Hikaru, Ruby, And Hokuto stood to the side, waiting for some sort of explanation. “What’s going on?” He whispered to Ruby.
She shook her head. “I don’t know. But I want to watch this.”
“I needed to see you.” The man replied.
If Hikaru had to describe him, he wouldn’t be able to say much beyond salary-man. Very plain, in a suit with his tie loosened, short hair. It had Hikaru touch his own and be reminded that he hadn’t been for a hair cut in a while. ‘Do I look that boring when I cut my hair?’
“And?” There was a strange note of hope in Chiyo’s voice as she snapped.
Ohkubo stepped forward.
She stepped back.
He froze. “This month has been hell for me. I can’t stand not having you in my life.” With a swiftness no-one expected, he leapt forward and snatched up Chiyo’s hands.
Briefly she struggled, but there wasn’t any real intention behind it. “Ohkubo, we broke up. You told me that you couldn’t make me happy. That you didn’t want me to end up hating you because you couldn’t give me what I needed.” Her jaw clenched. “Let me go.” She growled.
“I said let me go!” She yanked on her hands.
He held fast.
She looked shocked. “I don’t depend on you for anything, I am completely independent. So why do you think you have to give me things? Especially things I never asked for.”
“Because I’m a baka.” He responded. “I wanted to protect you.”
Beside him, Ruby stiffened. Hikaru tried not to flinch at the similarities. ‘This is a little sickening. What’s going on?’
“Now, I’m being selfish,” Ohkubo continued. “I love you. Will you marry me?”
Ruby’s hands flew to her mouth. “This is the guy she wanted to start a family with.” Her words were barely above a whisper.
Hikaru leant in closer. “Do you know what’s going on?”
“Chiyo hasn’t told me anything really, only hinted that there was someone she wanted to be with.” When she turned her face she pulled back slightly.
Hikaru suddenly felt very uncomfortable with how close he had moved to her and moved away also. “Sorry,” he mumbled.
The scream drew back their attention. Chiyo leapt into Ohkubo’s arms, giggling and raining kisses over his face. He grinned and continued to whisper her name over and over, like a prayer.
“This is totally un-realistic.” Hokuto passed judgement.
Watching in disbelief of what he had just seen, Hikaru made an agreeing noise in the back of his throat.
Without a second glance, Chiyo and Ohkubo began to walk away, heading back to the holiday houses. She must’ve remembered Ruby, Chiyo threw over her shoulder. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow, Ruby-chan.”
The remaining three stood dumbstruck.
“Did that just happen?” Ruby asked.
“I feel a little like…” Hikaru began.
“Yeah,” Hokuto filled the gap. “I get you.”
The rest of their time celebrating at the festival went quietly. They wandered around for a while, looking at things and testing their skills with games and eating all kinds of foods on sticks.
“We should sit down for the fireworks,” Ruby suggested. “My feet are killing me.”
Hokuto led the way to a gap in the stalls. “Here we go,” he climbed the slight incline that rose up and plunked himself down. The stuffed toy sitting beside him.
Other people had the same idea to escape the crush and sit on the bare hill to the side.
Hikaru walked beside Ruby. Neither spoke, but they were civil, just like Hokuto demanded. “Need help?”
She pursed her lips and looked ready to dismiss him quickly. Then realised what she was wearing. “Please.”
Her hand burned his as he gripped it and lowered her to a sitting position beside Hokuto and the toy. Unable to move much, she stuck her legs out straight and wriggled her toes. “That feels better.”
Hikaru didn’t want to be given the cold shoulder by sitting beside her, he knew it would happen for sure. ‘We might be able to function like adults right now, but it’s a farce. She’ll ignore me and I’ll be bored.’ He moved to Hokuto’s side.
The fireworks began exploding in the sky in fancy patterns. First, there was the whine as they shot up, the pause, and then BOOM! it blew up and crackled as they disappeared. The crowd hushed to a handful of ‘ahhh’s’.
“Did you have a crush on Chiyo?”
Hikaru heard the words crystal clear. He turned to answer. Freezing he listened instead.
Hokuto shook his head. “No. That wasn’t flirting back there.”
“Sorry, I guess I’m programed to think that passionate arguing can be flirting.”
Hokuto snorted. “I just don’t like being ordered to do something.” Tugging the toy into his lap, he gripped it tight. “It might be stupid and unmanly, but I like this thing and want to keep it.”
“No-one’s going to take it away from you, I swear.” Leaning back, Ruby disappeared from Hikaru’s sight. “These fireworks are pretty.”
“We Japanese people take them very seriously,” Hokuto joked. He turned to Hikaru. “Don’t we?”
“Yes.” Was all he could manage. ‘What else do you say to that?’
Hokuto frowned at him and mouthed a question.
Hikaru didn’t get it. He mouthed ‘what?’ in return.
Almost as dramatic as the performance Chiyo and Ohkubo put on, Hokuto yawned, stretching his arms high and drew the attention of everyone nearby. “I’m beat. I’m going to head back now.”
“I’ll come with you.” Ruby leant forward.
“No. Stay out. Have fun.” Before anyone could do anything more, he hurried away.
There was a gap between the remaining people and it was awkward. ‘Do I move closer and fill it? Do we speak? Everything that’s needed to be said has been said. We don’t need this time at all.’ He hazarded a glance at the woman.
She was back to gazing up at the sky.