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A Sanctuary to Keep Your Secrets and Your Sorrows Safe

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Whenever it rained, Sayo learned something new about herself every time.

But just like her own self, the rain was gloomy and ill-received. She learned that quickly through her uncanny ability to bring rain in times of gatherings or events.

This time was no different.

Lisa, who was easily described as having a sunny disposition and a pillar of support to those in need, spontaneously requested an outing to the beach together with Sayo. Through some amount of coercion, Sayo had agreed and brought them here atop her bike.

“It’s raining…” Lisa pointed out the obvious quietly, craning her neck to look up at the darkened grey sky.

“It is.” Sayo nodded. It was hardly surprising to her. In fact, she would have been more surprised if it hadn’t rained. “It doesn’t look like it will let up anytime soon. I think we ought to just go home, Imai-san.” Sayo kicked up her bicycle stand and moved to place her foot on a pedal.

“What are you talking about, Sayo?”

“Huh?” Sayo looked up from her bike and into the eyes of Lisa, spotting a mischievous glimmer in them.

“It’s just a little rain! C’mon!”

Lisa playfully tugged once at the baby blue sleeve of Sayo’s school uniform before hopping backwards out from the safety of the shelter and into the pouring rain. Her shoulders shook as she let out a giggle, winking as she turned and made a run for the sandy beach.

“I-Imai-san!”

Sayo’s eyes widened as she reached out a hand, almost falling over her bike as she lurched forward. She huffed in frustration, scrambling to swing her leg over to kick down the stand one more time. Sayo stuffed her hand into her school bag and pulled out a small umbrella she had always brought around with her ever since that day, opening it with a snap before chasing after the seemingly so carefree girl.

As Lisa reached the shore, she removed her socks and shoes, tossing them somewhere she’d find later. Then she raised a hand up to the band holding her hair together and grasped it in her fingers, pulling it down and shaking her hair free from its bond.

The rain was quick to drench her from head to toe, but Lisa didn’t care.

She pranced around on the wet, gritty sands that shuffled with each wave that came crashing onto shore, kicking up some water around herself and smiling with such unadulterated joy that it seemed as if the sun never went away at all.

Sayo slowed to a halt along the shore and stared at the bassist enjoy herself as the rain pattered against her purple umbrella. Though lumpy bits of sand had already found their way into her shoes, she paid them no mind.
She never would have thought that in the rain she always ushered with the clouds that followed at her back, would there be someone there to embrace it.

Lisa raised her head up towards the sky, spreading her arms wide as if she were a canary about to take flight. Her eyes closed as she took it all in. She relished the feeling of the cold drops of water pelting against her skin and the sleek trails they left.

“I like the rain.” Lisa muttered up into the grey clouds. She slowly lowered her arms back down to her side and turned to look at the girl standing across from her. For some reason, that girl’s eyes that had always been swirling with tumultuous waves now stared straight at her with the clearest gleam she’d ever seen before.

Lisa wondered if she could see right through her.

“I like the rain, Sayo.”

As she repeated those barely audible words, an ocean seemed to swallow up the inside of Sayo’s chest. There Lisa was, with her dyed and highlighted hair let loose from her ponytail that matted along her cheeks and neck; Her thin, rain soaked school shirt that revealed a plain bra underneath through its now transparent fabric. And that forlorn, pained smile that pinned needles deep into Sayo’s heart.

And Sayo realized, Lisa did not want to visit the beach at all. What she wanted was this. A moment’s respite. A respite from what, Sayo could not put it into words exactly. Perhaps it was the expectations, or the weight of that mask she wore so diligently as if it were her duty.

Perhaps it was everything.

And Lisa had seen Sayo as the key to that respite. To a sanctuary that would keep her secrets locked and hidden away from the eyes of the world.

“What’s with that look on your face?” Lisa’s lips broke wide into a grin before she burst into laughter. “You look like someone’s just stolen some of your fries.”

Had it been in any other situation, Sayo might have clumsily denied it or maybe even laughed along with Lisa’s teasing. But this time was different. This time Sayo knew that Lisa knew she could see through her. And Lisa was afraid of being seen.

There was nothing that Sayo wanted to do more than hold her in her arms and tell her that everything was going to be okay.

 

But Sayo knew that mask was not so easily taken away. She too, continues to wear one before the eyes of the world. So Sayo didn’t say anything. She didn’t ask anything. She simply stepped towards the girl who did not know how to stop smiling and reached for her hand.

“...Let’s go home.”

Imai Lisa and Hikawa Sayo could not be any more different from each other, even if they tried.

But in that very brief moment, when the hard calluses of their fingertips brushed against the soft skin of their palms, they thought that maybe they were more similar than they thought they were.

Whenever it rained, Sayo learned something new about herself every time.

This time, she learned that even someone like herself was able to fall victim to a thing called Love.