Chapter 23: Himari’s Sweet Date (?)
Himari smiled as she walked next to him. It was a dream. It must be. But could this also qualify as a…date?! She wrestled with that thought inside her mind while smiling naturally at him. She can’t lose her composure on such an important day!
“Do you like dessert shops, H-Himari-chan?” Tsukasa pointed towards a small comfy-looking shop. Posters of glistening pastries and sweets were slapped on the window. She wanted to go!
However, she stopped herself and answered coolly. “I’m fine with them. Do you like them, Tsukasa-kun?”
‘He can’t see me being a glutton!!’
“I’m fine with them as well.” He replied smoothly.
Her instinct told her that she had to stop him before she ended up being dragged to the shop for real. “H-how about we browse other shops first? What do you like, Tsukasa-kun?”
Himari cried inside. She was the one who took the initiative to ask him out and here she was with not a single event planned out! Will this day go by without a hitch? If she had known that it would end up this way she would’ve put more thought into putting together a schedule!
He turned slightly. “Me? I’m fine with wherever you want to go.”
It was this constant push of “Let’s do what you want” “No, let’s do what you want” that made it harder for them to actually do anything. So far they had spent an hour strolling around the streets with short conversations. Majority of the time they spent looking through the windows of shops with her holding herself back from purchasing clothing in front of Tsukasa. She was afraid that he would become bored.
In the end they decided to rest at an Italian restaurant. The thing was that she struggled to read the menu. What was a ‘Ragu Alla Bolognese’? What was a ‘Melazane Alla Parmigiana’?! Himari could feel her head spinning. Why could she suddenly see a white light descending?!
God, is that you???
On the outside, she maintained her most famous face. It was her ‘I-understand-everything’ face. Tsukasa, on the other hand, struggled with holding back his laughter at her face. He didn’t even need to look twice to know what she was thinking of. Seeing her stare at the menu methodically and even squinting her eyes as if it’ll somehow increase her understanding was just adorable and unprecedented from all the other expressions of hers.
He let out a little ‘pfftt’ and then cleared his throat subtly. “Have you decided what you want to order yet?”
She jolted. It was her turn to clear her throat. “I…have!”
They waved for a waiter to come and ordered with Himari not knowing exactly what she pointed to. When their food was served she blinked at the green pasta placed in front of her.
“T-this is…?” Himari looked at the waiter. He nodded back politely.
“Enjoy, milady.” Then he quietly took his leave.
The pasta wasn’t bad. But it looked like someone shredded grass with water together and created some sort of paste then stirred it into the pasta. It had a minty scent which made her stomach shrivel into the corner of her body. Slowly taking up her fork, she stabbed into her plate, regretfully praying.
The taste. Was. DISGUSTING.
Well–it wasn’t disgusting, it was just that she never liked basil. Especially since this dish had tons of grinded basil fused with the pasta, even if she scraped the sauce off, it would still heavily taste like basil. She gulped down and barely managed to smile. “Y-yummy!”
Tsukasa returned her smile. “I think mine tastes pretty good too.”
It was true. His dish certainly looked more appetizing than the green vomit in front of her–she couldn’t say that out loud, though. Actually, his order looked more normal compared to Himari’s. She continued to stare at his plate inadvertently until he spoke up.
“Would…would you like…to try some?”
She shook her head and subsequently, ended up nodding her head. He pushed his plate towards her with an encouraging look.
Feeling the need to make it balanced, she pushed her plate up front as well, so it would be an even trade. It wasn’t a very good one. “Feel free to try mine as well.”
‘Please don’t think that I have bad taste!’ She chanted while delivering the fork into her mouth. Her eyelashes flew up in delight accompanied with a hum of pleasure. Only one thought arose: ‘I want more!’
Following that lead, more turbulent thoughts floated up. Tsukasa was the one who ordered this so it wasn’t right for her to eat away at it! But…it was so good–compared to her nasty pasta, she favored his plate more.
Seeing her eyeing at his plate, he once again chuckled. His eyes filled with affection, he said: “Your pasta is delicious. Would you like to switch with me?”
Enraptured by his proposal, she schooled her expression and said back calmly, “Alright, if that’s what you want.”
He held back another urge to chuckle.
Completely blind to the fact that he was teasing her outright, she happily chewed away, glad that she no longer had to eat that disgusting pasta. Since Tsukasa said so himself that he liked her pasta, there was no need to feel guilty, right? Luck was truly on her side!
By the time they finished their lunch, some time had passed and a more comfortable atmosphere settled between them. Like before, they wandered around the streets stocked with shops and actually went inside to explore them. Seeing Tsukasa’s goading smile serving as a stimulus, Himari abandoned all restraining thoughts and shopped to her heart’s content. Even better, Tsukasa even complimented her and fully endorsed her preferences.
Her modus operandi consisted of searching for eye-catching and suitable clothing, then feeling out its material, and after approving it, she would then drag it–along with herself–to the fitting room. Tsukasa enjoyed this free fashion show and applauded lightly with a nod each time she walked out in a different outfit.
After a few showcases, her nervousness gave away to confidence as she strolled out of the curtains and posed. She would then wait for Tsukasa’s rating. It was fun! Sometimes he would put a hand on his hips, silently judging her before either giving her a nod or a thumbs-up. It was exhilarating to find that he wasn’t like the other boys she met; the ones who would always groan or go on their phone while their girlfriends were doing her own thing. The fact that he participated and offered suggestions made her like him even more!
Satisfied with how smoothly the day flowed, she walked out the store with her smile stretching all the way to her eyes and flowers blooming around her.
“Thank you for shopping with me today, Tsukasa-kun!” She said with a cute little ‘hehe!’ He smiled back.
“Before we part, there’s a place that I want to go to.” He pointed to a small shop. Himari froze on the spot. “As a thanks for inviting me out today, I want to treat you to some sweets.”
It would be rude to refuse him, and she didn’t have any excuses to use to escape either. Silently, she followed after him and over the threshold of the shop. They were shown in and seated. The moment she picked up the menu, she became helpless, a lost cause.
“I-I eat a lot!” She suddenly said, peeking out from the top of the menu. Tsukasa continued to smile.
“It’s alright. I have a lot of money.” He replied.
She frowned slightly. “But…you worked hard for it from your part-time job.”
“I-I’ll be alright…I only took it because I wanted to get experience.” He said, scratching his cheek. What, did she actually think he was poor?
Himari let out a soft ‘oh!’ of understanding then buried herself back into the menu. “Then…d-don’t regret it!”
The sky was streaked with red and pink clouds that drifted lackadaisically. Himari was so full and content with how her precious free day was spent. She turned to Tsukasa brightly.
“It’s been really fun today!” She said, “Let’s hang out like this again next time!”
“Sure,” he said. They walked to the station and got into the same train. Before she even knew it, they were on the way back to Natsumi’s house, side by side. The two were conversing happily when a sudden jolt of pain made her wince. “What’s wrong?”
“N-nothing,” she said. However, at that moment her hand instinctively reached for the back of her head. His eyes turned cold.
“Did you get hurt from that fight?” He took her hand gently. Himari couldn’t see his face dyed with black and just assured him that she was fine.
“I’m alright, really! But, I’m glad that I was correct. You were the one who threw the rock, weren’t you?”
His movements paused, then he let out a sigh of defeat. “How did you know?”
While she answered, he went behind her to check on the injury. “It was just a vague prediction.” She said promptly. “It doesn’t hurt, don’t worry.”
Tsukasa’s expression turned even darker. “How can it not hurt?”
After parting her hair, he came to a shocking discovery. His heart dropped. It was a bloody mess! In the middle there was a scab about half the size of a fist from when she was thrown onto the wall. How did he not notice this? He gritted his teeth then calmed himself.
“Why did you not tell me?”
Himari looked up slightly. “Did I have to tell you?”
Tsukasa froze. Right. It had only been recently since they started talking and been friends. How could she disclose such information when they weren’t even that close?
Himari, on the other hand, thought differently. How could she tell her crush that she was injured? Wouldn’t that just be asking for attention? What would she expect in return? A kiss on the boo boo?
He released her then conjured up a gentle smile. “...I’m sorry for acting so rashly. But you should get treatment.”
“Haha…I tried but I just couldn’t see the back of my head,” she said, feeling a bit embarrassed. “And if I told Sora, he’d ask what happened and make a fuss.”
“Does Izanami-san’s house have any first aid?” He asked, taking her hand in the most natural way possible while taking the other shopping bags from her. In his other hand, he carried an abnormal amount of bags.
Himari tried her best to recall the interior of the cupboards in the house. “I think…so….?”
He accepted that answer and the two fell silent. Never had she ever seen him be so serious. The vicissitude of his expressions was a shock that quietly hit her. Himari felt like she was a child being led home after being scolded lightly. When they arrived at the front door, she pulled out the keys and they both entered.
The first thing she noticed when she stepped in was the sound of voices. Sora wasn’t supposed to be home today, and Yuu was usually cooped up in his own room. It could only mean–
Her feet carried her to the living room before she even realized, leaving Tsukasa in the dust. She screeched to a stop at the doorway and summoned all of her voice.