I managed to drag Nemuri with me. We’re going ring shopping, and she knows a lot more about jewelry than I do. We’re looking at the different rings. There’s rings with huge diamonds and simple rings and even rings made out of wood. Nothing really catches my eye yet. I also managed to steal one of Hizashi’s gloves. I don’t understand why people would want to wear jewelry. It’s so unnecessary. The store clerk starts talking with Nemuri while I keep looking. She slips the glove out of my pocket. I’m too tired to talk, so I let Nemuri do it. She’s known Hizashi for half a year more than I have, so there shouldn’t be a problem. I hear her describing his preferences and personality. Should I pick out my own ring? Is that what you do? Are there any black rings? Can I have a black wedding ring? I stare at a ring. It’s grey or silver, matte. Plain, simple. I could see myself wearing that. I quickly take out my phone. I’ve got an idea. I text Hizashi.
“I miss your voice”
He calls me. I decline the call.
“I can’t talk right now. Can you send a voice message?”
It takes less than a minute until the voice message comes. I turn up the volume and hold the phone up to my ear as I click the voice message.
“I love you”
I smile and walk up to Nemuri.
“I know what I want.”
I ordered the rings. I ordered the suits. I booked the venue. The only thing left is invitations. I’m really not that creative when it comes to stuff like this, so once again, Nemuri is helping me. We need fifty-eight invitations. Or, fifty-seven, since I probably don’t need to send Nemuri a formal invitation. She’s making them black and gold to “represent us”. I mean, I see what she means but… isn't it a bit extra? But then, Hizashi is extra.
“I’m getting tired.”
I lean my head against her shoulder.
“Shota it’s barely nine. How can you already be tired?”
“Being a teacher is exhausting. Can’t you just… do your gas thing? I really need to sleep…”
I yawn and close my eyes.
“I can’t believe I’m being used by my own friend.”
She pulls up the sleeve of her shirt and releases the gas from her skin. All it takes is one breath, and I’m fast asleep.
“Care to dance?”
Hizashi is reaching out his hand to me. I shake my head.
“No, ‘Zashi, you know I can’t dance.”
“Come on, just once? For me?”
I sigh and grab his hand.
“Don’t blame me when I trip and fall to my death.”
He runs over to the radio and turns on some music. Then he grabs my left hand and my waist. He places my right hand on his shoulder.
“I can’t believe I’m doing this…”
I haven’t danced since middle school. I don’t remember anything. I look down at our feet and focus on not tripping or stepping on him.
“Hey, relax a bit…”
“If I relax I’m going to fall.”
He laughs and pulls me closer.
I accidentally step on his toes.
“Don’t worry. Are you ready for a spin?”
“A spin? Wait n-”
He lets go of my waist and spins me around a couple of times. I get dizzy and try to stop, but he keeps spinning me.
“Woah woah woah stop!”
He stops and laughs more, catching me in his arms.
“Hizashi you’re gonna make me puke!”
He keeps laughing.
“That’s disgusting, Sho!”
“That’s what you get for spinning me around for half an hour!”
I lean my head against his shoulder and close my eyes. I put both of my arms around his neck, and he puts his on my waist again. He walks back and forth to the music. I follow his steps. Or at least I try.
“You’re so stupid, ‘Zashi.”
“Really? I didn’t know that.”
“Yes, do I really have to tell you everything?”
Suddenly he pulls me closer and pushes my back backwards. I’m not ready, so I lose my footing and fall backwards.
“Ow! Hizashi what the fuck!”
Two pairs of feet come running down the stairs.
“Daddy! Are you okay!?”
I laugh at Eri’s concern and stand back up.
“Yes, princess, I’m fine.”
I pick her up in my arms and kiss her tiny horn.
“Papa just convinced daddy to dance for a moment.”
“Yes I did. Don’t you believe me?”
“No, I don’t.”
“I’ll prove it to you, right here, right now, young man!”
“No no no! I believe you! Don’t dance!”
“I will learn how to dance, only to annoy you.”
“I do not want to see that.”
I need to know how to dance for the wedding. Can Nemuri dance? Could she teach me?
“Maybe you should learn how to dance too!”
“I would never dance with anyone.”
“Not even Kaminari?”
His face goes red.
“Hng… maybe with Kaminari. But not with anyone else?”
“What about me? Don’t you wanna dance with me, ‘Toshi?”
“And with Eri.”
“Yaaaaay! Dance with me, ‘Toshi!”
“I can’t dance!”
“But I can!”
Eri hops down and grabs Hitoshi’s hands. She starts moving her feet in time with the music. I laugh and put my arm around Hizashi’s waist. I kiss his cheek. I can’t remember the last time I was this happy. I didn’t think I’d have a family fifteen years ago. Kids. A husband. But I’m glad it happened.