It was supposed to be a group tour. μ was supposed to scout for a filming location.
But somehow, Eli and Nozomi found themselves alone. The sea breeze is besides them, and they can hear the seagulls squawk. They're out by the port, and Nozomi looks across the ocean. The sun is setting, and it's a beautiful sight. Until Nozomi remembers why they were there in the first place.
"Elichi, we're here on official μ's business. We're supposed to be-"
Eli cuts her off, "I know, but we are seniors, after all. We're farther out than any of them in Yokohama. Why don't we make the most of it?" Nozomi almost wants to protest - she valued alone time with Eli, but she also cared about the group's well being.
Eli puts a stop to any thoughts Nozomi had. "You're with me, right? We can see the sea, the cityscape is beautiful, and there are lots of places to have fun. Not to mention all these romantic Christmas decorations!" Eli leans over the beams and climbs on. She sits on top and kicks her feet out. Her serious demeanor is gone.
This is a side of Eli that Nozomi rarely sees. Nozomi hesitates for a minute, but Eli jumps off the beams and takes her hand. "Come on, we have places to go!"
Eli knew everything there was to know about Yokohama. They explore the city, and at the end of the night find themselves full. The bench is in the middle of the park, with Christmas decorations all over. It's chilly, but Eli wraps her jacket around each other.
Nozomi crooks her head up to the sky. "It's getting late... I guess we should head home."
Eli doesn't want their day to end. Time flew by too fast. All of it went by too fast. They were seniors now and only had a few months left before graduation. Eli hates when reality reminds her that their time together is fleeing. But she finally mutters a response, "Yeah. We should..."
Nozomi turns her head back at Eli's comment. Nozomi can hear a sense of sadness in Eli's voice, and she's not sure why. "What? Did I say something wrong?"
Eli runs away before Nozomi stands up. "There's something I want to see!"
And like that, Eli takes off. Nozomi loses Eli in the crowd - Eli is just too fast. Nozomi's anxiety began to swell within her. She never had friends, so she wasn't sure if she did something wrong. Eli was one of her first true friends, and she was scared she messed something up.
Nozomi walks back to the bench, and thinks about going home. She decides against it until she knows where Eli went. She waits for a text, but there's no response. Fifteen minutes go by until she hears Eli coming up behind her.
"Come on, I found something cute." Eli grabs a hold onto Nozomi's hand again, and soon they're bustling their way through the crowd. Nozomi can hear the saxophones around the corner playing the usual Christmas tunes, but they're eventually tuned out by the excessive thoughts in her head.
Eli picks out a ring, and hands it to Nozomi. "Buy this for me." It matches the color of Eli's eyes, and Nozomi goes through her pockets. As Nozomi goes to the cashier, Eli picks out another ring from her pocket.
"This is for you." The ring is a bright velvet, and Eli puts it around Nozomi's finger. "Exchanging rings almost makes it look like we're getting married, doesn't it?" She laughs, and Nozomi blushes more.
They find themselves alone at the frozen pond. The night is almost over. I don't want this to end, Nozomi thinks. They're closer than they usually are, and Eli turns to cup Nozomi's cheek.
Nozomi's skin is soft and a rosy blush appears. Nozomi's breath gets shorter, and she focuses her attention onto Eli's lips. They never have looked so beautiful before. And then in a second, without thinking, Nozomi leans forward.
Eli accepts the kiss back. No words are needed. It feels like an eternity, until Nozomi pulls away.
"I-I'm sorry! I don't know what got into me Elichi..." Nozomi looks down at the ground, ashamed to look Eli in the eyes. Why did she do that?
"I liked it, Nozomi." The words leave Eli's mouth, and there's a slight smile. They kiss again, and its the best night Nozomi has ever had.
They never brought it up to anyone else. It was their little secret, and whatever chance they got to be alone they took it. Their senior year was over, and they found themselves in gowns. Eli was the valedictorian.
Nico's graduation gown was too big. She stepped on it as she walked up to the podium. They all gave a speech, and before Nozomi knows it the year is over.
Eli walks up and taps Nozomi on her shoulder. "What are you going to do now?"
Nozomi's not sure. She was planning on going to the local university, and she assumed Eli would have too.
"I'm going back to Russia." Eli says it in a flat tone.
Russia. It seemed so far away, but that's not what matters. Russia. Russia didn't accept people like Eli or Nozomi. Not people like them.
"You can't.. You know what will happen." Nozomi shakes Eli by the shoulder. Eli being in harm seemed surreal to her. She was strong, but she was terrified of the news in Russia.
"My family in Russia is sick, Nozomi. I have no choice." Eli looks away and avoids Nozomi's eyes.
Nozomi lets out a cry, "but what about us?"
Eli cannot answer.
And just like that, they ignored the issue. Nozomi wanted to spend her last days with Eli like normal. And she did, but it didn't make her leaving any easier. No matter how she tried to make it seem like a normal breakup, it wasn't. Eli gradually stopped responding.
Enough time had passed for Nozomi to go on without thinking of Eli every day.