Getting off the airplane and onto the airport bus was the second to last thing the women had to do before they started their weeklong beach vacation down in Okinawa. Hitoka was ecstatic and hyped up beyond belief as she cuddled up with Kiyoko, groaning in mild pain. Kiyoko had her arm wrapped around the girl, caressing her head.
“Will you be okay?”
“I hope so. I didn't think the bus ride would be so bad," Hitoka cuddled in more, “what a great way to start off the trip.”
“Don’t be so pessimistic, Hitoka. It won’t make you feel any better.”
“You should try to rest your eyes for now. We’ll probably be there within the next thirty minutes.”
“Okay… wake me up before we go…”
She had a funny dream about Shoyo and his sister turning into oranges. But then Tobio came in and started to eat the Shoyo orange. Hitoka was trying to tell him that it was Shoyo, but he said he didn’t understand English even though she was speaking in plain 日本語. When Tobio got up and started to walk away, then he slipped and fell.
Hitoka jumped awake from a loud thud. Someone’s bag had fallen in the aisle.
“Oh, hey. I was just about to wake you up.” Hitoka turned to look at Kiyoko and smiled. She smiled back. “Our stop is coming up, so make sure you have everything.”
“Yeah, good idea.” Hitoka then went through everything in the bag she was holding. She also checked around the floor for anything that could've possibly been theirs. She couldn't remember if she were holding anything other than Kiyoko when she fell asleep. After about 10-minutes, they arrived at their stop. They grabbed all their luggage and shuffled off the bus with a “thank you” to the driver and headed to Hotel Moon.
Hotel Moon had an open structure with vines hanging all the way down from the ceiling to the floor. The spacious design and large windows made for an abundance of brightness during the day. The large tiles were polished black marble, their reflections followed them as they headed to the front desk and checked in, then they were escorted to their room and assisted with their luggage. In their hotel room were two twin beds pushed together, a tv, an electric kettle, a coffee machine, and a mini-fridge. There was also a private bathroom that offered free amenities.
“Kiyoko, this is really great!” Hitoka exclaimed as she ran into the bathroom. “We get robes!” She popped out and then checked out all the kitchen supplies. While Hitoka was going through everything, she was hugged from behind by Kiyoko.
“I’m glad you’re so excited. Why don't we get unpacked?”
“Mm,” Hitoka groaned, “okaaay. Let’s hurry up, though.” Kiyoko unpacked at her own pace while Hitoka tried to gently coax her along. Kiyoko set up all their hygiene supplies and laid out clothes for them to change in after they came back from the beach. She also grabbed one of the towels and laid it out at the entrance just in case they weren’t thorough enough cleaning or drying themselves off. A loud growl from Hitoka's direction interrupted Kiyoko's work.
“What was that?”
“My stomach,” she had her hands placed on top of her stomach.
“Let’s go get something to eat. We should be able to get something from the cafeteria.”
“I'm fine, I'd rather eat afterward.”
“You don't have the iron levels to eat afterward." Hitoka bowed her head and tried not to cry at the truth. They ended up heading downstairs and paying for breakfast. They both filled up and then headed upstairs feeling too tired and bloated to head to the beach just yet. They had time to waste until they felt ready, so Hitoka watched TV while Kiyoko read a book. After getting bored of watching TV alone, Hitoka headed out to the balcony and sat down with Kiyoko.
“Hi, sweetie,” Kiyoko bookmarked her page.
“How are you feeling?” Hitoka asked.
“Not as full. You?”
“Also, not as full.” Kiyoko looked at Hitoka stare at the ocean for a good minute.
“Do you wanna go down now?”
“I thought you’d never ask.” The women got changed, grabbed their things, and headed down to the beach. When they arrived, they set up their space and sat down to observe what was going on. There was a decent amount of people out in the pool or lounging underneath umbrellas on the beach. There was a volleyball net off to the side that wasn’t in use. Hitoka wondered if she'd get the chance to practice with Kiyoko. But she remembered that beach volleyball was much more grueling than court volleyball. The sand was hard to walk on as it was, but the heat made it all the more difficult. She still wanted to practice because it was her favorite on again off again hobby.
“Kiyoko, do you wanna run with me?”
“Eh? Run where?”
“Just back and forth on the beach.”
“What for?” She smiled.
“To practice moving for beach volleyball.”
“Oh! So, you were planning on playing with me.”
“Well, yeah… why else would we bring the volleyball if we weren’t going to play?”
“I just thought last time you didn’t have much fun.”
“I mean… I didn’t not have fun. I just…” Hitoka shrugged and looked away.
“You weren’t as talkative as usual, and I wasn’t sure if it was because you were frustrated or focused.”
“I'm sorry I made you worry,” Kiyoko shook her head at Hitoka's apology, “sometimes work just gets to me. It’ll come in waves where I’m having a really great time and then the next moment I just feel this huge amount of dread.”
“Whenever we play volleyball I use it as a chance to let off some steam, but last time I felt very off for some reason.”
“You’ve never told me that before.”
“I was kinda keeping it to myself.”
“How come?” Kiyoko scooched closer to Hitoka. She touched her arms and gently pulled her back so that she could lean on her.
“I don’t know. I just felt like I needed to keep it to myself.”
“Thank you for telling me now,” Kiyoko squeezed Hitoka tight. “From now on, I want you to let me know when you’re feeling like that, okay?”
“You know I’ll support you no matter what.” Hitoka leaned forward and turned to Kiyoko, grabbing both of her hands.
“I’m very lucky to have you.”
“I’m lucky to have you, too,” Kiyoko leaned forward until their noses touched, giving her an Inuit kiss. Hitoka’s face began to warm up and redden. She avoided her girlfriend’s gaze and slightly squeezed Kiyoko’s hands. Kiyoko just chuckled and kissed the top of her head. “Sunscreen first, then we’ll go running.”
Kiyoko told Hitoka to take her sundress off and stand up with her arms out and legs spread. She went through the bag for a good minute, starting to believe that she forgot it when she caught a glimpse of it. She set it beside her and then took her glasses off to put them in her case and into her bag. A mistake she was trying not to repeat.
“Okay, ready—” she looked back to Hitoka to who was still wearing her sundress. “Are you running in your sundress?”
“No. I just don’t know if I’m ready to take it off yet.” Kiyoko just nodded. She handed the sunscreen off to Hitoka and then pulled her own dress off.
“Do me first and then we’ll work on getting you out of your dress,” Kiyoko tossed her sundress onto her towel and then turned around. Hitoka’s mouth was trying to make its way up from the floor after that comment. She was trying to figure out if she meant for it to be so seductive sounding, or if it was just… “Hitoka?”
“S-S-Sorry!!” She sputtered out and hurried to tend to her task. She squeezed out some onto her hand, rubbed them together, and began to awkwardly slather it on. She went from her shoulders all the way down to her fingertips. Then she got underneath and on the sides, making sure she didn't miss a spot. She went back up to get the back of her neck, the top of her ears. She gingerly moved her hands from the back of her neck to the front, gently up her jaw. She moved her hands down and got underneath the edges of her swimsuit. She crouched down and shakily covered underneath the legs of her suit. She then ran her hands down her thighs and calves, extra careful anytime her hand ran over a scar. She got back up and turned Kiyoko around. She brushed two fingers over her nose, her chin, her cheeks, and her forehead. She rubbed it in gently to make sure there were no white streaks left on her face. Hitoka took a deep breath and then rubbed around her collarbone and chest, the last part of her body to be covered. “All done.”
“Thank you,” Kiyoko looked at Hitoka. She looked her up and down, and Hitoka just stared back with no response. “Your turn.”
They headed up to the top of the beach where there were no people to get in the way of them running. They went back and forth for a little while at a steady pace until Hitoka slipped and fell. She didn't fall very hard, but she didn't get up right away.
“Hitoka?” Kiyoko hurried over to her girlfriend and sat beside her. “Getting tired?”
“Yeaaaah…” she said as she tried to catch her breath. She knew she needed to up her physical activity, but the amount of schoolwork she would get was no joke.
“Let’s go lie down for a few.”
“Or we could just stay here.”
“Hitoka, you’ll burn.”
“You’re right… and yet…”
“Hitoka!” Kiyoko laughed and grabbed her hands. She used all of her weight to pull her up, almost falling in the process. Kiyoko walked Hitoka over to their lounge chairs and sat her down. “You stay here. I'm gonna go get in the water, so join me when you're ready.”
“Okaaay, have fun.” Kiyoko leaned down and kissed Hitoka’s forehead. Hitoka watched Kiyoko head to the edge of the water. She took a deep breath before heading into the water. She swam out a couple of feet and then dived underneath. Hitoka then closed her eyes and let out a long sigh. She had been sitting still for a minute or so, but her heart was still beating hard. A warm breeze ran over her already sweating skin. The shade of the umbrella was only keeping her from getting burnt, but she was still hot.
“Hitoka,” Kiyoko's voice opened Hitoka's eyes. She saw her girlfriend was standing above her, soaked from head to toe and dripping seawater onto the sand.
“I was just checking on you. You’ve been sitting here for about 10 minutes.”
“I have? I guess I dozed off,” she placed her hand over her chest, feeling her heart, which was slowly starting to pick up in pace as she moved around.
“Wanna join me now?”
“Sure,” Kiyoko took Hitoka's hand, and they walked to the water together. When Hitoka's feet were deep enough to be submerged by the water, she let go of Kiyoko's hand and shivered. “It’s cooold!”
“It's not cold when you get in it,” she said, jumping into the water waist-deep. Hitoka turned her head back to the beach, attempting to come up with an excuse. When she turned her head back, she was splashed by a wave of water. Hitoka yelped while Kiyoko just laughed at her. “Kiyoko!” It felt like she had been transported to the arctic ice caps when she trudged in. She lunged at her girlfriend, and when she reached her, they wrapped their arms around each other and plunged into the freezing water, freezing for Hitoka. It took them a moment to reorientate themselves but the two eventually popped back above the surface. They both started giggling through their gasping breaths.
“I didn’t expect you to do that,” Kiyoko said, pressing her forehead against Hitoka’s.
“I had to get in somehow. Plus, you’re warm,” Hitoka nuzzled into Kiyoko closer, finding the rhythm to tread water together.
“Can I get a kiss?” Kiyoko asked. There was no water cold enough to cool down the heat on Hitoka’s cheeks. She didn’t answer verbally; instead, she tilted her head to the side and leaned in for a sweet kiss that made her heart flutter. “You’re so cute,” Kiyoko murmured against her lips.
“Geez, Kiyoko! You’re gonna make my heart burst!” She admitted. Kiyoko tried to stifle her giggles as she kissed her again and let go.
“Don’t let it burst just yet, we still have lots of fun things to do together,” she swam far enough away from Hitoka. She ducked under the water and let some air out of her lungs to sink. Not long after did Hitoka follow. It took her a moment to force her eyes open and wait for her vision to clear like Kiyoko had taught her during previous swimming sessions. She kicked her legs hard, letting out air to drop quicker. Once she was close, she grabbed her face and pulled her close to give her a peck on the lips. She had always wondered what an underwater kiss would be like. It was nothing special because they had to keep the water from getting in their mouths, but she felt accomplished now that she had finally done it. They both swam a couple more feet down to the bottom. Hitoka felt how soft the sand was and how slimy the seaweed felt between her fingers. She looked at Kiyoko and saw that she was still digging deeper into the sand, but Hitoka was beginning to run out of breath. She placed her feet at the bottom and pushed off the ground as hard as she could to shoot herself back to the top. She exhaled, and large bubbles clouded her vision until she breached the surface with a loud gasp. She pushed her hair out of her face and trod water for some time before Kiyoko joined her.
“I think you can hold your breath longer than me,” Hitoka said.
“You should start going on those morning runs with me.”
“You’re probably right.”
They played in the water for a little while longer until they both felt absolutely exhausted after making their way onto land. When they went back to the lounge chairs, they pulled them from out of the umbrella's shade to dry off quicker and rest their muscles.
“Kiyoko,” Hitoka turned her head to look at Kiyoko.
“We’ve been sitting here for a while for no reason.”
“Why do you say that?”
“We’ve been drying off… but we’re gonna need to clean the sand off before we go back in.”
Kiyoko sat up. “I completely forgot.”
They gathered their things, wrapping their towels around them to dry themselves off as much as possible after cleaning most of the sand off from the water station. They knew once they got ready to shower, there would be more sand to clean off. Hitoka was twirling her hair in between her fingers and listening to the squeak every time she pulled at it.
“I love the noise, but I hate how bad the salt is for your hair,” she mentioned as she waited for Kiyoko to unlock the door.
“It does make a funny noise,” Kiyoko grabbed a strand of her hair and pulled it from the root to the end. It sounded like someone readjusting themself in a tub. Kiyoko opened the door and stamped her feet on the towel she had laid out earlier before taking her sandals off. Hitoka did the same and closed the door behind them. “Are you up for a shower?”
“I’m really tired, but I know I’ll regret not taking one.”
“Don’t worry, you can fall asleep in the bath after we’re finished, and I’ll hold you up, so you don’t drown.”
“Really?” Hitoka’s eyes went wide.
“Anything for you.”
“That’s so sweet,” Hitoka said more to herself than to Kiyoko.
“The quicker we shower, the quicker you can enjoy a watery nap.”
When they got undressed, a bunch of sand fell out of their swimsuits. They took turns washing each other's backs and gingerly washing each other's hair as to not blind one another from any shampoo mishaps. They talked about nothing important and made soapy beards out of the excessive lather. During the cleaning process, Hitoka was looking at Kiyoko’s legs, noticing how pale the scars were from when she had first seen them years ago. When Hitoka finished staring, she looked up to see Kiyoko was looking at her.
“S-Sorry! I didn’t mean to stare… I just…”
“I don’t mind. What are you thinking about?”
"Oh, hah… just when I first saw them. I can't tell if the healing process is fast or not."
“Well, it’s been 12 years since my last real race, so I think the healing process is right on time. Especially for ones these big.”
“Did it hurt really bad when you got them?” Kiyoko looked up and furrowed her brows.
“Hmm… I’m not sure. I don't think so. I think all the adrenaline when you're running numbs the pain. It certainly hurt afterward, though, but I was able to get through the pain quickly enough to keep doing hurdles.” Hitoka had imagined Kiyoko in many situations, but she tried not to imagine her when she fell. It wasn’t the thought of Kiyoko falling that was the problem, but all the blood that probably—
“Eeee!” Hitoka shivered and buried her face in her legs.
“Uh. A-Are you okay?” Kiyoko leaned down to get a look at Hitoka’s face.
“I’m fine. I just… freaked myself out.”
“How did you manage it this time?”
“That's not funny!” Hitoka's head flew up to yell at her girlfriend. Hitoka was her own worst enemy when it came to embarrassing or freaky thoughts. She had no moment of respite in her head, which swirled with anxiety. “I just thought about all the blood…”
“There was usually a lot of blood,” Kiyoko said so matter-of-factly.
“Ahh, noo! Don’t talk about it more,” Hitoka covered her ears and shook her head.
“Sorry,” Kiyoko patted her head, “maybe it's time we took our bath now.” Hitoka just nodded in agreement. The water for the bath had already been run and was the perfect temperature to sit in and relax. Kiyoko got in first and positioned herself so that Hitoka could sit in with her. When Hitoka got her second leg in and lowered herself, the water began to overflow and spill out of the tub.
“Phew, it sure is hot,” Kiyoko commented as she wrapped her arms around Hitoka. Hitoka leaned back into Kiyoko's hold and let out a loud sigh as her mind relaxed with her body. Her shoulders lowered, her brows rose, her eyes closed. She pressed her lips into Hitoka's cheeks and left silent kisses. “I love you,” she whispered. Hitoka's lips curled into a smile. Her heartfelt lighter every time she was told so.
“I love you too.”
Since they had so many facilities at their disposal, the next two days went by very quickly. They went to the beach again, practiced serving, and receiving the volleyball as well as getting used to traveling in the sand. It didn't take them long to get worn out from all the hard work that went into practice. After washing off the sand and taking another shower, they went to the spa. It was a simple spa, divided off by men and women. The women got the steam sauna while the men got the dry sauna, so there was no trying out the dry sauna. It was hot and steamy, but it was the perfect way to end the night. After having the toxins removed from their body and their muscles soothed, they headed back to their room and almost passed out immediately.
The next day they woke up later than planned. They had really worn themselves out after the previous two days, so they decided to take it easy. They had breakfast, then went back to their room to cuddle while Kiyoko read. Hitoka fell asleep in her arms at some point, so she got stuck sitting out on the balcony with her.
When they woke up, they got dinner and then headed to the spa again. They got cleaned in the public baths first and then sat in the sauna for another 15 minutes before heading back up. Kiyoko went back to reading for a couple of hours while Hitoka let inspiration take over her as she worked on a project. They called it at about 11, snuggled in close to each other, and fell asleep.
The fourth day was another day spent at the beach. They continued to practice volleyball, and Hitoka noticed that it was starting to become easier to travel across the sand without getting tripped up as often. It still wasn't anywhere as graceful as she wanted, but she was pleased with the progress they had both made in such a short amount of time. People were playing in the ocean instead of crowding the pool, so they decided to play in the pool. They had a fight with pool noodles. Afterward, they used as many pool noodles as they could to stay afloat on the water until it slipped out from underneath them and plunged them into the water. They also had a breath-holding competition that Kiyoko won by a couple of seconds.
They then did their regular routine of cleaning off, taking a shower, and then getting ready for dinner.
“All right, let's head downstairs,” Kiyoko said as she grabbed her purse.
“Umm…” Hitoka was intensely looking through her phone as she tried to stop Kiyoko.
“Well… we’ve been eating from that buffet for breakfast and dinner every day now. I was wondering if… maybe we could go to a restaurant. It’s not very far.”
“Sure, what’s it called?”
“Miyagiya. From what I can tell, their menu looks good. It's an 8-minute walk.”
“Sounds good, let’s go then.”
“Also! Maybe tomorrow night and Saturday we could head to the bar here at the hotel. I heard that they do live singing Friday through Sunday, so it’d be nice to check it out for our last two nights.”
“Whatever your heart desires,” Kiyoko said and kissed Hitoka’s cheek.
They headed downstairs and walked out of the resort Hitoka double-checked google maps before she led the way to the restaurant. The light blue sky from a couple of hours ago had faded away into a beautiful gradient of warm colors. The sun was slowly lowering beyond the horizon line. The humidity was still present to make the evening a warm one. They linked arms as they walked and looked at all the different storefronts and beach houses. They passed a trio of loud teenaged girls who were very friendly and told them that they looked cute together, making both women blush and smile.
They made it to Miyagiya, which was noisy and crowded, but there was surprisingly seating available for them. Once they sat down, they looked over the menu before their waiter approached them. Kiyoko ordered first and then asked for the bathroom, excusing herself as Hitoka was still frantically looking over the menu. She finally just picked something random, apologizing for taking so long.
“What’d you pick?” Kiyoko asked when she got back.
“I don't remember. I felt like I was taking too long, so I just picked something random,” Hitoka covered her face.
“It’s a good thing you pretty much like everything.”
“Food is really good. I can't help that it's so tasty.”
“Do you remember what drink you got?”
“Mmm… I think it was an oolong tea.”
“Hitoka, there’s alcohol in those.”
“Really? I wasn’t paying attention at all. It’s fine,” she waved her hand. “Food is food.”
Kiyoko got her order first and waited for Hitoka to get her order as well so they could eat together. Hitoka also would've made the most pitiful face while Kiyoko ate without her. Hitoka inhaled her order once it came out.
“Don't choke, please,” Kiyoko warned. Hitoka covered her mouth as she spoke.
“I wouldn't waste food by choking on it,” she then continued to eat. Kiyoko just shook her head and giggled. Hitoka also sipped her oolong tea down like it was juice. When the waiter came back to clear their table, she ordered another oolong tea as well as a smaller side dish.
“You’re going to be so full. Will you be able to walk back?”
“Heh, I'll be fine. Don't worry your beautiful face about me.” Kiyoko raised an eyebrow at Hitoka's response. When the waiter came back with Hitoka's second order, Kiyoko also asked for waters for them both. Hitoka had already sipped up her second oolong tea by the time the waiter came back with the waters. She then proceeded to order another one.
“Kiyoko… where’s the toilet?”
“Just back there,” Kiyoko pointed. Hitoka was looking in the wrong area, so Kiyoko had to adjust her head until she focused on the sign that had 'toilet' written in large katakana.
“Oh! Thanks, baby,” she louder than was normal for her and almost wobbled off. Hitoka entered the bathroom and went into the first stall. She sat there for a long while after she had finished peeing. She was just thinking about how the last few days had been so fun. She loved spending every moment of her day with Kiyoko and not having to worry about work, her friends, her mother. She eventually made her way out of the stall, washed her hands, and looked herself over in the mirror. She couldn't see her face very clearly because it felt like her whole head was spinning. She closed her eyes, but it only made the spinning worse. She could feel her whole body tilting to the left, so she opened her eyes again and grabbed the counter before she fell over.
“I should go back…” she said to herself. She heard her custom notification sound for Kiyoko go off but, she didn't bother checking her phone as she stumbled back to her table.
“Oh, there you are. You were gone for a while I was starting to get worried.”
“Oooh!” Hitoka saw that she had been given her third oolong tea. She leaned forward and sipped it down just as fast as she had to the previous two. Hitoka mostly babbled about nothing until the waiter came back for the final time with the check.
“Thank you for dining with us, you can pay at the front.”
“Thank you so much.”
“Oh wait, I wanted to order another one… it was really good.”
“I think you’ve had enough, Hitoka.”
“Awww…” she placed her head on the table.
“Hitoka, pick your head up,” Kiyoko whispered as she tried to hold back a laugh.
“My head is so heavy, though…”
“I understand, but we’re leaving now,” Kiyoko got up and pulled Hitoka’s head off the table. She helped her stand up and then carefully guided her to the front. Hitoka headed outside first while Kiyoko paid, and she wandered a couple feet down the street before she heard footsteps chasing after her. “Hitoka! Stop!” Hitoka was grabbed from behind and picked up. “You're going the wrong way, silly.”
“Kiyoko, can you carry me home.”
“I would if I could, but you have to use your legs. Don’t worry, it’s not a far walk.”
Kiyoko held onto Hitoka’s hand very tightly, not giving her the chance to wander. Hitoka looked up to the sky and gazed at the dark blue it had become.
“Kiyoko… where are the stars?”
“They’re there, you just can’t see them because you’re too drunk.”
“I’m not drunk!”
“Shshsh,” Kiyoko stroked her head.
“Sorry,” Hitoka whispered. “When are we getting home?” She continued to whisper.
“We’ll be home in a couple of minutes. Just keep walking.”
“It feels like it’s been 10 minutes.”
“It’s been 30 seconds.”
“Ooh…” Hitoka went silent for a moment before she loudly gasped, “let’s race!” Kiyoko covered Hitoka’s mouth with her hand.
“The last time you ran in flip flops, you fell.” Hitoka let out a muffled cry of pain as she relived the memory. “Just walk like normal,” Kiyoko removed her hand. Hitoka just nodded, and she then continued to lift all her limbs more than necessary as she walked.
Halfway through the walk, Hitoka stopped.
“Hitoka, I have to pee!” Hitoka exclaimed.
“I’m Kiyoko, you’re Hitoka.” Hitoka squinted her eyes and stared at Kiyoko for a couple of seconds without saying anything.
“Kiyoko—” Kiyoko covered Hitoka’s mouth again.
“We’re almost there, can you hold it?”
“Mmm, I think so.” Kiyoko pulled Hitoka along and made her walk faster.
They finally made it back to the hotel, and Hitoka rushed to the bathroom on the first floor, Kiyoko following her.
“Pee~ Pee~ Pee~ I got to go pee~ I got to go pee~” Hitoka sang while she was in the bathroom. She continued to sing it as she came out of the stall and washed her hands. When she went to leave, she yelped. “Kiyoko! When did you get there?”
“I’ve been standing here the whole time.”
“Oh,” she sighed and tilted her head to the side. “Take me home!” She flung her arms up and began to fall backward. She was caught before her body smashed onto the tiles.
“Hitoka!” Kiyoko strained her voice as she tried not to scream. “You’re going to hurt yourself if you do that again.” The distressed look on Kiyoko’s face instantly caused Hitoka’s grin to deflate.
“Oh… I’m sorry.”
“Let's go,” Kiyoko stood Hitoka back up and kept a tight grip on her hand as they left the bathroom for the elevator. Hitoka was silent the whole way back to their room. Kiyoko left Hitoka on the bed as she disappeared into the bathroom. Hitoka covered her face and leaned forward onto the bed, groaning loudly. She closed her hands until her nails were stabbing into the palms of her hand. She could only think about the face Kiyoko made when they were in the bathroom. She had ruined everything. She had upset the love of her life so badly that she couldn't stand to look at her anymore. She was probably going to stay in the bathroom all night. Or worse, she'd come out and break it off right then and there. Oh god, she was going to break up with her. Then she'd be alone forever because she'd never find anyone as good as Kiyoko. Kiyoko was way out of her league anyway; she couldn't fathom why she would get with a pathetic idiot like her. She could've had anyone she wanted, someone who would make her happy and give her anything that she desired; someone who would treat her right. She squeezed her eyes tight, trying not to let tears fall, but it only made it worse. Tears were streaming down her face as she dug her nails deep into her skin. She sobbed until she felt her wrists grabbed and pulled up to see her girlfriend's face. The look on her face only caused more tears to fall.
“Hitoka?” Kiyoko's voice was shaking, and so were her hands. “What's wrong? Why are you crying?”
“I-I-I’m sorry!” She cried.
“Why are you sorry?” Kiyoko was desperately wiping the tears from Hitoka’s face.
“I’m not-I'm not good enough for you!” Hitoka couldn't look at Kiyoko. She kept pushing her hands away and trying to cover her face because she felt like the worst girlfriend in existence.
“Hitoka…” Kiyoko grabbed Hitoka’s face and forced her to look at her, “I love you more than anything. Don’t you dare think that you’re not good enough. Not just for me, but for anything.”
“But-but,” Hitoka was breathing and gasping so heavily she could barely form a sentence.
“Listen to me! I love you more than anything! I love you more than anything!” She repeated.
“I do too,” Hitoka’s voice cracked. “I’d do-I’d-I’d—”
“I know,” Kiyoko pressed her forehead to Hitoka’s. “Trust me. I’m more than aware of how you feel about me. You’ve never made me doubt that you love me just as much. S-So… don’t make me start crying too…”
When the women settled down, Kiyoko took Hitoka to the bathroom and cleaned her face as well as her own. They sat in bed together, Hitoka leaning her back into Kiyoko. Hitoka was still drunk, but she was finally calm. The only thing she could do was rave about all the times Kiyoko had made her heart want to jump out of her chest. What her perspective was during romantic memories. How beguiled she was when they met for the first. The feelings that got stirred in her stomach whenever Kiyoko would place her hands on certain parts of Hitoka's body. She even admitted that she had bought Kiyoko a ring and was planning to propose to her once she finally mustered up the courage.
“B-But… keep that a secret. I don’t want you to know. Otherwise… it wouldn’t be a surprise,” Hitoka laughed.
“Aww, Hitoka. I promise, I’ll keep it a secret.”
Hitoka woke up with a headache. Her eyes burned, and her breath was atrocious. She hurried to the bathroom to clean herself, and afterward, she took a rag and soaked it in warm water. She wrung it out and held it to her forehead.
“Good afternoon,” Kiyoko greeted as she came in from the balcony.
“Yup. You had a bit of a moment last night, so I'm not surprised you slept in for so long.”
“A moment? What kind of moment?”
“You got drunk off a couple of oolong teas. You don’t remember?”
“Euuuuh…” she strained her brain, trying to remember. She remembered crying a lot and talking nonstop. She couldn't remember what she talked about that.
“Don't think too hard. How about lunch, though?”
“I think I could go for lunch,” she nodded.
Hitoka changed, and they headed downstairs together for lunch. When they paid and sat down, Hitoka tried to talk while eating.
“So, what did I talk about?” She asked, covering her mouth as she spoke.
“Uh… well,” Kiyoko's face was turning bright pink.
“Eh?” Hitoka leaned forward. Kiyoko continued to stammer, playing with the fruit on her plate. “W-What did I say?”
“You were… telling me about lots of stuff. Mostly about being together and… your feelings.”
“Huh? T-That’s really vague! What did I say?” Half of Hitoka’s body was hovering above the table as she kept leaning in closer to get information out of Kiyoko.
“It was just a bunch of mushy romantic stuff. How much you loved me… and things like that. It was really cute, actually.”
“Ahhh! That's embarrassing,” Hitoka plopped back down in her chair and began to shovel breakfast into her mouth. “I mean… whatever I said was true, I'm sure.” Kiyoko’s small smile turned into a grin. She didn’t say anything, but her smile practically stayed on her face for the rest of the day.
They decided that they'd skip the beach for the day and instead just walk around the hotel, exploring all the different rooms and taking pictures of the beautiful decorations and views. And before it became too late, they gathered their dirty clothes and headed to the laundry room. Hitoka asked if they would still be going to the lounge. Kiyoko confirmed, but she would be enforcing some drinking restrictions on Hitoka so she wouldn't have another breakdown.
“I told you we made it in time. They're still setting up,” Kiyoko said as Hitoka had finally stopped rushing her.
“Sorry,” she laughed, “I just wanted to make sure we didn’t miss it.”
“I’m an old lady Hitoka, you’re too full of energy,” she chuckled and took a seat at the bar.
“If you're an old lady now, then I guess I'll be one next year.”
“Then we can be old ladies together,” Kiyoko said and patted the seat next to her. Hitoka turned bright as her future flashed before her eyes. She shuffled over and sat down next to Kiyoko, spinning in the chair to face the bar.
“What can I get for you, ladies?” The bartender asked.
“I’ll have just have a beer. And she will be having water in between her drinks,” Kiyoko gestured over to Hitoka, who was in the middle of reaching for one of the triangle menus. Hitoka stopped and looked back at Kiyoko.
“Could I just have a bowl of edamame for now?”
“Certainly.” Hitoka looked through the menu, searching for something that she could stick to for the night. More people slowly filled the bar, taking seats around the stage or at the farthest seats away from the couple at the bar.
After 10-minutes, the lounge was decently filled, the women had their drinks, and Hitoka slowly sipping on a lemon sour that was, here's a shocker, too sour.
“Good evening, everyone,” the singer on stage announced herself. “I hope you've all been enjoying your stay at the hotel. Tonight, the band and I will be preforming a couple of songs for you all. So, just relax and get yourself a drink to sip on.” Hitoka was the only one to clap at first, then Kiyoko joined, which caused the rest of the audience to politely clap.
“This is way too sour,” Hitoka leaned over to whisper.
“Ask for another drink.”
“I will, but… I’d feel weird about not finishing it so I’m gonna finish it.”
“Here, let me try it.” Hitoka handed the glass to Kiyoko. She took a sip. She kept great control over her face, but she shook her head and gave the glass back to Hitoka. “Mm-mm. That's so bitter. Make sure you chug some water afterward for your tastebuds' sake.”
Once the first song was over, Hitoka finished her lemon sour and then chugged a glass of water. She then ordered sake, and Kiyoko ordered another beer. They got their drinks and a bowl of edamame, then they moved from the bar to a table with a loveseat and cuddled up next to each other. They stayed and listened to all of the songs that were performed. There was a fifteen-minute break, then the band went back on stage to perform a couple more songs. They were thoroughly buzzed by the end of the night. Not drunk enough to be disruptive and irritate the other guests, but enough to ease the social awkwardness that they both had. Eating edamame and drinking water in between alcohol was the best way for them to drink.
They thanked the band for their performance and told them that they'd be back tomorrow night to hear them play again, which earned lots of gratitude and bashful behavior. They then headed back to their room and took a bath together, skipping the shower since they didn’t go to the beach.
“Aaand done,” Kiyoko got off the bed and admired her handiwork. The braid she had put on Hitoka for practice was rough, but it was at least good enough to sleep in.
“Thank you,” Hitoka shook her head around, feeling her braid fly through the air behind her. She grabbed the hand mirror from the nightstand and looked herself over. “You did a good job.”
“I’ll redo it in the morning. I’m still a little buzzed so I know my work can be better.”
“Of course. Any attention from you is very appreciated,” Hitoka held her arms out, and Kiyoko leaned forward and squeezed her tight. Behind Kiyoko, Hitoka was still attempting to look at the braid in the hand mirror. She pressed her face into Kiyoko's cheek and kissed her while straining her eyes to look at the same time.
“Are you still looking at yourself in the mirror,” she asked.
“No.” Which was true. She was looking at the braid, not herself.
“Oh really?” Kiyoko squeezed Hitoka’s sides, causing her to pull away. Kiyoko had her too tightly, so she was unable to escape.
“NO!” Kiyoko continued to tickle the other as she squirmed and laughed hysterically underneath of her. “Please! Have mercy!” She cried. Kiyoko was leaning on top of Hitoka, pinning her to the bed. She settled down on torturing Hitoka and pressed their noses together.
“What will you give me in exchange for mercy?” There was a playful tone to her voice, but behind it was something else.
“Oh… uh… love?”
“Hmm,” she hummed, “that didn’t sound very compelling.”
“My love didn’t sound compelling?” Kiyoko just chuckled and kissed her.
“I think I want to keep you at my mercy for a bit longer, if you know hat I mean.” A whole new kind of heat washed over Hitoka's body when she caught on. Her face was on fire, and all sorts of feelings were stirring in her stomach.
“Ah-eh-uh…” she could only get noises.
“Is that a yes or no?”
“It’s a yes,” she finally said.
Hitoka woke up first. Despite the air conditioner being set to freezing the entire time they were there, she felt unbelievably hot and sweaty. She looked to her side to see Kiyoko was clinging to her. She couldn’t move her left arm or leg as she had apprehended both of them in her sleep. Hitoka groaned and pushed the blanket off of her with her free hand.
“That's so much better,” she whispered to herself. She loved waking up right next to Kiyoko, but she hated how much heat she generated throughout the night. She wanted to get up to go to the bathroom, but she couldn't bear to wake her up. She laid there for another 30-minutes, going in and out of sleep. Her bladder finally had enough and screamed at her to get up. “Kiyoko,” she nudged her girlfriend slightly. Solid. She wanted to cry. “Kiyoko, please,” she shook her again. Still solid. She couldn't be timid anymore, so she pulled her arm and leg free. She tumbled out of bed and raced to the bathroom.
“Are you okay?” Kiyoko was sitting up when she exited the bathroom.
“I’m fine. I just had to pee really badly and you wouldn’t let me go. Sorry for waking you.”
“Oh no, I’m sorry for holding you hostage,” she laughed.
They then got ready for the day. They took a shower, brushed their teeth, got dressed in their swimsuits. While Kiyoko was putting hers one, Hitoka headed out to the balcony, which was slightly wet. She looked down at the beach and saw that the sand was damp.
“I think it rained last night,” she said.
“Yeah. The sand is wet. And it feels so goooood!" She took her first deep breath of cold outside air. It had been humid the entire time; it finally dissipated on their last day.
“What’s the plan for today then?”
“We can’t really play any volleyball with the sand all wet. At least, I don’t particularly care to.”
"True… we should take a walk then. Before we go you can braid my hair again," Hitoka grabbed the railing and leaned back to see that Kiyoko was standing behind her.
“Hi,” Kiyoko leaned down and gave her a quick kiss. “Go sit down, I’ll do better this time.”
Kiyoko took out the braid from last night and combed and brushed her hair. Hitoka just closed her eyes, smiling to herself. She loved every ounce of attention she got from Kiyoko; not like she got a lack of it. It was calming being around the person she loved the most, having her brush through her hair, and quietly focus on doing the best job that she could.
“Hey, don’t fall asleep.”
“I’m not falling asleep,” Hitoka said, continuing to get sleepier. Kiyoko quickly finished before Hitoka got too comfy.
“Let’s go take our walk now,” Kiyoko adjusted a couple of the decorative clips in her hair, then grabbed her hands and pulled her off the bed.
“You should carry me on our walk,” Hitoka got up and wrapped her arms around Kiyoko.
“If I carry you then it’d be my walk not our walk.”
“Mhm,” Hitoka snuggled into Kiyoko’s chest, listening to her heartbeat. The beating was fast, but it was relaxing. Her skin was warm and smooth, and it smelled faintly like honey and vanilla. Kiyoko caressed her head and held her for a while. They swayed back and forth as they stood there.
“We can stay in if you want,” Kiyoko said.
“Just a couple more minutes and we can go,” Hitoka murmured.
Once Hitoka was satisfied with clinging to Kiyoko, she slapped her cheeks to really wake herself up, and they went on their walk. They left the hotel and headed to the convenience store nearby to buy snacks and drinks. They walked around the town for a couple of hours, occasionally taking breaks to drink and eat. They were both pretty quiet for the majority of the walk, but Hitoka knew that for both of them, being near each other was more than enough. They didn't always need to talk, because they would run out of things to talk about if they did. The town was simple, relatively quiet, and beautiful, which was to be expected of a more tourist-centered island. Tokyo was similar. There was way more hustle and bustle, but tourism was always high for that very reason. She did enjoy living in the city, but she couldn't help but imagine a future where they got to settle down and move somewhere quiet. Away from traffic, away from the bright lights that never died down even in the sunlight. Not a single star could be seen in Tokyo, but down in Okinawa, the night sky was like a black canvas that had sliver glitter spilled all over it.
“What are you thinking about?”
“Hm? Oh… nothing really. This place is just really beautiful.”
“I bet Shoyo would love it here.”
“When was the last time you spoke with him?”
“Hmm… not too long ago. I haven’t talked to anyone except you for this whole trip, hah.”
“Me either. Do you miss him?”
“Yeah. Tobio, too. Everybody, really.”
“But Shoyo is pretty much your best friend.”
“Well… yeah. I just hope he thinks so too!" Hitoka wondered about all of the friends he had made in Brazil. She was happy for him, though. And she knew he was happy for her too. She was pretty content with life. "You know who else is my best friend?"
“You are,” Hitoka squeezed Kiyoko’s hand.
“I thought I was your girlfriend.”
“You can be both at the same time!”
“I know, I’m just messing with you.”
They made it back to the hotel in the middle of the afternoon, and by the time they had returned, the sand had dried. They took another hour to just sit in the sun on the beach, and they played one last game of volleyball together. Afterward, they performed their evening ritual of showering, bathing, then sitting in the sauna.
“We should build a sauna in our apartment,” Hitoka said, her arms were perched behind her on the top of the bench with her head leaning back.
“I feel like we could manage a sauna. Then we’d always have something to talk about when people want to come over.”
“I don’t know if the landlady would like it, though…”
“We could give her free access to it, then she wouldn’t mind.”
“We’d resort to bribery?”
“Anything to make your dream come true,” they just laughed together about it. Then, Kiyoko and Hitoka awkwardly quieted down when another woman entered the sauna in the middle of their fit. Hitoka quickly leaned her head up and placed her hands on her lap. They exchanged glances and smiled at each other. Another couple of minutes passed, and they headed back to their room, getting dressed to sit in the lounge for the rest of the night and drink more alcohol,
Hitoka stayed far away from the lemon sour, sticking with the sake that she had grown accustomed to last night. Kiyoko also stuck with her beer. There was one point during the night when Hitoka caught Kiyoko sipping on her sake when she had turned her head.
The day and the night went by in the blink of an eye. It was almost unfair how their last full day there went by the quickest compared to all the rest. Once they got back to the hotel room, the reality of it all set in for Hitoka. She walked out to the balcony and sat down. Kiyoko followed and sat down as well. She looked over at her girlfriend, wearing a huge frown.
“Why are you making that face?”
“I’m just sad… it’s our last night here.”
“I know. This week went by faster than I thought it would,” Kiyoko reached her hand out and placed it on top of Hitoka’s.
“Did you have fun?” Hitoka asked.
“Yes. I had lots of fun,” Kiyoko leaned her head back, “did a weeklong workout, got a great tan, and spent time with you.”
“My body does hurt a lot. I never thought I’d come away from a vacation bruised and sore,” Hitoka just laughed. The two then looked at each other and smiled. They gazed into each other’s eyes and watched as bright white moonlight caressed their cheeks.
Kiyoko got up and stood in front of Hitoka. She got close enough to lean her leg up against the chair in between Hitoka's legs. She cupped her face and leaned closer. Hitoka did her best not to break eye contact, but the proximity between them got so short so fast. Her heart began to pick up in speed, and she felt a new wave of heat flow all over her body.
“Did I do a good job?” Kiyoko whispered, voice wavering. Hitoka bit her lip and squeezed the arms of the chair until her knuckles and fingernails turned white. She wanted to speak, but Kiyoko began to lean down. The Distance between their lips narrowed, warm memories sparking in the front of her mind. She remembered her girlfriend with long hair and different glasses. The height difference didn't seem as big back then, but maybe she was just kidding herself. As Kiyoko kissed Hitoka, she couldn't help but revert to her high school self. Trembling just as hard with a heart that felt like it was about to burst into a million pieces. And all those pieces belonged to Kiyoko. Her hands moved from the arms of the chair to Kiyoko's back, gripping tightly to her sundress. The silky fabric felt so slippery in between her fingers, even with the deathlock she had on it. Hitoka wanted the moment to never end, and she wouldn't have minded if holding onto the love of her life while kissing was the last thing she did.