Shooting Star. A Love Story. Ch. 8-9. Hard times. Old secrets

  1. Hard times

 

  Ren slipped into the house, trying to avoid his father and the other guest. He couldn’t face them. Not now. He was shaking  from inside and nauseating. He reached Mom’s room, unlocked it and fell on the floor after a few steps. Cold sweat was running down his spine as he lied there, desperate to cry and desperate to hold back his tears. “ Mom! How am I going to survive this?!”-he moaned. “I wish you were here….I need you…..Mom…”. But nothing happened. Silence in the room was deafening. Ren lied there motionlessly until he heard the front door closing behind Kenzo and his uncle. He swallowed hard and gradually relaxed. He couldn’t let his family know his chagrin.

   Gathering all his strength, the youth stood up and walked to the door, when he noticed the awkward position of a painting on the wall. When he tried to fix that, a small booklet fell out from behind it. It was a diary. His mother’s diary. “Thanks, Mom!”-whispered Ren and hid the booklet in his pocket, shutting the door carefully.Half an hour later, Sumiko found him in his room, resting. She sat on the bed and ruffled his hair lovingly. She was glowing from inside.

-You like him?-asked Ren in a muffled voice. “Oh, gods!….”

-Yes!-smiled Sumiko. He’s different from how the journals were depicting him. He’s gentle and considerate, a very enjoyable company.

-He is….-agreed Ren with a small sigh.

-This means that you will accept him?-asked Sumiko, full of hope. I want so much to see you both becoming good friends! I would not give up on your love for anyone, my little brother!

  Her words ripped through Ren’s heart. He embraced Sumiko, whispering:

-You don’t have to, Sumi! I love you and I am happy for you.

He kissed  her and jumped off the bed,masking the surge of emotions.

-Tell Father that I’ll be down in a moment.  

Sumiko left happy and relieved while the youth took his cellphone and sent a message.

“Sumiko likes you. Make her happy. Ren”

  Travelling almost instantly, the message found Kenzo pacing up and down his room and having a difficult debate with his uncle.

-Is there anything you dislike about this girl?-asked uncle Seiji.

-No, no! She’s wonderful and anyone would be happy to marry her. But….I cannot commit to her.-blurted out Kenzo.

-May I ask why? Is there someone you love maybe?

Silence. Kenzo pressed his forehead to the window and shut his eyes. Anger and despair was all he could feel.

-…..and from your silence, I assume you cannot marry that person.-concluded the old man. I see. Then I must ask you, Kenzo to put aside your love interest and act responsibly towards your family and peers. Marry Sumiko Shibata and build a family of your own. You are the only hope we have for the future of our family. Please consider this, before rejecting her.

  In the silence following his words, the clicking of the message reverberated around the room. Kenzo grabbed the phone and read the row of letters dancing before his eyes: “Sumiko likes you. Make her happy. Ren.” He squeezed the cell-phone until it cracked.

-Please make the necessary arrangements with Professor Shibata. Tell him I ask his daughter in marriage.-said Kenzo, turning to his uncle.

“I’m not giving up on you, Ren. Never!”

 

  1. Old secrets

 

-I am happy that you support your sister’s marriage, Ren- said Professor Shibata contently.

He  had asked his son into his study after dinner. Now, that he got the confirmation call from Seiji Nishimura, he had one more problem left to deal with and he knew that it might prove difficult. Ren was hard to grasp, despite his mild appearance.  

-Sumiko will be well cared of by her future husband and his family-he continued. She deserves that. One cannot wish for a better daughter than her. Now, it’s time to talk about your future!

-Yes, Father…replied Ren, muffling a sigh.

The Professor opened the drawer of his desk and took out a carefully rolled document and slowly unfolded it, handing it to his son.

– The time you were born, the Ikeda family was blessed with a little girl, Hanako. Our families were very close and we have decided then to unite them by engaging the two of you at birth. We’ve decided to share the news now because you are both of age and you are also finishing your studies. Ikeda-san and I, we agreed to renew officially your engagement at the time of with Sumiko’s marriage in June. What do you say about that?

  Ren took a deep breath before answering. He was on the verge of exploding but he didn’t want to hurt his father. He could see him getting more frail with each year so he was trying hard to keep his emotions under control.

-I wish you wouldn’t take such a decision in my name. I know Hanako and I have no feelings for her. I sincerely believe that she deserves a better man than I could ever be. But since you’ve already made the arrangements, I will not bring shame on your name, Father. I leave this whole matter in your hands. May I leave now?

  He stood up briskly and left , without waiting for an answer. He locked himself in his room and cursed his own existence, face buried in his pillow. When he finally calmed down, he took the secret diary and started to read, ignoring the message on his cell phone….

  Kenzo desperately tried to reach Ren after his uncle went to sleep. Though he sent a lot of messages, there was no answer.

“ Dammit, Ren! Say something!!”

No reply. The messages were lost to a connection deafened by pain. Finally, Kenzo decided to go and sleep. Tomorrow was another day and he had plans for the future. He wasn’t going to let fate drag him down.

       Sitting atop his bed, Ren was reading the diary breathlessly. It was both heartbreaking and shedding light upon certain events. The arranged marriage have had put a strain on the delicate hearted young girl that was to become Sumiko and Ren’s mother. Her confessions in the diary were speaking about her loneliness, her sense of emptiness and her efforts to repay somehow the kindness and care of her husband. She was dying with each day and only the birth of her children lifted the gloom of her life. She showered them with all her love and convinced her husband to rebuild the garden according to her plans. She wanted to create a dreamland for both her children and herself; a place to soothe her aching heart.

    Then , one day she learned about the arrangement made for her little boy’s future marriage and her world collapsed. She tried to argue with her husband but he told her that he cannot undo what was already agreed. Breaking the engagement would damage their position and ruin the future of all. There was no return! She couldn’t take that…..

“ I lived this loveless life in the hope that I could protect you and your sister from such an ordeal. I failed you both….I cannot go on with this anymore. Ainonai=Loveless. This is not life. I hope one day you’ll understand and  that you will forgive me….”

     She died two days after the last entry of the diary.

Ren slowly closed the diary, holding it in his hands, pensively. He smiled inwardly. The diary has answered his questions. He put it on the shelf and took his cell phone to read and reply to the messages.

“I’ll be at the pond.Ren”

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The Lost Butterfly-a story of aliens, love and humans (1g)

Chapter 1g.

They all returned to the city in high spirits. They barely had time to rest. New Year’s Eve was closing and everybody looked forward to the Masque Party.

Yoshiasu was slightly reluctant to the idea of dressing up but he gave in to Angela. After all she has done for them, he didn’t have the heart to ruin the fun! He agreed on letting her to pick whatever she thought it would suit them for the party. He was pleased to know that George was joining them.

George Brown, Angela’s fiancé was a good-looking, pleasant and reliable man. He was totally besotted with her and she was radiant in his company. Yoshiasu and George used to get well along and George was increasingly curious about Fuyuki. He treated Angela’s enthusiastic description with slight disbelief, but he had to put aside his curiosity for the moment. As soon as they arrived at the hotel, Angela handed the costumes to the boys and sent them to get dressed while she locked herself up in the other room with Fuyuki.

Puzzled but amused, George and Yoshiasu dressed up, laughed as they saw each-other

“ changed” into a samurai and a knight and decided to wait for their companions in the lobby. Some of their mutual friends were already there and the party was gradually gathering glitz and fun.

The girl in the mirror was incredibly beautiful. She had a delicate, oval face with soft skin like cherry blossoms. Her nose was straight, with nicely curved nostrils. The almond-shaped amethyst eyes were underlined by heavy black eyelashes and she had thin, well-shaped eyebrows.

The young auburn haired woman took a small brush and toned the delicately curved lips with a touch of crimson lip-gloss. She helped the girl to comb her silky black hair into a simple but elegant shape held up by hair-pins hid under cherry blossoms.

She then helped her into a red kimono decorated with silver and gold butterflies and tied the obi around her slim waist. She took two steps behind and looked at the young girl; she was pleased with the result.

-Gods, Fuyuki, you are too beautiful to be true!-she said.

-For me beauty has always meant trouble-replied Fuyuki.

-Come on, let’s go-said Angela. I’m sure that down there’s no girl more beautiful than you.  George and Yoshiasu are waiting for us in the hall. I want to see their faces when they’ll see you.

-I’m not so sure-sighed Fuyuki but followed her.

Angela was looking sparkling in her moss-green velvet dress that underlined her appealing curves. She took Fuyuki by the hand and descended in the large hall. The party was just starting. Their partners were easy to point out: the handsome samurai and the good-looking knight were surrounded by happily chatting young ladies. Music, laughter and chatter filled the lobby as Angela and Fuyuki crossed the crowd. Though people around them were all looking great and having fun, slowly, people were making way to the fiery princess and the butterfly-girl.

They stopped next to Yoshiasu and George; the talking stopped abruptly. George’s eyes rounded as he spotted the two girls; Angela raised a finger meaning “Don’t ruin the surprise” and waited for Yoshiasu to react.

-Mr. Tanaka- she said. I think I found your lost butterfly.

Yoshiasu turned brusquely and stood still. Mesmerized by the look of the girl in red kimono he was unable to utter a sound. She looked like she just stepped out of a Japanese stamp. Under the intense scrutiny Fuyuki turned pink. He gazed slightly panicked into Yoshiasu’s eyes; the samurai smiled and whispered: “I love you. You are so beautiful…”.

He took the butterfly-girl by the hand and turned towards Angela’s fiancé:

-George, this is Fuyuki.

-You’re gorgeous-said George and they shook hands.

-Thank you-said Fuyuki with a shy smile.

-Ladies-turned Yoshiasu around-you have to excuse us. Angela, George let’s pick a drink.

The four of them left the premises followed by amazed or envious looks. George affectionately kissed his bride. “ You’re great!-he whispered in her ears. How on earth did you do this?-he asked incredulously.

-I’ve done nothing special-laughed Angela. I’ve just followed his natural beauty. They look great together, isn’t it?

The tall and erect samurai was moving ahead with dignity firmly holding the hand of his blushing butterfly. Together with Angela and George they chose a remote table in a quieter corner and the night went on pleasantly. Fuyuki relaxed and enjoyed himself with his friends. When the clock turned twelve and New Year arrived, Yoshiasu took Fuyuki in his arms and they kissed passionately in the middle of the cheering crowd.

By one in the morning they left the party along with their friends. Yoshiasu whispered a warm “Thank you” in Angela’s ear and hugged her. He then took Fuyuki and they disappeared in their room.

-I like Fuyuki-said George-but I would have never guessed that SHE is a man.

-He’s definitely a man, but he’s a milder, gentle one-said Angela.

-He’s a good addition to the strong-willed Yoshiasu-agreed George.

-And Yoshiasu is madly in love with him-laughed Angela.

-It’s written all over his face-chuckled George. I thought he might faint when he saw him tonight. I also saw a lot of envious or puzzled faces around; it was fun.

-Shame on you, George Brown-said Angela and kissed her fiancé.

They shut the door behind them laughing whole heartedly. In their own room, Yoshiasu and Fuyuki were getting off their costumes. Yoshiasu undressed easily but Fuyuki needed help. He turned his back to Yoshiasu:

-You have to help me out; I don’t think I can ask Angela now…

Yoshiasu grinned and untied the obi, letting loose the kimono. He bent over Fuyuki and kissed the soft skin of the neck; he then pushed down the kimono and took the younger man in his arms. Fuyuki’s breath hitched as Yoshiasu kissed his earlobe and lovingly laid him down on the bed. He slowly melted under the passionate kisses and Yoshiasu’s eager touch. They made love and they fell asleep tangled in each-other’s arms.

As holidays ended, life turned back to normal. Yoshiasu was quite busy at work and Fuyuki was working on his art projects; he was doing it successfully.

Winter was swept away by the warmth of spring and Nature came alive in full blossom. People themselves were changing along with the newly buzzing life. Fuyuki shortened his hair leaving it just a little over his neck but his natural beauty remained unchanged. Though he had gained a lot more confidence and it looked like that for now he could stand up for himself, he was still the same mild and sensitive person.

Angela and George got married in April and as their close friends, Yoshiasu and Fuyuki attended the wedding. They were more than happy to share their friends’ moment of utmost happiness. The messages they sent home from honeymoon spoke about the same state of bliss.