Kirari sat cross legged in her bed. She had gotten home quite late as she offered to take Sayaka home, not wanting to let her go alone after dark. Her bath was rushed and if Ririka had noticed, she didn’t say anything. Researching was her first priority and so here she sat, with a paper and pen. For once, she wished she listened to Sayaka and invested in a notepad, but this would do. Scrolling through her phone, she had several tabs open, each of them an article that would help her with her task.
How to show someone you love them
Romantic gifts your S.O. would love
Tips on how to show love and affection
Kirari had jotted down the things that peaked her interest. Many of the articles repeated the same things so she did not have much. She did, however, have to read up on ways to flirt. Little did she know that she was doing it already, though it may be less obvious if Sayaka hadn’t recognized her advancements.
She would have asked Ririka for advice if she wasn’t just as, or more, socially inept as her.
After researching, Kirari finally had her list together. She read it over once more. This will surely show Sayaka her true feelings. Now all she needed to do was make some preparations. It would take a couple days and Kirari was far from patient, but she would wait. She would wait as long as it takes for Sayaka to see what has been in front of her all this time.
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Sayaka was not prepared to see the large bouquet at her desk. She may be fifteen minutes early, but there were still quite a few of her classmates present. She could hear the hushed whispers and feel the endless stares directed at her. Being the president’s secretary did get her a lot of attention, and not always the best kind. That is what her taser is for.
She was not going to fall for some brainless fool’s trick, and on the off chance these actions were genuine, unfortunately for them, she already had her eyes set on someone else.
The bouquet covered her whole desk, leaving absolutely no space for her to work. She hefted the glass vase into her arms. The petals tickled her cheek with every step and her nose was filled with their sweet scent. As she walked down the corridors, she heard more quiet mutters. Who would send her flowers? Why Igarashi-san? Secret admirer? She paid them no mind.
Making her way to the back of the school, Sayaka exited through the back doors and rounded the corner where a set of dumpsters rested against the wall. She promptly disposed of the floral arrangement and headed back to class, ten minutes wasted on the meaningless journey.
Waiting at her desk was a small tag that must have fallen out of the bouquet. Inside, she found the familiar script of the president’s elegant handwriting. Her heart stopped.
My Dearest Sayaka,
Here is a token of gratitude for all you have done for me. Have a wonderful day, my beloved secretary.
It was short, but it made her feel butterflies. And maybe she was overthinking it, but the small heart next to her name must mean something. The roses were truly beautiful and… in the dump.
Sayaka buried her face in her hands, overcome by the horror of what she had just done. Fresh roses like those were expensive and she had just discarded a gift from the president, no less. This explains her unusually chipper mood that morning. It turns out she was the brainless fool.
Now she was dreading the moment she would have to face her and explain what she had done.
The last thing Kirari expected was for her secretary to have a nervous breakdown in the middle of her office. Classes had just ended and Sayaka didn’t last five minutes before the floodgates opened. She could barely understand what Sayaka was saying through her muffled cries. It was something about flowers, dumpsters, and “I didn’t know!” over and over again. Still, she got the gist of it. Kirari felt slightly disappointed that her intentions fell short, but Sayaka was highly amusing to watch.
She approached the troubled girl and cradled her head against her shoulder. The small body in her arms froze. One arm around Sayaka’s waist, the other stroking her head gently.
“It’s alright,” Kirari cooed. “It was an honest mistake.”
Sayaka trembled and Kirari only held her tighter. They hadn’t been this close since the tower. The feel of Sayaka’s body against hers filled her with warmth. The clean fragrance of Sayaka’s shampoo filled the air around her. She could even pinpoint the lingering scent of detergent on her uniform.
“Do you still have the card?” Kirari asked.
Sayaka pulled back to look at her. “Of course it’s in—”
“Good,” she cut her off. “Now, no need to cry. It was just flowers.”
Sayaka reached up to wipe away the tears staining her cheeks but Kirari beat her to it. The handkerchief came from nowhere. The soft cloth dried her face as the other hand cupped her face gently.
Kirari took in every little detail from the short lashes to the slope of her nose. Holding her face like this, Kirari realized just how small Sayaka’s head was which she couldn’t help but find cute. It made her eyes look bigger than they were. She closed the distance between them. Sayaka opened her eyes when she felt Kirari’s nose brush against hers. Kirari looked right into those violet orbs sparkling with unshed tears. Her thumb swept over the bottom lip lightly. She glanced down, wondering how they would feel against her own. She moved ever so slowly to close the small gap between them.
Kirari watched, eyes half lidded, as Sayaka’s clenched shut. A small smile made its way onto her face. To know she wanted this just as much was almost too much to bear. A new kind of excitement bubbled up in her, a boundless energy that was running through her. So many things could change with this one act of affection, so many uncertainties. Sayaka was her complete opposite. Was she feeling the same rush, or was it something different? She wanted to find out.
Just as Kirari barely brushed their lips together, a ringing sound, loud and obnoxious in the silence of the room.
Sayaka jerked away. Kirari kept her close as the secretary fumbled with her phone.
“Hello?” Sayaka answered as calmly as she could.
Kirari felt each thump of her heart against her chest as she listened in to the conversation.
Runa’s voice came through the small speakers. “Sayaka-chan! What happened to this afternoon’s gamble? Did she change her mind at the last minute again?”
Sayaka paled, ashamed she had forgotten about something so important. “Apologies Yomozuki-san! We’ll be there right away!”
“No need to—”
She hung up before Runa finished and ushered the two of them out the door. Kirari fought the urge to bring a hand up to her mouth, right where she felt Sayaka’s lips. She was disappointed, but no matter. She had more plans.
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The next morning, Kirari made some afternoon arrangements and purposefully cleared their afternoon. There was a scheduled delivery right after class, one that Sayaka did not know about. She waited for the day to pass eagerly. As usual, she had no care for calculus or history and the teachers droned on for hours. Her least favorite and last class, literature, was her breaking point. She got up five minutes before class ended and left without a word. No one dared to question her, not even the teacher, who continued as if nothing happened.
The halls were blissfully silent. Kirari set a leisurely pace as she made her way to Sayaka’s class. It wasn’t too far, and classes ended in a couple minutes. There was no rush. Just as she reached the door, the bell rang and she could hear students shuffling around on the other side. She opened it and everyone froze. Sayaka didn’t seem to notice at first, taking her time packing her belongings. Blue lips curled into their usual arcane smirk. It was very much like that day, the first time she laid eyes on the girl who would become so much more to her than just a mere secretary. Oh, how she’d grown.
Strolling to the desk in the center of the room, Kirari placed her hand on the surface. Sayaka freezes at the sight of blue painted nails. She looks up and Kirari watches the blush rise from her neck and up to her face.
For a moment, Kirari thought about what her name would sound like coming from those lips. Soon, she told herself. Soon.
“I’m sorry, did we have something planned?” Dark eyes were wide with confusion and earesty. She probably had their schedule memorized by now.
Kirari laughed lightly at the sight. “Not that you know of,” she answered. “Come. I have a treat for the both of us.”
Sayaka quickly packed her things and followed Kirari to her office. Always a step behind. It wouldn’t be the first time Kirari wanted Sayaka right next to her.
“What is going on, President?” Sayaka looked at her attentively. Always on top of everything.
“Am I not allowed to spend quality time with my darling secretary?”
To Kirari’s delight, the blush reappeared. “U-Uh… n-no, I mean yes! I mean…” Sayaka groaned. “Yes, you can.”
Kirari holds back her laugh. She doesn’t want to hurt her feelings but watching the younger girl become flustered was a treat. She was offered tea and Kirari accepted gratefully. The package should be arriving in the next few minutes.
They sat in a comfortable silence, the only thing heard was the bubbling of the large tank. The knock came not too long after. Kirari welcomed them in and Sayaka looked on curiously as the housepet delivered the box on the table in front of them. He bowed before leaving them alone once more. Kirari put her tea aside to open the pink box. They peeked in and saw the mini raspberry cheesecakes. Its white frosting on top of the gooey red syrup looked delectable. Kirari reached in and took one. She daintily unwrapped the paper from the outside and offered it to Sayaka. Her secretary took it tentatively. She plucked the raspberry from the top before she took a bite out of the cake. Sayaka let out a content hum as the tart flavor spread across her tongue.
“How do you like it?” Kirari asked, though her reaction was more than enough.
Sayaka nodded in approval. “It’s good, President.”
“I’m glad. I ordered them with you in mind.” She reached in for her own cake.
Sayaka’s jaw dropped at the remark.
“You have a particular fondness for fruits, if I remember correctly,” Kirari continued. “I thought this would be a nice way to treat you.” She winked as she popped the raspberry into her mouth.
She was not prepared for how strong the raspberry tasted. The frosting stuck to it did little to mask the sour tang that overwhelmed her senses. Kirari could not stop the pinched expression that spread across her face.
She heard a strained sound come from her right. She looked over at Sayaka who was slightly hunched, shoulders shaking. She bit her lip, eyes watery, as she refused to look anywhere except Kirari. When their eyes finally did meet, a loud chortle escaped her secretary. Kirari watched, completely enamored, as Sayaka’s face revealed an unrestrained mirth.It was the first time hearing her secretary laugh like this. It was contagious and Kirari soon found herself joining her.
It was a different kind of amusement than she was used to, she decided. It made her feel warm inside, like the summer sun in the early morning. It reminded her of her youth, when she and her cousins were still innocent and carefree, untouched by the duty of carrying the family name. It was something she hadn’t realized she lost.
When their laughter died down, Sayaka ducked her head down and cupped the small cake in her hands gently, as if it was made of glass. “Thank you, President.”
No, thank you.
Kirari had no way of expressing those words. Instead, she smiled softly as Sayaka met her eyes. It was genuine, one she saved only for her sister and now Sayaka. She reached her hand out, cupping a soft cheek. Her secretary leaned into it. Kirari’s smile turned playful as she swiped her thumb across the corner of her lips and licked the icing off of it.
Sayaka was mortified. The squeak that escaped her didn’t help at all. Kirari laughed joyously.
They ate the rest of the mini cheesecakes, Sayaka offering to take the raspberries from Kirari’s own with an amused smile.
As impulsive as Kirari was, she held herself back. After yesterday’s interruption, she decided it was best to wait until after she showed Sayaka her true feelings to act on her desires. With that in mind, she savored every little moment they shared as Sayaka showed more of herself in these past couple days than she had in the past two years. Still, Kirari wanted more. She decided she needed to be more straightforward if Sayaka is to realize what she is trying to show.
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I love the way you walk, every step filled with confidence and purpose.
Sayaka rereads the blue note. She’d know that handwriting anywhere. Her cheeks warmed and she looked around in case there were any witnesses. It was highly unlikely considering she got to school an hour before everyone else, but one can never be too careful. She stashes the note in a small unused pocket of her bag, mindful of its location, not wanting to lose or wrinkle it in any way.
Sayaka took a moment to clear her head. No matter how strange the president’s actions have been these past couple days, there was still much to get done. The note was forgotten, for now, though its existence made a space for itself in the secretary’s subconscious.
Her footfalls echoed through the halls. Mornings were a precious time for her. There were no rowdy students to interrupt her peace, a temporary reprieve from the usual disarray of the school.
Entering the president’s office, Sayaka set about organizing papers and gathering everything they could possibly need that day. It was a relaxing routine that required minimal thinking on Sayaka’s part. However, she paused at seeing another blue slip of paper stuck to one of the meeting agendas.
I love how thoughtful you are. You think of every little detail, even if it is unnecessary… like the way you’re organizing papers now.
The corner of her lips curled upwards as she put that note with the other one. She finished organizing quickly, the note distracting her for a while. Before she knew it, she heard the school come to life as students began to arrive. She headed to class, no longer needed in the room. The president was scheduled to arrive later, something about the vice president sleeping in, if she recalled correctly.
Sitting at her designated seat, Sayaka opened her history textbook and the notes she took in preparation for that day’s class. She read over what she wrote the previous day, everything legible and neatly structured. When she got to the last page, the bright blue square stuck in the center of the page drew attention to itself.
I love the way you strive for success, always exercising that beautiful mind of yours.
Sayaka wondered how the president had managed to sneak this into her things without her noticing. It was odd. Sayaka was very careful when it came to her possessions. The student that tried to pickpocket her taser learned his lesson and was made an example of.
As the day continued, Sayaka found messages hidden in all of her things. One in every one of her books. Once in her pencil case. One was even stuck to her calculator. Each of them reduced her into a giddy mess. It made it hard to focus on the lectures. Not that she needed to, having read ahead, but it would still be helpful. With her mind in the clouds, Sayaka looked forward to seeing the president.
She couldn’t be happier when the final bell rang. Her books were haphazardly thrown into her bag and she didn’t look back once as she left class.
Once Sayaka entered the president’s office, she immediately went to start brewing the tea. It wouldn’t be long until the president herself arrived. She did not expect to feel paper when her hands landed on the kettle. Twisting it around, she found another note stuck to the back of it.
I love the way you know exactly which tea to make me, though my mood changes hour to hour.
A hand came up to cover the smile. Reading the president properly was no easy feat and it was one of the things Sayaka took pride in. Even if it was something as simple as a cup of tea.
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As she suspected, Sayaka was already there, tea ready for her. Kirari took one look at her secretary and instantly knew something was different. Her mood seemed unusually light and her muscles were more relaxed. Kirari bit back a smile knowing she was a cause of this change. A show of appreciation goes a long way, it seems.
“Good afternoon, Sayaka.” She took her usual seat on the couch.
“Good afternoon, President.” Sayaka’s voice was formal but there was a hint of jubilation.
The secretary went over their schedule for the afternoon and reverted back into her business mode, as Kirari liked to call it. She was annoyed their afternoon was so busy, but there were things to get done. Blue eyes wandered to the girl making a few notes in the planner. It wasn’t unusual for her to admire the young secretary as she stood to the side, but now was not the time to daydream. They had things to do and Kirari wanted them done as soon as possible.
The few gambles she had were dealt with quickly, not bothering to toy with her opponents that day. Sayaka didn’t fail to notice the change in her behavior. She didn’t say anything, not in front of the student body watching her. And so, she waited until they were alone again.
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When it came to Sayaka, Kirari felt things she was unfamiliar with like the warmth in her chest when she was around, the fluttering in her stomach when she smiled, particularly at her, and how everything just faded into the background when they were alone. Kirari, always so aware of her surroundings, couldn’t help but become captivated whenever Sayaka was near. She wanted them to be more than superior and subordinate, more than president and secretary, more than the titles they carried.
She sipped her tea, eyes closed, savoring the earthy taste. The late afternoon sun blazed through the windows. Most, if not all, students had gone home by now. It was the moment Kirari had been both waiting and dreading for all day. She looked at Sayaka out of the corner of her eye. She was sorting through papers she would be bringing home which meant Kirari didn’t have long until Sayaka would leave for the day. She looks at her own things, already packed and ready to go.
Gathering her nerves, Kirari put her cup down. She wrapped dark strands around her finger. She noticed Sayaka’s actions pause before she resumed her task. Kirari moved closer.
“Sayaka,” she cooed. “Do you have any plans tonight?”
Kirari smiled as she finally got Sayaka’s full attention.
Sayaka looked at her curiously. “No, president. Is something going on?”
She ignored the question. “Are you free for dinner tonight?”
A pale hand landed on the secretary’s exposed knee.
Violet eyes flicked to the hand then back. “Um… y-yes.”
“Good.” Kirari pulled away suddenly. “I’ll pick you up at say… eight?” She collected her bags and strolled to the door, calm and collected. She looked over her shoulder at her stunned secretary. “It’s a date.”
She left without another word. Her chauffeur was waiting at the entrance and they drove off right away. Ririka had gone home earlier so there was no use in waiting.
The drive to the mansion seemed longer than usual. She couldn’t sit still, legs crossing, uncrossing, then crossing again. Manicured nails tapped endlessly in her lap. Imaginary wrinkles were smoothed every few minutes. The rolling hills and striking greenery was not as appealing as her upcoming dinner. She wondered what Sayaka would wear. A dress, perhaps. Maybe something more formal, like a pantsuit. Whatever it was, Kirari was sure she would look wonderful.
She could not have gotten home fast enough. Kirari didn’t waste any time and headed straight for her room. She had already picked her outfit the night before. The leather pants hugged her legs just right and the silver necklace hung right above the neckline of her white blouse, its sapphire stone brought out her eyes. Reaching up, Kirari untwisted her braids, white locks falling down her back. She redid her braids, making sure there was not a hair out of place, only to find one loop slightly lower than the other. Kirari took a deep breath. She reached up again and pulled at the ribbon until it came undone. Even after all these years, she just couldn’t get it right. She called Ririka.
The younger twin sat impatiently in front of her vanity while her sister did her hair. Glancing at the clock, the hands read seven fourteen. She’d have to leave in a few minutes if she wanted to be on time. Her nails tapped lightly in time with the second hand. The rhythmic ticking only served to make her more impatient knowing each second that passed was another second keeping her away from Sayaka.
Ririka took note and tied the black ribbon quickly. The moment her hair was in place, Kirari bid Ririka a terse farewell and hurried out the door, barefoot, heels in hand. The car was already running and Kirari was pleased to find the bouquet of lilies she ordered waiting for her in the backseat.
In her rush, she missed Ririka calling for her, waving her phone in the air.
The car pulled up to a modest house three minutes early. Kirari lingered in the vehicle. Being early might make it seem like she was too eager.
At exactly eight, Kirari walked up to the door, three steady knocks. It creaked slowly and dark eyes peeked at her through the small crack. The door opened all the way, revealing her date for the night, and Kirari felt her breath hitch. Sayaka looked at her timidly. Dark tresses formed a braid that disappeared into her usual ponytail. The dress was a midnight blue. Its skirt fell down to her knees loosely. To think this would be the first time Kirari would see her in something other than her uniform. It was a sight to behold.
Kirari was rarely left speechless, but Sayaka looked more beautiful not wearing her uniform. Gone was that pretense of decorum. Standing in front of her was not the Student Council Secretary. Standing in front of her was Sayaka Igarashi, the girl who stole her heart before she even knew what happened.
Her arm snaked around Sayaka’s waist. With the added height, the younger girl’s head fit snugly into the crook of her neck. She felt small hands fist the back of her shirt, holding her just as close.
“You,” Kirari murmured. “look absolutely breathtaking.”
Sayaka pulled back to look at her. Her entire face matched the color of the roses she had sent to her the other day.
“Th-Thank you, Pres—I mean K-Kirari.” Her name was whispered at the end but Kirari didn’t mind. She liked the way it sounded much more when it came from Sayaka.
She held out the lilies. “These are for you.”
Sayaka smiled brightly. To her, it was like a piece of the tower was in her hands.
“Let me put these in water,” she said. “And please, come in.”
Kirari took the invitation and stepped into the quaint little house. It was a car cry from her mansion. The rooms were small and all the furniture were packed closer together in the limited space. The lights provided a warm glow and there were signs of life everywhere from the sweater hanging off the arm of the couch to the empty cup resting on a coaster. With no maids to keep things tidy, the place was clean, but not spotless.
She heard Sayaka still rummaging around, looking for a vase, she assumed.
Along the wall was a line of framed photographs taken over the years. She looked at one of Sayaka with whom she believes to be her father. It was at the beach. Her chubby cheeks were rosy and her eyes shimmered with happiness as she held her father’s hand along the shoreline. There were plenty of pictures like that. It made Kirari feel slightly envious. The only picture of her and Ririka as children was the group portrait of them with their long deceased grandmother. And the memories they shared were considerably less joyful than the ones she’s currently observing.
Her dark thoughts were interrupted by Sayaka appearing at her side. She was now wearing a white cardigan over the dress, her hands shoved into its pockets. Not letting that deter her, Kirari linked their arms.
“Shall we?” The look she gave Sayaka was full of excitement, similar to the one she gets when faced with a thrilling gamble.
The younger girl nodded and followed her out the door. The car was still outside. Kirari opened the door and motioned for Sayaka to get in first. “After you, my dear.”
She got a look of surprise in return, Sayaka unaccustomed to being on the receiving end of such actions. Nevertheless, she climbed in, followed by Kirari. As soon as the door shut, the driver pulled away from the house, no instructions needed.
Neither of them said a word as they got farther, and farther from the city. Street lights soon gave way to the dark silhouettes of trees and thickets. Sayaka stared in awe at the city lights in the distance. It was a temporary distraction. As they disappeared around a bend, her nerves returned. Kirari watched as her leg jumped up and down, her hands pulled at the sleeves of her cardigan, her teeth nibbled at a pink lip. She scooted closer and laid a hand on both of hers to stop the fidgeting, both in comfort and an excuse to touch her. She felt them twitch under her hold. There was a hesitation. Kirari waited, wanting to see what Sayaka would do. She was not expecting to feel fingers interlace with hers. She didn’t mind the clammy palms. She squeezed in response and some of the tension visibly left Sayaka.
They held hands the whole way, Sayaka becoming more comfortable as they drove through the dark. The car rolled to a stop in front of a large greenhouse. The Momobami estate could be seen a little ways down the road. It’s large structure was hard to miss.
Kirari didn’t let go of Sayaka’s hand as the two of them exited the car and walked into the glass building. Being early spring, there was a mix of bloomed and budded flowers. The strong floral scent enveloped them the moment they walked in. Kirari slowed their pace to a stroll allowing Sayaka to admire the scene more closely. They were surrounded by greenery and a multitude of flowers from all over the world. The sound of running water welcomed them as they crossed a bridge. The channel ran along the perimeter of the greenhouse. It not only helped water some of the aquatic plants, but it was also a home for Kirari’s favorite pets.
“Is… Is that a catfish?” Sayaka pointed to one of the larger fish dwelling at the bottom. Its gaping mouth opened as it, to Sayaka’s slight horror, ate a smaller fish swimming by.
Kirari watched intently as it swam away after consuming its meal, not minding the other larger fish. “Yes, it is. It’s gotten quite big, actually. I should move it into a larger habitat before it eats all the smaller ones.”
Their shoes clicked off the stone pathway as they continued on and Kirari led them to the center of the glass enclosure. A table was set with steaming food and a vase holding a single lily.
Kirari let go of her hand as Sayaka took her seat. She settled in, inhaling the exquisite aroma. Thai. Her favorite. Sayaka hadn’t expected Kirari to remember such a small thing.
Kirari observed Sayaka’a face closely. “Are you surprised?”
She seemed to startle at the question. “Ah, just a little bit.” Sayaka looked at her sheepishly. “I didn’t think you’d remember. I only mentioned it in passing.”
She held a hand to her chest. “Of course I would remember. I want to know everything about you.”
Sayaka looked away, unable to meet the teasing stare. Her hands were out of view, but Kirari knew her well enough to know they were most likely clenched in the fabric of her dress.
“Don’t be so nervous,” Kirari said to her. “It’s just me.”
It didn’t seem to help.
She tried again, this time taking a different approach. “Sayaka, what is my favorite color?”
“Blue,” the younger girl answered immediately. “Why—”
“What is my favorite food?”
Bewildered by the sudden interrogation, Sayaka replied hesitantly. “Um… it depends on what you’re in the mood for. You tend to enjoy foods with lots of spices, like curry, and you often talk about how much you enjoy seafood.”
“Well done. Both are correct answers,” she praised. Sayaka sat proudly under her gaze. “Do you see now? Sayaka, you know me. Better than everyone else, I may add. No need to be so nervous.”
Sayaka relaxed. It was just Kirari . She stopped her there. If she thought about it any further, she wouldn't be able to enjoy their dinner. She distracted herself by taking a bit out of one of her spring rolls. She hummed as the flavor of vegetables and meat filled her mouth. Kirari smiled, pleased to know Sayaka was enjoying herself.
Their conversations revolved around Sayaka, mostly because Kirari wanted to know absolutely everything , but also because Kirari didn’t have the best life growing up compared to Sayaka’s fun stories. She wasn’t ready to share that part of her just yet.
As Sayaka took the last bite of her tamarind duck, she looked at Kirari who had just finished her own meal. “That was delicious.”
Kirari smiled. “I’m glad you think so. The chefs really outdid themselves this time.”
Sayaka nodded in agreement, not that she knew what it was like to have a professional chef at her disposal.
Kirari stood up and held out her hand again. “Come. I want to show you my favorite flowers.”
Sayaka took it and fell in step next to her. “I thought you only liked fish,” she joked.
Kirari stopped them and stepped closer. Sayaka, not a stranger to Kirari invading her personal space, didn’t flinch at the sudden proximity. Kirari took note of this. “Fish are my favorite creatures, that is true, but I do enjoy flowers as much as the next person. For example, lilies are quite beautiful, wouldn’t you say?”
She pulled back and walked away, a flustered Sayaka following her after a long moment.
Kirari didn’t know much about flowers, but Sayaka enjoyed listening to her speak nonetheless. It started raining at one point and Sayaka watched in wonder as the rain fell onto the glass ceiling and cascaded downward. They didn’t mind the rain as they kept exploring the indoor garden. The weather only became a problem when a deafening clap of thunder was followed by the lights going out.
Kirari peered into the sudden darkness. The space was temporarily illuminated by lightning and she spotted Sayaka looking at her for instructions. “Well, this is unfortunate.”
Sayaka found her phone and turned on the flashlight. Kirari fished around her pockets for her own device only to come up empty handed. Without her phone, she couldn’t call for her driver to come get them. The estate wasn’t too far away, but they would get drenched the moment they stepped outside.
“Sayaka, do you mind if I borrow your phone?” she asked.
“Not at all.” Sayaka handed it to her only to find there was no signal.
Kirari sighed. “It looks like we’ll be stuck here until the storm passes.”
“That shouldn’t take too long,” Sayaka added. “Thunderstorms only last an average of thirty minutes.” She flinched as another rumble of thunder shook the walls.
“We should be fine here for the meantime then.”
They went back to the bridge that overlooked the small channel. Sayaka glanced up, the only direction that wasn’t shrouded in darkness. “Kirari, did you check the weather for tonight?”
The older girl was taken off guard by the question. “No,” she admitted. “I didn’t think to, since we would be inside the whole time.”
Sayaka turned her head in the direction of her voice. What little light there was reflected off snowy braids. “I’m planning the date next time.”
Kirari raised an eyebrow though she doubted Sayaka could tell. “Next time? You’re oddly bold tonight, Sayaka.”
“There’s a reason, Kirari.”
She heard the crinkling of paper and smiled.
“You snuck this into my pocket earlier.” Sayaka handed her the note. “Did you mean it?”
The words on weighed heavily in her pocket until this moment. Sayaka reached out and felt for Kirari’s hand.
“Every word,” Kirari whispered just loud enough to hear over the rushing wind and pouring rain. “When did you find it?”
A bolt of lightning struck again, the words I love you , were written on one last blue parchment.
“When you were busy looking at the plum blossoms.” Sayaka came closer.
Kirari felt a hand touch her cheek and she leaned into it, kissing the palm. “I love you, Igarashi Sayaka.”
She leaned in pressing her lips against her forehead where she licked her not long before, the corner of her eyes where she tasted salty tears, and finally her mouth, where she paused, waiting with a bated breath, for Sayaka’s response.
“I love you, Momobami Kirari.”
Their lips connected softly, tenderly. So many things hadn’t gone the way she planned—the flowers, the raspberry, the rain—but Sayaka was here and it was all she needed.
They broke apart and the lights were still out but Kirari felt Sayaka’s gaze. “You could have just told me.”
“...You didn’t like the gifts?” Kirari held her tighter.
“No, I loved them. I mean you didn’t have to go that far.”
“Perhaps.” She kissed her again, a new addiction. “But I don’t trust words as much as actions.”
They leaned in for another kiss, just as gentle as the first.
“Kirari are you—oh...”
A light shone on them and Ririka stood there, staring. Sayaka blushed. Caught by the Vice President, Kirari’s sister, of all people. Sayaka pulled a good arms length away, the loss of contact left her feeling cold, and wrapped her cardigan around her.
Ririka looked out of place. “Um… I just wanted to check on you. The power should be back on soon.”
“Thank you, Ririka.” Kirari turns to Sayaka. “I need to get you home anyway.”
They made their way to the car waiting for them outside, rain still coming down but no more lightning. Ririka was dropped off at the mansion before Kirari told the driver to take them back to Sayaka’s house.
The drive was much like earlier, quiet, but Sayaka felt more comfortable around her now. As they pulled up to her house, Kirari felt her mood dampen. The two of them ran up to the door, damp from the rain. Sayaka opened it and they stepped inside where it was warm, away from public view.
Sayaka turned to her. “Thank you for tonight.”
“I’m glad you enjoyed it.”
A silence came over them, neither knowing what to say. Goodbye and goodnight didn’t feel like the right ending to such a wonderful day.
“Sayaka.” Kirari waited until Sayaka looked at her. “I love you.”
Sayaka laughed lightly. “I love you too. Now go home. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Kirari kissed her cheek then her lips. “Goodnight, Sayaka.”
She left without another word, hurrying to the car. She watched the door close, the warm light of the home disappearing behind the wood. Kirari couldn’t stop the smile from breaking across her face. She looked forward to what tomorrow would bring.