.”
Aya reached her limit. “How dare you insult me like that?” she asked annoyed. “Who the hell do you think you are dismissing people in that way?” she clenched her fists angrily.
Oshitari stormed out of the kitchen the moment he heard Aya raise her voice. “What’s going on?” he asked looking at Aya waiting for her to answer him.
She averted her heated gaze from Atobe to Oshitari and narrowed her eyes. “I am not working for that ass.” She pointed at Atobe. “There is no way I can tolerate working with him,” she said and stomped away.
Oshitari run a hand through his hand sighing. “Do you have to be an ass to every woman you meet?” he asked his friend who was smiling amused.
Atobe got up from his seat and placed his hand on his friends shoulder. “Just testing her guts my friend. The position I’m offering her is tough,” he said and picked the glass from the table. “She hasn’t change at all.” He laughed and walked to the kitchen to get another glass of wine.
This will be fun, Oshitari sighed following his friend. “Tomi-chan, is the table ready?” he asked walking in the kitchen behind Atobe.
Hitomi nodded and looked at Aya who was fuming chopping up some cabbage for the salad. She sighed knowing how crude their friend could be when in the company of women.
Atobe filled his glass and sipped quietly looking at Aya doing her chore. He could sense the hate vides that she was emanating and smirked amused. He walked to the table where Oshitari was sitting and sat on a chair crossing his legs and placing his glass on the table. He conversed with his friend all the while the girls were preparing the last things before they too joined the men.
Aya never expected that dinner would go so well; she was relieved that Atobe ignored her existence for the rest of the night and was pleased that Hitomi was distracting her with various chores. They washed the dishes while the men where gossiping about people in and out of the office.
“Men are worse in gossip then women,” Hitomi said washing the dishes and they both laughed.
“Tell me about it,” Aya answered trying to hold back her laughter.
Both girls had formed a strong bond during after all those years they knew each other. It was something inevitable since both girls were dating two cousins. Living in different cities was not an obstacle for them to keep in touch.
Aya sighed wiping a plate. “I wonder how those two can be friends. There so different,” she said absentmindedly.
Hitomi looked at her with a small smile forming on her lips. “It’s true, but he wasn’t always like that,” she frowned.
“Oh?” Aya looked at her perplexed. “If I remember correct, he was always annoying to hang around.” She sat on a chair followed by her friend.
“A lot of things happened in his past that made him the bitter man he is.” Hitomi sipped her tea slowly.
She placed her cup on the table. “His father died when he was a sophomore in High School, so he had to take the family business after he graduated. He took some class in the University while working hard trying to learn more about the business,” she said and sipped from her cup again. “He lived with his mother and grandparents at that time and they insisted for him to get married. They found a potential wife for him among their social group and blackmailed him to marry her.” She averted her eyes to the door, not wanting to be caught talking about Atobe´s personal life.
“Someone from his class would expect that to happen,” Aya said uncaringly. She didn’t think that his life could compare to her loses. “It’s not like he lost everything he held dear to him.”
Hitomi looked at her friend when she heard her comment. “Don’t be so judgmental Kae-chan; everyone suffers in their own way.” She got up from her chair and walked to the door; she opened it slowly and peeked inside the living room. After a while she closed the door and returned to the table.
“Why did you do that?”
Hitomi chuckled. “I don’t want them to hear our conversation. Anyway, Keigo got married to the woman they chose not wanting to cause his mother more grief since she lost her husband,” she said and pored some more tea in both cups. “Just so you know his mother is a bitch!” they both laughed at the comment.
“They stayed married for 3 years, she gave birth to a beautiful little boy I think it was 2 months before you have Hayato,” she sighed seeing the look on Aya’s face when she mentioned her dead son. “I’m sorry sweetie.” She moved her hand and patted her friend’s hand.
Aya shook her head and squeezed out a smile. “Please continue.”
Hitomi nodded. “The moment Kenji was born she asked for a divorce and demanded to be paid for her services. She asked for 10.000.000,00 yen.” She finished her drink while Aya was trying to absorb everything her friend was telling her.
“10.000.000,00 yen,” she said breathless knowing how much money that was.
“Yes. Not only that, but she left without her son and never turned back. His mother went ballistic over the scandal and blamed him for everything. She disowned him and left him with nothing but his current business.”
Aya couldn’t believe all the drama that a woman could cause and felt sorry for Atobe. “I understand that things weren’t great for him, but that doesn’t explain why he is such an ass.”
“Well, I suppose that when you are stuck with a child that doesn’t talk, your family has turned their backs on you and women only care about your money, you do become an ass and trust no one anymore.” She stopped when the door opened and Oshitari entered.
“What are my girls doing here?” he asked placing to glasses in the sink.
Aya looked at him and smiled. “Gossiping!” she winked and got up from her chair. “Tomi-chan I’m a bit tired so I will go sleep. Do you need anything before I go?” she asked walking to the sink to leave her cup.
Hitomi shook her head and shooed her away. “Is Keigo still here?” she asked Oshitari the moment Aya left the kitchen.
“Yes, come join us,” he said and pulled her by the hand.
Aya had already changed in her pajamas; she washed her face and teeth and then sat in bed with a book in her hand. She wasn’t really tired but she knew that Oshitari was going to invite them to join the men. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to mingle with Atobe because she was still irritated at his earlier attitude towards her.
She opened the book and began to read slowly. She had picked to read one of her favorite books but was finding it hard to concentrate. She flipped the pages to skip some chapters but that didn’t help either. She was feeling frustrated for no apparent reason.
She closed the book and threw it on the bed beside her. She laid her back on the bed and held a pillow over her head wanting to force herself to fall asleep. Nothing happened; she couldn’t fall asleep and she was getting annoyed. She threw the pillow away and sat up again rubbing her face wryly.
As if life had felt her misery the phone rang. She perked her ears at the low sound and got up to search for her bag. She found it lying on the floor next to the closet and pulled out her mobile. She looked at the caller ID and smiled.
“Hey stranger,” she said in a teasing voice. “I beat you to it Shi-chan,” she laughed.
“Yes you did,” Shiraishi laughed. “I forgot to tell you earlier that I found us an apartment.”
Aya jumped in joy. “Really?” she asked excitedly.
“Yes, it’s a 2 bedroom apartment in a complex not far from Oshitari’s place,” he said happy hearing her excitement.
“When can we go?”
Shiraishi chuckled through the phone. “I will be in Tokyo in two weeks but you can go and have a look whenever you want.”
Aya lay in bed holding the phone in one hand and the other hand spread playing with the pillow she threw earlier. “That’s great Shiraishi but I wish you could come earlier. I have so many memories in this house I feel like I am suffocating.”
“I’ll try my best but until I come try settling down with the new job and look for a psychologist too,” Shiraishi said trying to hide the sadness he felt.
Aya puffed her cheeks in annoyance. “I am not crazy. I will not see a shrink!” she said seriously.
Shiraishi sighed. “Fine. We’ll talk I get there,” he said not wanting to aggravate her more. “Have a goodnight sleep.” He hung up and Aya closed her phone leaving it on the side-table as she tucked herself into bed feeling weary.
“Mommy, are we going to the park?”
Aya was helping her son wear his jacket. “No, we’re going to a biiig fun park,” she said with a bright smile pinching the boy’s nose.
The little boy blushed laughing at his mother’s tease. “Can I buy a toy?” he asked with his innocent voice.
“Of course you can buy a toy sport.” A man picked the boy up in his arms. “You can buy as many toys as you want.”
Aya laughed at the sight of her husband’s antics. “Come on you two, let’s go,” she said and walked out of the apartment.
Kenya followed Aya with his son in his arms. “Aya are you sure we should go to the fun park?” he asked walking to the car.
She stopped and looked at him. “Why not?” she replied with a question.
Kenya looked at the sky and frowned. “Because it’s going to rain,” he said leaving his son down. “I think we should just go get something to eat and go to the park another time.”
Aya pouted. “Oh, come on Kenya. It will be fun.” She argued back pulling his hand.
He sighed shaking his head. “Sometimes I wonder if you’re old enough to qualify for a mom,” he teased.
“Heeeyy…” Aya hit his shoulder playfully. She turned her back to him. “Come Ha-chan, get in the car.”
Hayato did as his mother said and got in the car. Aya secured him with the safety belt and then entered the car sitting in the passenger seat next to Kenya. They drove off listening to the radio as lightning’s started flashing across the darkened sky.
Aya stirred in her sleep and hugged the pillow that was on her side.
“I told you it was going to rain,” Kenya complained driving through a heavy shower of rain.
Aya frowned disappointed. “I guess we should go back home,” she muttered looking outside the window.
“Mommy are we going home?” Hayato asked looking around him wide eyed.
Kenya looked at him through the front mirror. “No, we’ll go eat and buy toys, ok?” he said not wanting to sadden the boy. He looked at Aya as they waited for the green light to open.
She looked at him and smiled sweetly placing a kiss on his cheek. “Thank you darling,” she whispered brushing a strand of hair from his face. “The light is green,” she said.
Kenya drove the car past the crossroad wanting to turn on the left side of the boulevard. “Damn rain I can’t see a single thing,” he complained as he turned the car in the direction he wanted to take.
“KENYA WATCH OUT!” Aya yelled but before Kenya could understand what was happening they were hit by a truck.
Aya’s eyes opened wide and her heart was beating so fast she thought it would explode. She breathed heavily looking at the darkness that surrounded the room. She was lying on her back and tried to get up but she couldn’t move a muscle. Her mind was blank and she could feel sweat run down her face.
She tried her hardest to lift her body from the bed and dragged her feet to the bathroom. She turned the bathtubs faucet and put her head under the cold water. She wanted to rest without having to think of the past and that was not going to happen any time soon.
I think Shiraishi is right, she thought as she dried her hair and face. Maybe I should find someone that can help me move on. She returned to her bed and tried to sleep off the previous nightmare.