Chapter 1: Movie Date
I wonder what I should wear.
Azusa looked through her mess of a closet, trying to figure out what outfit she should try on next. It's been far too long since she had been to the movie theaters (and no, that weird dream didn't count!), and it's been even longer since she had gotten a chance to hang out with Ui like this. Ever since Azusa had excitedly called up Ui and Jun that she had gotten into the same college as the rest of HTT, she was saddened to learn that the two of them had gotten into different colleges than her. Though it would have been nice to have all of them going to the same college together, Ui had decided that she wanted to go to a college that offered courses so that she could pursue her dream of becoming a kindergarten teacher, and Jun surprised the lot of them by brazenly proclaimed that she was aiming to become a nurse, of all things. Understanding her friends' choices, and wondering what she would want to pursue as a career, she decided on a business major, and immediately delved into classes filled with economic terms and public speaking projects. She became more confident in speaking in front of a large crowd, thanks to her experiences playing in a band, and she was already so good at organizing lists and managing expenses that she excelled in all of her classes. Though she didn't share classes with her senpais, the five of them would often take her places, exploring new stores and trying new things. She had even been dragged into a place that sold milk tea with tapioca balls in it, known as "boba," which came in plastic sealed cups where you had to poke through the seal with a pointed straw. Though she was fond of milk tea, the texture made her squirm and she preferred to not have the little balls clogging up the straw. Yui-senpai, on the other hand, nearly choked on the new drink, then decided to go up to the counter and sample all of their flavors before Azusa gave Yui the rest of her own drink.
Aha! Found the perfect outfit!
Azusa settled on a white shirt with reddish trim around the neck, patterned with diamonds around her upper chest area. The sleeves ran up to her elbows, and billowed out slightly. She put on a pair of blue pants and a set of red sneakers to compliment her top, and she checked her cell phone.
"Perfect, just in time. Good thinking, Ui, picking a matinee to go to."
Summer break meant higher movie ticket prices, but on Tuesday and Thursday mornings a particular theater charges only $5 per ticket, so this was definitely worth waking up early for a movie.
Taking her bike, Azusa skimmed along the road, humming a familiar bouncy tune. From the basket attached to her handlebars, her phone chirped. Pulling over onto the sidewalk next to a river, Azusa answered the call.
"This is Azusa."
"Ah, Azusa-chan? Are you at the theaters already? I saved us a couple of seats."
"Oh, Ui! Yeah, I'm almost there, just a couple more blocks to go. Did you bring snacks?"
"Yup, brought a whole purse full of them, along with a couple of water bottles."
"Gotcha, Ui, thanks for the save. Movie food is expensive."
"It's no trouble. Get here soon, I'll be watching some of the ads until you get here."
Azusa ended the call, and then started pedaling once more. She parked her bike outside the theater, careful to lock it in case someone got any funny ideas about stealing her bike, and walked inside, handing her pre-paid ticket to the ticket collector. After finding the right theater number, she walked inside, only to find that the theater itself had completely changed. The rows were a lot wider, and the chairs were a lot bigger than she remembered. From the middle of the room, a slender arm shot up, waving her over. Azusa skipped up the steps, rushing to hug her friend.
"Missed you, Ui!"
"Me too, Azusa! It's been a while, hasn't it?"
"Yeah, definitely. Um, which one of these seats was number 8 again?"
"This one over here," said Ui, patting the one on her opposite side. Azusa marveled at the space between this row and the one in front of them, as usually she would have had to awkwardly climb over Ui's legs to get past.
"What's up with the chairs? They've never had this much room in the rows before," she asked. Ui smiled, and gestured to the seat.
"See for yourself," she said. Azusa plopped onto the chair, only to sink into it a couple of centimeters.
This is super-padded! It's really soft! she thought. She noticed a set of buttons on the arm of her chair, and curiously pressed one of them. Immediately, the seat started reclining back, leaning Azusa back with it, and a footrest appeared from the bottom of the chair to lift her legs into the air. Ui giggled at Azusa's obvious surprise.
"They added reclining chairs to the theaters now. Pretty neat, right?"
"This explains why they asked us to reserve them online ahead of time. Because now they have actually good seats!"
"I know, right?"
Exchanging similar stories of their college adventures, the girls felt like time hadn't passed at all, but before they knew it, the lights were dimming and the theatrical trailers were about to start playing. Sharing a smile and falling silent, they sat through the trailers, occasionally making remarks about the upcoming movies, and silently freaking out together about the new live-action movie of a cartoon they loved growing up.
The last trailer finished, the girls reclined back and settled down as the movie started playing. It was a new romantic comedy, and they had decided on this movie amongst the list of kids' movies, animated films, and sequels that looked to be not as good as the first movie. But this was actually looking to be a pretty decent movie; in fact, it was actually funny. Azusa started blushing furiously at the sex scene, and although the girls were in college, it was still a bit weird to see things like this, even though the movie itself didn't show much skin on screen. As the movie was starting to build towards a climax, she barely noticed that the back of Ui's hand had been brushing against the back of her own on their shared armrest.
Um, when exactly did our hands get this close? And why am I even thinking something like this. Stop it, Azusa, focus on the movie, focus on the main guy, who's . . . currently shirtless right now. Yeah, yeah, just focus on that! Ohmygod I'm overthinking things again . . .!
During Azusa's little mental argument with herself, she didn't even realize that she had started brushing back against Ui's hand. Azusa quickly stopped her hand from any further movements, and glanced nervously in Ui's direction, scared to find out if Ui had noticed.
Ui was starting right at Azusa, not even focusing on the movie anymore.
Yup, she definitely noticed . . . Azusa thought. Oh, how she wished that she could sink down into the fluffiness of the chair and hide her obvious embarrassment. Suddenly, Ui whispered in her ear,
"D-Did you want to hold my hand?"
Azusa turned and faced Ui head on, cheeks going a brilliant crimson. Ui's face was full of curiosity, with some determination and a hint of embarrassment thrown in for good measure. Azusa slowly nodded, and then Ui took the initiative, lacing her fingers with Azusa's, their slightly sweaty palms connecting, holding, with time crawling to a standstill. Every now and then, they'd break the hold only to dry sweaty hands on their jeans before joining hands once again, not sure of what else to do beyond that. Azusa applied a little pressure into her grip, and Ui responded with equal pressure, allowing them to share the warmth between their hands. After a little while, Azusa felt a little less awkward, and started to get used to the feeling of Ui's hand in her own.
After what seemed like an eternity, the credits finally scrolled onto the screen. The lights brightened up the room, and the other moviegoers began to stand up and stretch, and slowly file out of the viewing area. Azusa and Ui were one of the last few people still watching the credits play, the bouncy pop song playing in the background. Their hands were still intertwined, and both of them shifted nervously in their seats, unsure whether to stay silent or break the tension. It was the brunette who broke the silence first.
"Um . . ." she started, barely audible underneath the rhythm of the ending credits song.
"Y-Yes?" Azusa stuttered out. Ui held up their hands, still linked together.
"Does this . . . I mean . . . does this mean that we're . . . dating?"
"What?!" Azusa exclaimed, a little too loudly than she would have liked. She turned and looked around the theater, but they were the last ones there.
"I-I mean . . . if that's not what you had in mind, I'm sorry, it's just that . . . um, oh . . . I . . . I'm sorry, if I hurt your feelings in any way . . ."
Azusa looked at Ui, and she couldn't help but smile. She had never seen the younger Hirasawa sister look so flustered before; Ui was always the composed, gentle girl that Azusa knew, so seeing her nervously floundering for words, cheeks bright red, was . . . actually kind of cute!
Azusa stood up, readjusted her grip on Ui's hand, and pulled her up so that they were both standing.
"Azusa . . ."
Azusa smiled even more widely.
"Well, since you asked nicely . . . I suppose our date doesn't have to end here, now does it?"
Ui giggled, and swung their hands back and forth as they exited the theater. They started talking about the movie, and even though they missed a few scenes here and there . . .
I suppose this was worth it, after all! Azusa thought, as they stepped into the bright light of the outdoors.
Chapter 2: K-ON! – Movie Night (Azusa x Ui) – Ch.2
New chapter, new story, continuing off a little while after Azusa and Ui’s movie date. Hope you guys enjoy this! It’s a little shorter, but don’t worry, big plans for the future of this series.
“What should we watch this time?”
“I dunno, um . . . you decide, Ui!”
“Aw, but I was the one that chose the last three,” whined Ui. She and Azusa were wrapped up in a blanket at Azusa’s house, watching online videos on Ui’s laptop.
“I don’t watch much online anyways, and even if I did, you wouldn’t like it,” Azusa said.
“Try me,” said Ui, nudging Azusa a little with her elbow. Azusa sighed and freed one of her hands from the blanket so that she could type in the search box. After carefully considering the options, she decided on a Korean secret agent/romance movie. While it wasn’t exactly the best quality, the action and romantic scenes more than made up for the rest of the movie. Sometime during the movie, Ui’s head had fallen onto Azusa’s shoulder, and Azusa could hear the steady breathing of the brunette.
“Asleep already, huh?” Azusa whispered. She leaned her chin against the top of Ui’s head and continued to watch the movie. When the movie had reached its climax, the gunfire in the fight scene was so loud that Ui jolted in her sleep. She groggily sat up, squinting at the screen.
“*yawn* . . . um . . . aw, is it over already?” she mumbled, trying to rub sleep from her eyes.
“Just made it to the big fight scene. The bomb’s on the other boat, and they’re trying to chase it down, but the enemy is firing rounds at them.”
“Mmm . . .” Ui groaned, and started to nod off once more against Azusa’s shoulder. Azusa looked at the clock.
Shoot, it’s a few minutes past midnight already. Didn’t plan on staying so late, but guess time flew by.
A light snoring filled the room as the movie played on. Azusa gripped Ui’s hand beneath the blanket, and Ui squeezed back in her sleep. It had been a week since the two of them had started dating, and they hadn’t done much other than holding hands or going on little dates. They had been to parks, movies, gone on walks and they even went on a bike ride through town. At night they’d either be at Azusa’s or Ui’s home, chatting, eating and watching videos online. Not much different from how they had been in the past, but this time they spent a good amount of their down time watching YouTube videos together.
“Ui, wake up,” Azusa eventually said. Ui stirred, but didn’t even try to sit up this time.
“Movie’s over, Ui. C’mon, let’s get up and stretch or something.”
“Don’t wanna . . . must sleep . . .”
“You’re gonna hug my arm all night?” she asked, only to receive a tighter grip around her upper arm as a response.
“I’ll take that as a yes . . .” Azusa mumbled, fumbling around on the couch for her phone. In the dim light of the room, her phone backlight seemed twice as bright. She typed out a message for her mom, saying that she was going to be home the next day. Ui had loads of spare toothbrushes from her sister’s many trips to the dentist to get cavities filled, so she could just borrow one of those.
Attempting to stand up, Azusa marveled at the amount of strength Ui had in her grip despite her small frame. One sleepy pull from Ui, and Azusa was dragged back onto the couch.
“Okay, Ui, very funny. Seriously, my arm is starting to fall asleep. You’re literally keeping blood from going to my fingers.”
“Mine . . .” Ui said adamantly, as if claiming a stuffed toy. Azusa smiled weakly.
“Seriously Ui, if you grip my arm any tighter . . .” she started to say, but then stopped as the sensation of pins and needles started to set into her arm. If static on a TV screen could be transcribed into pain, that’s pretty much how her arm felt.
“Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow,” Azusa chanted, trying to flex her fingers to get the feeling to go away. Ui let go, a look of horror in her eyes.
“Oh no, did I hurt you? I’m sorry, I’m so sorry . . .”
“N-No, it’s fine, it’s just . . . it’ll pass, just . . . give me a minute . . .”
Once it stopped hurting to move her arm, Azusa stood up and moved it around, getting the blood to circulate through her limb once more.
“There, all better, sort of,” she said, raising a fist into the air. Ui giggled, and then stood up and mimicked Azusa’s movement. They high-fived, and then started giggling harder.
Azusa and Ui brushed their teeth, and Ui lent Azusa a set of pajamas. Azusa sadly tugged at the hem of the shirt, trying to flatten the area where the fabric billowed out over her chest area. Ui patted her back, reassuring her that she’ll grow eventually, and that Azusa was beautiful. Azusa wasn’t too convinced, as she hadn’t grown much there in years, so she did what she always did and blamed it on her parents’ genes. Ui had to agree at that point, seeing as Yui hadn’t developed as much in that area as Ui had over the years.
Yui was spending the night at Mio’s place. They were supposed to be studying, and brainstorming ideas for new songs, but knowing Yui, she was probably lazing about, watching videos on her new laptop. The Hirasawa parents were, as usual, out of town on some vacation.
“Where exactly did you say they went this time, Ui?” asked Azusa, sitting down next to Ui on the edge of Ui’s bed.
“Um, somewhere near South America, I think,” said Ui.
“That far? I figured they like travelling but this is seriously something.”
“Yeah, I thought that they were going to go exploring the jungles or ancient ruins, but all the photos they’ve been posting on Facebook were from a cruise ship, so I’m not too certain See?” Ui held out her phone.
“I see . . .” Azusa said, staring. She always wondered what Ui’s parents did for a living, but it seemed as if Ui didn’t know much either. They must be earning quite a lot, as Ui seemed to have the newest smartphone with a surprising 128 gigabytes of memory. She could hardly believe that phones could even hold that much memory. She quietly glanced at the dresser where her own phone was plugged into the wall. She had upgraded from her old flip phone, but it didn’t even come close to what Ui’s phone was capable of doing. Ui noticed where Azusa’s gaze had gone.
“You know if you’d like, I could ask . . .”
“N-No! No, you don’t have to, I don’t mind my phone, really!”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m sure. Plus, my parents would have a cow if I suddenly switched phones, they have all these contracts and stuff with the phone company, plus it’s like a really expensive phone, so I don’t want to impose . . .”
“If you say so,” said Ui a little sadly. She looked as if she really wanted to help.
“Don’t feel sad. It’s nice that you’re offering. Reminds me of Mugi-senp . . . I – I mean, it reminds me of Mugi,” she corrected herself, blushing. Ui giggled.
“Hey, don’t go thinking about other girls around your own . . . um . . .” Ui faltered, having trouble bringing herself to say the word out loud.
“My own wha . . .”
“. . . your own girlfriend!” said Ui loudly. She squeezed her eyes shut, too embarrassed even look Azusa in the eye.
Azusa stared at Ui. The last time Ui was that red in the face was back in that movie theater. It was still as cute as ever. Azusa placed her hand over Ui’s clenched fist, gently tracing circles on the back of Ui’s hand with her thumb.
“Don’t worry. I have eyes only for you, alright?”
“You promise? No leaving me?”
“Why would I? We just started dating, after all,” Azusa said in a reassuring tone. “To be honest, I don’t know much about dating. I know stuff from movies and what other girls say it’s like, but this . . .”
“I know . . . I’ve been in a sort of haze since that day. It’s like my brain isn’t used to the fact that you and I are . . .”
“Yup, same here.”
Ui’s phone started ringing. She answered the call, then stood up at the sound of Yui’s voice.
“Big Sis? Oh, hi, what’s up? Nothing, just here with Azusa. Yeah, she’s spending the night,” giggled Ui, glancing over at Azusa. She smiled back, and Ui put the phone on speaker so that Azusa could join in the conversation.
“Hi, Yui, how’s songwriting coming along?”
“It’s going great, we made lots of progress!” said Yui. From somewhere in the background, Mio’s voice could be heard faintly:
“No we haven’t, you’ve just been eating snacks all night! I’ve already written drafts for two songs and all you contributed was a couple of lyrics about ice cream!”
“Uh-oh, Mio-chan’s mad at me. Hey, I’ll be right back.”
“H-Hey, Big Sis . . .?”
“Huh, guess Mio’s being pretty strict tonight.”
“Yeah, Yui was also supposed to be there to finish homework and study for a make-up test or something, but I guess that didn’t go well either,” said Azusa, flopping back onto the bed.
“Poor Mio, having to deal with Ritsu and Sis like that . . .” said Ui. She placed her phone next to Azusa’s and joined her on the bed. Ui’s fingers found their way into Azusa’s, and they just stayed there for a while, holding hands and staring at the ceiling.
“So, it’s been about a week since . . .” started Ui.
“. . . since we started dating,” finished Azusa.
“Yeah. I’m not entirely sure how I should feel. I mean, I’ve never dated anyone before, let alone had a girlfriend. I’m . . . yeah, I don’t know how I’m supposed to act around you or . . .”
“What we’ve been doing is fine. There’s no rush into this, after all,” Azusa said. Ui smiled. She snuggled close to Azusa, holding onto her arm.
They fell back into silence, staring at the ceiling for a few minutes, before Azusa had to get up to use the bathroom. By the time she had gotten back to the bedroom, Ui had fallen asleep once more. Azusa stared at her sleeping form, and smiled.
I have a girlfriend now. I didn’t think it would happen this way, but then again things don’t ever work out how I plan them, do they?
Allowing that thought to sink in, she grabbed the spare blanket from Ui’s closet and draped it over the both of them. As Ui quietly snored away, it would be a while before Azusa drifted to sleep. So many thoughts were racing through her head, but there was one thought that kept coming back to the front of her mind, one that stood out above the rest:
I’m so happy.
“Aw, c’mon, the movie theaters again?” said Ui. She and Azusa stood in front of the bus stop, waiting for the next bus to arrive.
“Well, do you have any other ideas?” said Azusa. She flipped her bus pass around her fingers absentmindedly. “We’ve already been to the arcades twice this week, and the week before that we went to the beach together. It’s been, what, a month since we last went to the movies?”
“True, but still . . .” Ui said, squeezing Azusa’s hand. They both blushed, as holding hands in public was still new to them.
“We’ve been planning this all week, and I even splurged on getting us into the 3D showing.”
“Y-You don’t have to spend so much money on me just for one date,” said Ui.
“It’s fine. I got my paycheck and I have more than enough to cover for the both of us.”
“Speaking of, how’s that summer job going?”
“It’s mainly just been sorting papers and typing a lot. This guy named Cody has been bugging me. He keeps on talking to me and trying to touch me and hug me, and he keeps saying all this nasty stuff,” said Azusa, scowling. “Boys are the worst.”
“Did you report him?”
“Yeah, and now he blames me for almost getting him kicked out of the internship program. It’s his fault.”
“Aw,” said Ui, giving Azusa a quick hug.
“I’m okay. I blocked him online so that he won’t bother me.”
“That’s good,” said Ui. Hearing the bus, she let go of Azusa’s hand and reached for her bus pass in her purse. The two girls boarded the bus and kept on chatting as the bus headed towards their destination.
“Wow,” said Azusa, looking up at the massive building. “The height still impresses me every time we come here.”
“Me too,” Ui said in reply. Azusa took her hand as they walked past a large group of people staring down at their phones.
“What are they doing?” asked Ui.
“I think they’re playing some new game that just came out,” said Azusa, peering at one of their phone screens. “People have been getting outside a lot lately.”
“I see. Well, I don’t have much time to wander around these days. Must be nice, being able to play games like that.”
“Ui, hate to break it to you, but you’re actually a really fast learner when it comes to games. If we both downloaded that right now, I’m pretty sure you’d be a top-rank player within a day.”
“I don’t know if you took that as a compliment or not. Oh well . . .” Azusa mumbled.
“Did you say something?”
“Hmm? No, I didn’t say anything. Do you want popcorn? My treat.”
“Aw, no, you already paid for the tickets. Don’t go buying popcorn too!”
“Race ya to the concessions stand then?”
Popcorn in hand, the girls made their way up the stairs and found some good seats near the back of the theater.
“I heard that the short film before the movie’s supposed to be insanely cute,” said Azusa.
“Hey! No spoilers, please,” said Ui, popping a piece of popcorn into her mouth. “Mm, I think we should have put more butter on this.”
“You sure? I don’t want to be too unhealthy with the snacks.”
“I mean, it’s fine. I don’t mind,” Ui said, smiling. The lights started to dim as the last of the trailers started playing. Azusa lifted the armrest between them and snuggled up against Ui’s arm.
“Comfortable?” Ui asked. Azusa nodded, then realized that Ui couldn’t see her head move in the darkness.
“Yup,” she said.
The pre-movie short film started playing. The story was about a small bird, and the sequence was so adorable that all the girls in the audience were saying “Awww!” by the end.
“It’s so cute!” Ui said, shaking Azusa’s arm in excitement. Azusa smiled, ignoring the fact that Ui was unintentionally pushing her against the armrest on the opposite side.
“You’re this excited, and the movie hasn’t even started yet, Ui,” said Azusa, rubbing her upper arm.
“I’m sorry, I really like cute things.”
“You mean like me?”
“Yes, exactly like you,” Ui said. She put her palms on either side of Azusa’s face and squeezed. “You and your squishy face.”
“My face isn’t squishy.”
“Yes it is.”
“Shh!” came a voice from behind them. Azusa and Ui jumped, surprised. They looked up at the screen and realized that the movie was about to start.
“Whoops,” they said at the same time. They looked at each other in the light of the opening credits, and started giggling.
“That was awesome! I was so moved!” Azusa said, stretching. They stood outside the movie theater, waiting for their bus to arrive. They avoided talking about movie spoilers, as there was a line of people waiting to enter the theater. It would be rude to start talking about the movie now in case those people were about to watch it themselves.
“So, what do you want to do next?” said Ui. The bus was crowded this time, so the girls were forced to stand in the aisle and hold onto the rails.
“Well, we can head to the restaurant now, or we can wander around this part of town some more.”
“Yeah . . . hey, Azusa,” Ui nodded her head towards the back of the bus, where a young boy was looking around with his phone, and then smiling and swiping furiously at his screen.
“I think he’s playing that same game as that group earlier, right?” said Azusa, looking back at Ui, who was now pulling out her phone. “Wait . . . no, you not, are you?”
“Mmhm. Can’t stop me now, I’m too intrigued.”
“Trust me, the game’s not worth it. I tried it out but it slows down my phone too much, and the servers are always down.”
“Maybe it’ll work with my phone. I mean, after all, it’s the fastest model so far.”
“Yeah, but still, it’s not exactly something that you want to get addicted to -”
“And . . . done!” said Ui. She activated the game and was immediately taken to an in-game map.
“Seriously? It takes me like five or more minutes just to get past the loading screen, and you’re already in?”
“Oh, um Azusa, what do I do with…?”
“Turn off the virtual reality mode, Ui, it makes it much easier.”
“Alright. Oh, yay! I caught it!”
“Not bad. Great, looks like you’re gonna be playing this with the rest of the world, huh?”
“Yup,” said Ui. “Hey, this one looks cute!”
Azusa looked over at Ui’s screen. A cute pink animal was hopping around Ui’s phone screen. A flick of Ui’s finger, and the creature disappeared into a capsule.
“Not even five minutes into the game, and you’ve already caught the one of the rarest ones in the game? I’m done . . .” said Azusa, looking down sadly at her phone.
“Azusa? Azusa, can you hear me? Oh no, I’ve broken her spirit…” Ui said, worried that she had hurt her girlfriend. “Azusaaaa…”
“Kidding!” said Azusa, leaning over and kissing Ui on the cheek. Immediately Ui went beet red and almost fell over onto an old lady sitting near them.
“There, we’re even now,” smiled Azusa. It took Ui every ounce of mental strength she possessed in order to not freak out.
New Chapter! Super pumped to see where this story leads!(Psst! Listen to [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXreNYWtjPQ] with headphones when you get to the part down below where they listen to the video. I’ll link it down in the story too. Trust me.)
“What’re you watching, Azusa-chan?” asked Ui, plopping down onto the couch next to Azusa. The two of them were spending the day at Azusa’s house.
“Someone sent me this one video online, and I wanted to check it out,” Azusa replied, letting the video buffer in the browser.
“You sure that’s a good idea? I don’t want your computer to get a virus or anything,” said Ui, looking worried.
“It’s YouTube…there’s no way to get viruses on YouTube…”
“If it makes you feel better, I have AdBlock installed,” said Azusa, pointing to the little stop sign icon in the upper-right corner of her browser.
“If you say so…” said Ui. “Ah, it’s loaded.”
“Great. Should we connect them to the speakers?”
Azusa connected her laptop to an HDMI cable sticking out of the cabinet, and the widescreen television flickered to life, mirroring what was on Azusa’s computer. Various speakers stationed around the couches began humming quietly around them.
“Surround sound system,” said Azusa to an amazed Ui. “My parents splurged on a movie room setup ever since I left for college.”
“It’s just like the movie theaters, but at home!”
“Yeah, except we’re limited to online videos while we’re here,” Azusa said, fiddling with the volume controls. “And…I think we’re ready.”
“Great! I have your seat ready for you!” Ui smiled, patting the space next to her. Azusa flopped onto the couch, giving Ui a surprise poke in the side. Ui can be surprisingly ticklish if caught off-guard.
“Couldn’t resist. Wanna do the honors?”
“Mmhm,” Ui nodded. She pressed the space bar, and the video started playing.
The video featured a group of acapella singers, arranged in a half-circle. They each sang into an individual microphone and stood before music stands holding complicated-looking sheet music. When the group sang their first notes, the harmony was so clear and pristine that it caused a jolt to run down the girls’ spines. Soprano notes reached the heavens and seemed to go higher than Azusa and Ui could comprehend. The altos perfectly complimented the higher notes with their melody, driving the words forward and echoing the sopranos expertly. The tenors sang almost higher than Azusa and Ui thought possible for boys, and the male soloist’s voice sustained his notes effortlessly and without pausing to breathe. The booming bass singers supported the others from behind, jumping from extremely low notes to matching the tenors with ease, blending the voices together.
The ringing notes were only further enhanced by the surround sound system, which amplified each individual part and made it sound as if there was a choir of angels surrounding the couch where the two of them sat. Finally, the song drew to a close, and the group held their last notes for what sounded like an eternity, causing Azusa to feel dizzy just thinking about the amount of training and practice it would take to reach that level of talent.
The song ended abruptly, jolting Azusa out of her haze of amazement. She felt a wetness on her cheeks, and put her hands to her face to find that she was in tears. Never in her life did she expect that a song would move her to tears. She turned her head to find Ui already tearing up and sniffling beside her.
“That was…” started Azusa.
“THAT WAS BEAUTIFUL!” Ui exclaimed. “It was so wonderful, it was amazing, it was…perfect!”
“Calm down, Ui, it’s just a video.”
“But it’s so good!” Ui said, flailing her arms. She got up and quickly strode to the computer, scrolling through the suggested videos in the sidebar.
“Nope. We’re watching every video that this channel has uploaded.”
“Ui…” said Azusa, peering at the screen.
“They’ve only uploaded like seven videos. Pleeeeeease?” Ui begged, pouting in Azusa’s direction. Azusa took one look at Ui’s expression and melted on the spot.
“Crap, Ui, don’t do that to me, you know I can’t resist that face…”
“Oh really? Well if you don’t like it, then I should just stop making this face.”
“NO! I mean, no, please don’t. It’s a cute face, I love it,” said Azusa, flustered.
“Heehee,” Ui said, smiling widely. “Alright, next video.”
The two of them watched through every video on that channel. Ui became more inspired, sending every single video to Yui, who subsequently started spamming the rest of HTT with them. By the end of the afternoon, Yui, Mio, Ritsu and Mugi had all gathered at Azusa’s house.
“Seriously, guys?” said Azusa.
“It’s an emergency band practice, Azu-nyan!” said Yui, holding her index finger up like a teacher. Mio sighed.
“I agree with Azusa on this one, Yui. I don’t see why we’d need a band practice when it’s not even our style of music.”
“Yeah, but still. It’d be nice if we could improve our harmonies and everything. Plus, if we get Ricchan, Mugi-chan and Azu-nyan to sing, that means less singing for you, Mio-chan!”
“Hey, don’t we get a say in this?” said Ritsu. “I’m still club president by default, so we need to discuss before doing something like that. Plus, we’d need an unreal amount of training before we can sing like that. Mugi, back me up here!”
“Um, Ritsu…” said Ui, pointing in Mugi’s direction. The blonde heiress was already pulling a large amount of sheet music out of her bag.
“I already purchased the sheet music online and had it printed out. I have copies for everyone, as well as MP3’s of the different vocal parts.”
The other girls stared at her. Undeterred, Mugi continued,
“I can also contact my various vocal coaches if we need to.”
“Mugi…” Mio said, amazed. “First of all, I doubt any of us could reach those high notes. Second, we don’t have any guys, so we can’t even sing this arrangement. And third, we don’t need vocal coaches, because it’s too expensive and we don’t want to impose…”
“Oh no, it’s fine, I can get them for free if need be.”
“That’s not the point,” said Azusa. “Houkago Tea Time’s sound is supposed to be bright and bouncy and cute, not, um, super angel-y and moving like that.”
“We wrote a song about an angel and it was moving.”
“Yeah, but Tenshi ni Fureta Yo doesn’t count,” Azusa said, blushing slightly. “It’s still HTT’s style, and I don’t think we should go about changing our image that easily.”
“Aw, but they’re so good and they have lots of views online. We can just…”
“I agree with Azusa,” said Ui. “I like the sound you guys have, and that’s what makes your band unique.”
“Thanks, Ui,” said Azusa, squeezing Ui’s hand.
“Wait, Ui, what’re you doing?” asked Yui, looking at the two of them holding hands. With a jolt, the Azusa and Ui realized that neither of them had told the others about them yet.
“Um, uh, well…haha, funny thing is…” said Azusa, turning redder by the second.
“We’re dating,” said Ui, putting her other hand on Azusa’s. The room went silent, and you could hear the sound of gears turning in the others’ heads as they tried to process the fact that Yui’s little sister was now dating their kouhai. Ritsu was the first to react.
“WHAT!? What the heck is going on here?”
“Azusa, that’s wonderful,” said Mio, glancing at Yui, who had gone ominously silent. “But here I was thinking that…”
“CONGRATULATIONS!” shouted Mugi, causing everyone to jump. “Oh my goodness gracious, oh mercy me, this is wonderful, just wonderful! I need to start planning for dresses, start hiring florists, I need to learn how to bake a cake, I…”
“Mugi, they’re not getting married,” interjected Ritsu, chopping the top of Mugi’s head. Ritsu and Mio had gotten more used to keeping Mugi in check, as college has caused her overactive imagination to multiply tenfold. “They’re only, um…dating. Wow, that’s a weird thing to say.”
“Um, Sis?” said Ui, looking worriedly at Yui. Yui slowly raised her head, breaking into a large toothy grin.
“Congrats, little sis!” said Yui. “I’m so happy!”
Yui crawled around the living room table and pulled both of them into a hug.
“Are you crying, Yui-senpai?” said Azusa, shocked. Yui sniffled.
“I’m so HAPPY! I want everyone to be happy, and so to hear that you two are happy together, it just…just…WAH!!!”
“Yui, you’re gonna get snot all over them! Go wash yourself, please,” said Mio, trying not to look at Yui’s dripping nose.
“Yeah,” said Yui, giving a big sniffle. She wiped her nose with the edge of her sleeve and then got up. She tottered towards the bathroom, shutting the door behind her. Ritsu chuckled.
“That’s our Yui. Being over-the-top emotional when it comes to Azusa or Ui. Geez, kids, I think you two broke her.”
“Speaking of over-the-top,” said Azusa, pointing at Mugi. Everyone turned to look at Mugi, who was zoning out on the edge of the couch. Mio waved her hand in front of Mugi’s face, but she was once again off in another reality.
“Eh, let her daydream a little while longer,” said Ritsu, shaking her head. “Anyways, you two, give us the juicy stuff. Have you guys kissed yet?”
“Wh-wh-wh-wha…?” stuttered Ui.
“N-No, Ritsu-senpai, we haven’t! It hasn’t been too long since-”
“But you two are officially a couple, right?” asked Mio. Azusa could see that she was itching for new material for song lyrics. She sighed, and began to tell the story.
“Well, I guess it started when Ui and I went to the movies…”
While Azusa and Ui were telling their story, Yui sat against the door, listening from the other side. Her body was shaking, and she cried silent tears, wrapping her arms around her. Her head was spinning and her heart felt like it was about to burst.
It’s not fair! she thought, breathing heavily. It’s just not fair! It should have been me! Why isn’t it me? Am I not good enough? Why didn’t I do something first? Ui knows I love Azu-nyan…so why is SHE dating her?! WHY?
Yui stayed in the hallway for a few minutes more, wrapping her arms more tightly around her and clutching at her sleeves to try and make the shaking stop. No good, it only made her cry harder. Taking deep breaths didn’t seem to do much either; it only caused her to hyperventilate more. She slowly got up and stumbled to the bathroom. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. Her eyes were red and tears were streaked over her cheeks. Yui vigorously rubbed her face with a towel, and then stood there for what seemed like an eternity, staring at herself in the mirror.
It’s over, isn’t it? she thought to herself. I can’t bring myself to face them like this. I just…
There was a loud knock on the door.
“Big Sis? Is everything alright in there? Everyone else is gonna leave soon to eat out at a restaurant.”
“Um, y-yeah, I’m good. Gimme a second, alright, Ui?” Yui said, trying to keep her voice steady.
“Alright, we’ll be out here,” Ui said. Yui waited until her footsteps faded, and then turned back to the mirror.
“Well, time to face the music,” she said to her reflection.
“Everything alright, Yui?” asked Mio when the guitarist walked back into the living room.
“Yeah, I just got a bit too excited, hehe,” Yui said, rubbing the back of her head.
“Well you’re not the only one. Get a load of Mugi,” said Ritsu, pointing to Mugi behind her. One of the girls had moved the dazed Mugi to the corner, and she was graciously sighing at the wall, lost in her imagination.
“Wha? Mugi-chan?” said Yui. “I guess the shock affected her too, huh?”
“Yeah, but you got a shock too, right Yui-senpai?” said Azusa.
“Y-Yeah. But you guys know me, I cry easily,” said Yui.
“Yeah, that’s true, I guess. Anyways, you guys don’t have to take us out to a restaurant. We can just stay home, you know,” Azusa continued. Ritsu and Mio shook their heads.
“It’s been forever since we all hung out,” said Mio. “We need to invite Jun and Nodoka too, ‘cuz I think they’re in town as well.”
“Seriously? Nodoka-chan’s back in town? Yay!” cheered Yui. The rest of the girls chuckled.
“Looks like it’s decided. Oy, Mugi! Let’s head out!” said Ritsu. Mugi giggled to herself.
“Oh my,” Mugi sighed to no one in particular. Everyone else wondered what she was imagining, then decided it’s best not to ask.
As the group began chatting excitedly, Yui glanced in Azusa’s direction. Now that their secret’s out, Azusa wasn’t holding back anymore. Yui saw Azusa reach over and take Ui’s hand in her own. Ui looked at Azusa and smiled. Yui felt the tears coming back, and blinked furiously to keep them at bay.
It’s done, it’s over. Ui won, in the end, before I even had a chance. Yui thought. It’s over, isn’t it? She chose you, Little Sis…