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Festival

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Rise dressed up for the occasion. She went through piles of clothing, trying to tell herself it didn't matter but rejecting one outfit after another - this one too "idolish," this one "overly sexy." Although she wanted to look sexy, at least a little, didn't she?

Finally she settled on a red dress and forced herself to go out the door and walk to the Amagi Inn. When she arrived she could not find Yukiko at first, but then finally one of the employees pointed to a small room and Rise entered it. At first all she saw were flowers. They covered tables and chairs and filled up the room, and Yukiko sat in the middle, practically buried under an avalanche of flowers.

Yukiko looked up at her and smiled. "It's the Chrysanthemum Festival tomorrow and I'm helping out with the flowers," she said. "I think I'm a little overwhelmed."

Rise laughed. "I'll help you sort them," she said. 'You're putting it off,' she thought to herself.

After a few minutes working with the flowers Rise finally got up her nerve. "Back when I was being interviewed all the time, they would always ask me if I was interested in anyone, and I would always say no. Because... I never was."

"It must have been difficult to meet boys," said Yukiko. "I mean you were famous, and they admired you, but maybe it was hard to make that personal connection?"

"Maybe that was part of it. Lately though I've been realizing I have a type."

"Are you about to confess your love to one of the guys we know?" asked Yukiko. "I mean, it's OK, but I reserve the right to laugh a little."

"No, it's not that, I promise," she said. "My type is someone who is loyal to their friends, and intelligent, and elegant."

"That definitely doesn't sound like any of the guys we know."

Rise took a deep breath. "My type is someone like you," she said softly.

Yukiko dropped the flower she was holding. "Are you serious?" she asked.

Rise nodded. "I know it's kind of sudden," she said.

"After some of the things we've been through together nothing is sudden," said Yukiko.

There was a brief silence, until Yukiko said, "So do you want to go out on a date, or-- I'm not sure how to do this."

"I'm not either! But maybe we should start with the Chrysanthemum Festival?" Rise held out a red carnation to Yukiko. "In some places these symbolize love and passion," she said, blushing.

Yukiko covered Rise's hand with her own and said simply, "Good."