Hopeful brown eyes looked at the tall boy with the white strak in his hair. ''Marco?'' The girl asked, nervously twiddling her fingers.
Her only answer was a dumbstruck silence.
She bit her lips. That wasn't how she imagined it he would react to the news... heck, it was the last reaction she woild have imagined him.
''You are pregnant?'' The boy managed to get out. '' How? Since when?''
She gulped. ''I – I found out yesterday, a-and I don't know what to do...'' she mumbled out, suddenly scared of his... distancing from her.
'' Ah... '' The boy nodded, distracted. '' So, how far along are you?''
She gulped. ''T - Three m – months...'' Her voice was shaky. The boy's voice didn't bode well with her.
''Can't you abort it?'' the boy asked her, steel eyes intense.
She flinched. ''It's too late...'' She whispered, her hands covering her stomach protectively.
The boy sighed an explosive sigh. He felt sorry for her...
She was petite, her pregnancy wasn't visible, her spiky brown hair was still in the boyish haircut she had worn it in high – school. She was a little bit taller, and even then, she had seemed to be a every bit of a tomboy, thanks to her clothes. She was clothed in big hunter green sweater, making her look like a pixie, what with her small body, and in baggy black pants.
He gulped. She was so vulnerable and so...
But he had his own life. He had school to finish and he had already made a his was into San Antonio Armadillos.
''Sena... '' He began. Brown eyes looked up at him. He gulped.
'' I am sorry, but...You're better off without me.''
And Sena's world crashed.
And that was it. Strangely anticlimatic. Lately, when she was in her apartment, with a big cup of tea in her hands and wrapped into her favourite blanket that was printed with tiny Devilbats, a gag gift from her team when she had went to Notre Dame, she pondered how to ... what?
Her thoughts were in a jumble. Sure, the pregnancy was unexpected, and because she was already so far along, the abortion was out of the question. When she had found out about pregnancy, she had been hysteric with fear.
What would she do? How would she tell her parents... especially her mother?
Her father was always supportive of her decisions... but her mother... She gulped at the thought, a bitter feeling welling in her throat.
Well, her mother always cautioned her about Marco... and she had been foolish enough to disregard her warnings.
But the pregnancy was honestly a surprise...
She sighed. She still had a school to go to, she was in an apartment, she had a job to pay for the rent ... the list went on.
Pensively, she rubbed the small bump, and she felt the warmth of her skin and it was so strange to know that under that skin, her skin, in her belly, there was growing a new life...She gulped.
In some way, it was a relief. She was sad, of course, she felt even betrayed and for some time, she was angry, but she understood. Marco couldn't afford her to bring along... no matter how painful was that to know. He just... She sighed.
''It's only you and me, now, baby,'' She whispered, a small, broken smile on her face.
Honestly, she didn't know where she was taking her strength from. Anyone in her shoes would broke ling time ago, bawling with stress and hysteria. And here she was, almost eight months pregnant, craving cucumbers and shaved ice, working full-time as to pay the rent and food, and still she somehow found time to go to college classes.
Mamori was fretting about her, insisting to check on her every evening – Mamori was now a preschool teacher assistant, and a very good one, and Sena was taking her classes, and she was working in a factory. Luckily, her boss gave her a job of a secretary, so she didn't strain herself too much.
Sena looked up at the evening sky. She was slowly heading toward her apartment, after she had bought her groceries. It was a warm summer evening, pleasantly warm after the heat of the day. She smiled as she felt the baby's movement. ''We'll be home soon, '' She promised her impatient inhabitant, laughing softly.
To anyone else, she looked to be positively radiant. Her pregnancy gave her a glow that made her ... beautiful. Brown eyes watched the changing colors of the sky happily, as she was watching the setting sun, light yellow dress from the cotton with small white roses enhacing her beauty as she was slowly walking home.
''Meow.'' She blinked.
The meowing came out of the dumpster... What!
Sena gasped. She hurried as much as she could, waddling as she was, to the dumpster, that she heard the pitifully weak cry coming from.
She opened the trashcan and her brown eyes widened.
In here, there was a small gray kitten with the biggest blue eyes she had ever seen.
''Oh, you poor thing,'' Sena cooed, as she carefully lifted the tiny kitten. Her hear gave a pang as she remembered Pitt – the first pet she had ever gotten.
''Who would want to throw such a darling like you away?'' She mused as she carefully lifted her bag of groceries with left hand, and in the right hand, she cuddled the tiny gray kitten.
And just like that, Aoshi became the new family member of Sena's small family.
Sena huffed with exasperation. Suzuna was being annoying once again. Not that the rollerskating girl wasn't a good friend, but right now, Sena wanted some quiet, shaved ice and cucumbers... and for the cramps to go away.
Normally, Sena was a very patient person. But Suzuna was exerting the limits of said patience, what with her chattering and –
A feeling, like something became loose – not painful, but more like strange - and then, she felt something wet between her legs.
She blinked. ''Suzuna...'' She said calmly. '' Please call the ambulance, my water has broke.''
No, she really didn't have time to think about what could have been. She stifled a laugh at Suzuna's panicked expression.
Five hours later, she was sweaty, exhausted, and her body ached all over, but she was happy – even happier when she had won the Christmas Bowl.
Nobody had known that she gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl in the world. In that moment, all those months of work, suffering, sudden bouts of crying and strange food cravings, were repaid in full and then some.
She smiled a watery smile, as she looked at the small bundle, wrapped in the pink blanket. ''Welcome, Sora – chan.''. The baby's deep blue eyes looked at her solemnly.
Sora – chan had grown into a loud, lively child, and she was interested in many, many things. So Sena enrolled her into ballet, piano and T-ball lessons, ans she still worked – she had her own apartment now, as Suzuna had moved out with her boyfriend, and it seemed that this time, it would be serious relationship. Sena smiled, and silently, she wished her energetic friend all the luck.
She came home, once again, tired from the all-day work.
''Mama!'' A bright, innocent voice called her, and Sena smiled. ''Mrow.'' She chuckled as she felt a soft fur and sinewy body twining between her legs in now already customary greeting. '' Hello to you too, Aoshi,'' She replied to the feline, smiling sligtly while she closed the door, as to not let the cold winds of winter in. A swift footsteps were heard, and she had full hands of one very enthusiastic five-year-old.
Sparkling brown eyes, just like hers, stared up at her, and then, Sora launched at her.
Yelping, Sena barely managed to save her balance with the additional weight on her body. ''You' re back!'' Sora announced excitedly. '' Can we have oden?''
Sena laughed and nodded.
''Kobayashi – san,'' She called. ''Thank you for taking care of her. Would you like to stay for lunch?''
An old woman smiled a small smile. '' It was no trouble, dear,'' She answered, her face kind. ''And I would like that very much.''
'' Yay!'' Sora cheered, as she was let down from the hug, and sprinted into the direction of the kitchen. The old woman chuckled at Sena's look of dismay at her daughter's rambucintous behavior. '' Don't worry so much, dear,'' she chided Sena. Sena sighed. '' Well, I couldn't help but worry... I don't want her to slip, and - '' The old woman nodded. '' That's understandable. And what did I tell you about calling me Kobayashi – san?'' She asked Sena mock – sternly. Sena chuckled sheepisly. '' Not to?'' She answered meekly. She was rewarded with a long – suffering and amused look of her neighbour. '' Call me Mikoto, dear child,'' The old woman told her exasperatedly.
The time was rolling around so fast, Sena mused, as she walked to her car, her hands full with grocery bags and some other bags. Humming slightly, she loaded the car, when she noticed the left tire was flat. She groaned. '' Ohhh... That's it!'' She growled. She was tired, the job was demanding, what with holidays being so near and right now, she wanted a big cup of hot chocolate, topped with lots of whipped vream and with sprinklers –
'' May I help you, miss?'' She heard a voice behind her, startling her into a yelp.
'' If it wouldn't be too much trouble... She answered distractedly, as she turned around –
'' – Sena?'' She heard a quiet, disbelieving voice. Sena blinked. '' Huh?'' She asked dumbly.
There, in front of her, stood a tall man, clad in heavy winter coat and with elegant glasses perched on his nose.
Sena blinked as she was trying to remember... 'Tall, tall and... gosh, is he so handsome..' She mused idly.
''Don't you remeber me? I'm Takami Ichiro – '' The man introduced himself, and the proverbial light in Sena's brain was lit.
'' Oh!'' She exclaimed, flustered. '' I – I'm so sorry, Takami-san! I didn't recognize you...'' She trailed off, blushing for all she was worth.
Takami smiled a small, gentle smile. ''It's okay, Sena. So, what can I do to help?''
He watched the girl – no, young woman now, blush even more. '' Well... if you know how to fix the tire, then be my guest,'' She replied sardonically. She sighed as she put in the car the last grocery bag. In her doing so, Takami noticed a child seat in the backseat.
'' So, could you?'' He was startled out of him musings.'' Oh-! Well, yes, right...'' He was flustered as her eyes were scrutinizing him. ''I suppose so..'' He finished lamely.
He was rewarded with a briliant smile. '' Oh, thank you!'' Sena exclaimed, visibly relieved. ''So what I can do to help?''
Takami smiled at her eagerness. '' After I fix the tire, why don't you join me for a cup of coffee?'' He nodded at the nearby coffe shop.
''Um, er...'' He could easily see he had flustered her. '' Make that a cup of hot chocolate with a lot of whipped cream and sprinkles, and you have a deal.'' She finished awkwardly, making Takami chuckle in surprise.
''Then it's a deal,'' He replied, heading to check the flat tire.
'' So do you have kids?'' He asked her, while he was fixing the tire. Sena was thrown in a loop. She blinked.
''She's five.'' She blurted out, even before her brain processed what she said. ''I saw the car seat.'' Takami explained. '' So I was curius..'' He finished with the fixing and gathered the tools, standing up.
Once again, Sena was amazed with Takami's sheer height. She had remembered him as a tall quarterback for Oujo White Knights, but somehow she had managed to forgot it quite nicely. Well, in her memories, Takami was the only one who could rival Hiruma for his deviousness and that was it. She didn't have any contacts with her old crow nowadays, what with her being a single mother and all...
Takami smiled at her embarrasment. ''Tell me about her. Does she have your eyes?''
Sena smiled. ''Yes, she does.''
Later, when they were in the coffee shop, with Takami having black coffee and Sena with her hot chocolate with whipped cream and sprinkles, they were talking, and surprisingly, Sena didn't feel any awkwardness between them. Maybe it was because of Takami's gentle nature, or his understanding and because they just... clicked together. It was cliche, but it was the truth.
''So you are children's doctor?'' Sena asked, her eyes inquisitive. ''I thought you would go to the sports's medicine...?'' She trailed off questioningly. Takami blinked. '' You knew?'' He asked, surprised. Embarrased, Sena nodded as she fiddled with the spoon. '' Well, yes...'' She admitted.
Takami felt warm at her admission. '' At first, I had thought that, too, '' He admitted ruefully. '' But well, when I was doing the practice, I had to treat a little boy with a Guillon Barre's syndrome and that clinched it for me..'' He chuckled self-consciously. Sena nodded, smilling. '' Yeah... children turn your life around in a blink of an eye, '' she agreed, smiling ruefully at the sheepish man. '' I think it's great that you are a pediatrics' doctor.''
She watched Takami blush slightly, and she smiled. Takami was tall as ever, and his hair was a little bit longer – his glasses were the same, just with a thinner frames in silver color, making him seem more mature now. He was clothed in dark blue sweater that enhaced the color of his eyes.
Takami watched her also, as she looked at the family in the nearby booth affectionately, a small bit of longing in her eyes.
Sena had grown up – she matured into a woman. She wasn't a tomboy anymore, but a woman in all implications of the word. She wasn't overly tall – in fact, she reached only to Takami's chest, and for some reason, he was absurdly satisfied with that fact. He hair was longer and in a messy bun, with some bangs escaping and framing her delicate face quite nicely. She was clothed in a dark gray sweater, which only enhaced her gentle beauty. She was a little too pale to be healthy and a little too tired, but Takami was enchanted with those warm brown eyes, the color of rich earth all the same.
She spoke with confidence she had lacked when she was younger, and Takami found out that he loathed to end their unintended meeting.
Sena looked at the wristwatch, and blinked, startled. '' Is it that late already?'' She asked, surprised. Takami frowned, also looking at his wristwatch. '' It's six in the evening, why?'' Sena smiled an apologetic smile. '' I have to pick Sora-chan from her piano lessons...'' She trailed off, before finishing off her chocolate.
For some reason, Takami was disappointed. '' Oh..'' He commented. Sena paused and looked at the tall man. '' Well... '' She began hesistantly. '' You could call me... ''
Takami smiled. '' I would like that,'' he agreed.''
When he came home, Takami couldn't help not to smile at the memories of Sena. His flat, modern as it was, seemed somewhat less foreboding and more welcoming, even if he didn't have anyone to share it with.
Sighing, he hung his coat on the coat-hanger, and toed off his shoes. Luckily, it was Friday, meaning he would have weekend for himself... and for once, it didn't seem to be such a daunting prospect anymore.
Beep. This is Takami Ichiro. I'm not home at the moment, please leave the message after the beep. I will call you when I am available.
Takami blinked. A voicemail?
'I would like of you to come home for Christmas, no excuses. And I already arranged for your date, so no complaints! Come – '
This time, in addition to wincing, Takami hissed, as he hit the stop button. His mother was one interfering old biddy, he had to give her that. Don't get him wrong, he loved his mother, but he didn't like how she always tried to push him together with nice, lovely girls –
Christmas time for one Takami Icihro was a tantamount to torture, since he had been fifteen years of age. Because his family was traditional, it was expected of him to marry an appropriate girl and all the works. For Takami, it was even harder, as his mother was pushing him into relationships relentlessly. The one he had with Wakana had ended disastrously just because of that simple fact. Until now, Takami had always found a reason, why he didn't have a date for Christmas, but this time, his mother had him between proverbial rock and a hard place. To the top of it all, he wouldn't like to subject anyone to his family... He winced at his memories.
But he didn't have a choice. If he didn't want to be shackled with some harpy, then he would better –
Dark blue eyes widened.
'Was is really so simple?'
He grabbed his cellphone, and began searching.
Yawning, Sena glared at her cellphone crossly. ''I swear, if it's Suzuna or Mamori again... – ''' She griped, annoyed with her well – meaning friends.
Suzuna and Mamori were trying to get her back on the dating scene, and Sena was fed up with it.
Sighing defeatedly, she rolled on her bed, eyeing her novel regretfilly, as she searched for the blasted cellphone.
One of those days, she swore, she would simply threw it into the toiled and flushed it down. Problem solved.
She pressed the key for connecting.
''Yes?'' She growled.
'' Um... Did I call at bad time?'' The male voice said, taken aback.
Sena groaned. '' Ah... It's you, Takami-san.'' She rolled on her back, closing her eyes. '' No, I am just cross...You see, Mamori-nee and Suzuna are trying to get me to date again – '' She sighed. '' And I just don't want to.'' Takami hummed.
''Well..'' Takami said hesistantly. '' I need your help,'' He finished lamely. He was standing in front of the windows, looking at the falling snow.
''What do you need?'' Sena's voice came over. Takami gulped. '' Um, well... Could you... accompany me to family's dinner at Christmas evening?'' He asked. '' Please, I really need you, otherwise I will be stuck with one of the girls my mother wants me to date and..'' He grimaced. '' She just doesn't get that I am not interested.''
Sena chuckled, and Takami shivered at the sound. '' Well.. '' Sena mused. ''I have Sora – chan to think about...''
'' Think about it,'' he urged her. ''You get your meddling friends off your back, and I got my mother off mine.''
Sena made a humming sound. ''Well, you got me here... but how would we explain Sora-chan 's presence? ''
'Success!' He mentally did a dance in his head.
Sena was checking the last minute details.' Mistletoe, check. Presents, check. Christmas dinner, check. ' Suddenly, she was hugged from behind, and she squeaked a startled squeak.
'' You already checked all things twice, darling,'' A deep voice chuckled into her ear. Sena scowled half – heartedly.
''Ichiro!'' She admonished him, turning around in his embrace.
Mischevous deep blue eyes looked at her, while he smiled his devilish smirk, making her blush and sigh exasperatedly. '' Don't scare me like that!'' She scolded him, a small smile on her lips.
She was rewarded with a deep kiss. ''Well, I missed your love,'' he retorted playfully, with a hint of something deeeper in his words.
Sena smiled at her fiance of the half year. ''Love you too,'' she returned, smiling shyly.
''Papa!'' Takami groaned at the voice.
'' Well, duty calls.'' He told the giggling Sena resignedly.
''Coming, Princess.'' He called back, before looking at Sena again. ''One more kiss?'' He implored her.
Sena chuckled. ''If you really need it...'' She teased him, and then, she pecked him on the nose.
''There we go. Now, shoo, off with you, go help Sora – chan.''
Takami pouted. ''You are a mean one, Miss Grinch.'' He growled playfully.
Sena laughed. ''Then I will have to repay you later,'' She whispered to him seductively, a small, sensuous smile on her lips.
'' See that you do.'' His voice was deeper, rougher and sent a frisson of desire through Sena's body.
She looked at her parents, smiling gently at seeing them so in love with each other.
''Hey..'' Sora turned around, looking at her Takeshi. He was a tall young man, with black hair and violet eyes, quite unusual combination. ''Your parents again?'' He asked her, a small smile on his face. Sora smiled. She had grown into a beautiful young woman, long dark brown hair with a small white streak at her right temple, which was now done in a beautiful bun decorated with water lily, the white streak falling freely on the right side of her face. She nodded. '' Yeah. I'm wondering, if someday, we would be like them... still in love with each other.''
Takeshi looked at his pondering bride. She was beautiful, and he felt really lucky to have her in his life. She was clothed in creamy dress with silver roses, and she was beautiful. He looked at her parents and he couldn't help but marvel at their devotion to each other.
''I hope we would be at least half as lucky,'' He concluded, as they watched the elder pair dance in the moonlight.