"Love is not written on paper, for paper can be erased. Nor is it etched on stone, for stone can be broken. But it is inscribed on a heart and there it shall remain forever."
It was storming out there.
The rumbling of thunder would silence the noise inside the Café; the vibration would make the windows tremble just as the lightning illuminates the sky. People inside the Café looked at each other, nervous smiles on their faces before resuming their conversations or whatever it was they were doing before the lightning and thunder.
The wind was blowing furiously, the blowing sound making it almost scary as people in the street tried to look for shelter. The water was freezing cold and people who enter the establishment would, soon enough, ask for a cup of coffee, tea or cocoa.
The Café was located around the nearest university, half the people inside were students while the other half were teachers or other passers-by. He was sitting on his usual table, one near the window allowing him a perfect view of the streets, the main door and the rest of the Café. In this place was where he could watch the people and still remained unseen.
This wasn't the first time he came to the Café, of course. It has been four years since he started coming to this place. The reason wasn't all that clear to his closest friends or companions and he usually asked to be left alone when he wandered around this zone. No one asked any questions and the ones who were foolish enough to ask were usually left without an answer.
Teal eyes moved from the book in front of him to the door, the sound of a bell announcing the entrance of yet another costumer. Those teal eyes narrowed but there was a glint inside them as they took in the newcomer's figure. It was a woman no older than twenty-five years old, with wavy, strawberry hair, soft lean curves, and familiar grey eyes.
Hitsugaya Toshiro lowered his eyes the moment the woman turned her attention to him. He pretended to be reading trying to get hold of his heartbeat and the sudden feeling of butterflies in his stomach. He bit the inside of his cheeks while trying to focus on the words in the pages of his book. It was futile and he knew it. Once she entered the establishment, whatever he had been doing until then was soon forgotten.
He held the book on a tight grip, shaking his head to try and clear his thoughts. It took a moment but soon enough the words were making sense once again and he resumed his reading.
"Excuse me," Toshiro froze at the sound of the voice; there was a fear inside him of maybe his heart leaving his chest and his brain shutting down forever at the sound of such a melodic and familiar voice. With reluctance, he lifted his head eying the woman in front of him.
Up close, she was even more beautiful than he remembered. There was a teasing smile there and Toshiro was sure the cause of it was the stupid tinge of red adorning his cheeks. She leaned forward which made her assets bounced dangerously close to his face. It was good to know that certain things didn't change.
"Yes?" Good, at least he didn't sound like an idiot but now he sounded like a complete asshole what with the coldness and indifference in his voice.
She faltered for a second but then smiled widely at him, "I'm sorry to bother you but I am wet and cold and there isn't anywhere else where I can sit…do you mind if I sit here?"
There was a slightly suggestive tone in her voice; she dropped her tone a little eying Toshiro with curiosity and mischievousness. Toshiro narrowed his eyes at her, certain that some things never change. He let his eyes wandered on her form taking in the dampness of her pants, and her hair then he nodded his head signaling the chair in front of him.
"Of course." The smile she gave him made his heart stop for a few seconds.
She sat with a warm cup fixing her hair and letting her rucksack on the floor, Toshiro swallowed as his eyes seemed to be glued to her. It took but a few moments before she returned his stare. Her lips quirked again, her eyes gleaming as he blushed profusely and returned to his reading.
He has been coming for four years to this place and in all those years this was the first time he talked face to face with Matsumoto Rangiku. Or what was left of the woman he met once. On the outside nothing has changed. Rangiku was still stunningly beautiful; she still held between her the hardness of someone who was overestimated because of her physical appearance, of someone who wasn't taken seriously. And yet, there is still the softness that made her approachable and trustworthy.
There was another thunder lightning the street outside the window. Toshiro tilted his head to the street watching as the rain seemed to fall stronger than ever. The storm didn't seem to be receding but increasing in ferocity. Out of the corner of his eyes he saw the slightly flinch movement, the glint of fear in her eyes just as she lowered her face taking a small sip from her cup.
"I wish it would stop raining." She mumbled loud enough for Toshiro to hear but also for him to pretend he hadn't. "It's scary."
It took a moment for him to answer, then, "I love storms."
And, oh merciful Zeus, was he stupid? She was looking at him as if he might be. The woman had just confessed she was scare of storms! For God's sake! Her brows knitted up together while her eyes evaded his, she leaned down taking a notebook from her rucksack and proceeded to place it on the table.
"What I mean is…I love storms." Yes, because she didn't get that the first time. Toshiro felt his inner spirit kicked him hard while turning around and leaving. Toshiro was alone on this one.
"Yeah, I kinda get that the first time." It was her tone what made Toshiro turned to her, she was looking at him with an unsure smile which was a strange sight on her. She was never unsure of anything.
"Sorry, I'm just focused on the reading and wasn't really paying attention." He apologized lamely, but it seemed to work because she grinned at him.
"So, I see. What are you reading anyway?"
She placed an elbow on the table, her hand holding her chin while she eyed him and the book with interest. Toshiro couldn't help but admire her now that he was this close to her. Her soft face, the curve of her lips, her petite nose and those grey eyes that had always lured him one way or another. He felt the pain go straight to his heart, the pain of what he lost twenty five years ago. He swallowed holding back any kind of emotion; he closed the book and showed her the cover.
"The Hobbit." He whispered and the woman couldn't help but look up at the sudden misery in his voice. "A…a friend of mine, she…she recommend it to me. She said I would love it. 'A little man and his dragon'" He smiled sorrowful as he said it. "She wasn't wrong, I love the book."
If there was something she could never wear was to see someone so sad and miserable. She tried to smile showing him her sympathy.
"Bad break up?"
He chuckled but there wasn't any humor behind it. "She…she died."
The woman facepalmed, wincing and letting her grey eyes locked with those teal ones, "I'm sorry I…"
He waved shrugging, "It's okay, you didn't know."
"Matsumoto Rangiku." Toshiro set his jaw in a tight grip, his teal eyes watching the hand being offered to him. The name…that name he had long to hear from her lips for so long.
He took her hand in his; he felt an electric jolt going from his hand through his chest as her warm hand closed around his cold one. Her eyes were entirely looking at him with a gently smile playing on her lips.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Hitsugaya Toshiro lover of big, bad storms." He allowed himself a truthful smile, the kind he hadn't allowed himself in front of anyone else since she died and he started frequenting this place.
They spoke for two hours and it was like every conversation he remembered having with her. She was witty and funny, she was considerate and loving. He couldn't take his eyes off of her and he let her speak the whole time, he clung to every single word, memorizing her voice and her expressions. And, as the conversation was getting to an end Toshiro realized something. Something he hadn't thought of before. Things hadn't gone as he planned them a long time ago. He wasn't supposed to make contact with her, she wasn't supposed to meet up with him. Their paths weren't meant to cross themselves all over again.
She had a new life and Toshiro still had his. The young man clenched his fist and lowered his head feeling the sting of tears in his eyes.
And, as Rangiku said good-bye to him thanking him for the conversation and the chair, Toshiro knows he is in trouble. And, the main problem was, by the time she was gone after their conversation his heart was longing for more.
There was a movement on his pocket, interrupting his thoughts. With a sigh he grabbed his cellphone, "Yeah?"
"Shiro-chan! Are you coming now? Urahara-san says Yamamoto-soutaichou needs you urgently."
Toshiro winced as reality hit him in the form (and voice) of Hinamori Momo. He felt a deep, empty void on his chest and soul, the same feeling he got every time he has to go back to Soul Society, that he has to go back to his real life and she wasn't there with him. He grabbed the napkin in which Rangiku had written down her phone number and he put it inside his pocket.
"Yes, I'll be there in a few minutes." Was all he replied before cutting the communication. He stood up and left the Café with a heavy heart and a mind filled with Matsumoto Rangiku.
Time to return to his real life.