Shiori turned her head to Rui who was resting beside her on the bed.
“It’s now just a day- I mean today, since it’s already 1 AM, before I move to the UK because of work. Time runs fast, doesn’t it?”
“Mhm,” Shiori answered, moving closer to Rui to snuggle with her. “Ah, wait how long? I don’t quite remember.”
“I’ll be away for like, 2 years minimum. I don’t want to work abroad longer than that because I’ll miss you so much. Glad the manager is alright with me,” Rui giggled. She slightly moved Shiori’s bangs and gently kissed her forehead. “That was a joke, by the way. I should be in Liverpool for 3 years but I have my reason to cut the duration. The forepart is true, though.”
At first, Shiori didn’t expect that she would be home alone without Rui on her side. It would take some time for her to adjust herself. The house would be quiet without her voice. There wouldn’t be late-night snuggle with Rui anymore. No more tea time with the one she loved the most unless if Rui wanted to sip a tea at midnight in which Shiori didn’t recommend to.
“If only you could move out with me to Liverpool, then I’m good to permanently work here, but” —Rui’s eyes darted over the big gray wolf-like tuxedo fluff pillow that was sleeping peacefully on the corner— “It’s difficult to bring a pet to the airplane, especially if we have to transit for a few times. Honestly, I don’t want Kenji to get stressed. He’s such a lovely fluff ball.”
Shiori nodded. Slowly, she put her hand on Rui’s head and gently pat her. “It’s fine, Rui. I’ll be waiting for your next arrival, alright? Kenji will wag his tail happily when he sees you coming back later.”
“Hehe I got some pats!” the dark-haired girl had the corners of her lips slid upwards innocently. “That’s unusual for you because usually, I’m the one who pats your head before going to sleep. Anyway, it’s already late so good night, Shiori!”
The sunlight beamed through the curtain, waking up the taller girl from the slumber. She rubbed her eyes and glanced over the clock; it was already past 8 AM, 7 hours before the flight. There wasn’t any presence of her spouse. Such an early riser she is, Rui murmured.
There had to be times when she wouldn’t wake up beside her beloved spouse. Whenever she thought about it, a small part of her heart felt lonely. A hopeless romantic, Rui couldn’t find herself standing far away from her beloved spouse, unless one of them had to do a business trip. Technically speaking, she would have a business trip, but it would be two years long instead of the usual three days or maybe two weeks long.
Rui stretched her body before rising from the bed. Kenji followed Rui as she went to the bathroom to wash her face and brush her teeth before going downstairs to meet her spouse. By the time she arrived on the first floor, she was welcomed by a flavorsome scent.
The gray husky then left for breakfast, leaving her alone in the hallway. Creating no noise, Rui walked to the dining room, and here she saw Shiori setting up the table backing her.
Indeed, she had to be recharged more before leaving. Nothing could beat a warm, firm hug in the forenoon. Clear blue sky, chirping birds, no trace of downpour, what an ideal morning for the small family.
Rui placed her arms around the blonde, pulling her into a brief, yet affectionate hug. The blonde surprised, turning her head at the brown-haired girl who was laughing at the result. She pouted, but there were small rosy pink emerged from her cheeks.
“What are you up to?”
“Preparing our breakfast,” Shiori said, hand placing a set of chopsticks beside the bowl before giving Rui another soft hug as her response. “You’re so warm, Rui.”
“Well, you are too.” Rui lightly pressed her lips on the smaller girl’s forehead. “The ramen looks delicious! Let us eat while it’s still hot, shall we?”
Shiori nodded. They released the hug, giving each other a pleasant smile.
Even something small like this could bring joyfulness to their hearts. One by one, Rui wanted to cherish all the things she did with Shiori. There wouldn’t be a warm hug and snuggle later in Liverpool. She couldn’t kiss her like the way she did. Now that she had time to eat breakfast together with the one she loved the most instead of the routine of eating an onigiri or a sandwich before going to work, her heart jumped in exuberant. It felt like bliss, a shimmering diamond that had to be treasured. What could she ask more?
“It’s really delicious! When did you learn how to cook tonkotsu ramen this tasty?”
Hearing the appreciation, Shiori let out a small, yet gleeful laugh. “With the help of onee-chan and Tomoe-san.”
“Oh, Fumi-senpai and Tamao-senpai! How are they doing now?”
“Look like an old married couple as always,” Shiori shrugged. “It’s quite funny to think that my sister is a head over heels for Tomoe-san. Lovebirds.”
Rui chuckled. They didn’t change at all.
“When you meet them again, please send my regards.”
The clock was ticking, beating, and without realizing it, it was already 9 and half. She helped Shiori to wash the dishes first before going for a warm shower.
Later, after finished putting on clothes, she started moving the set of luggage to the car. Those were heavy, but not a real problem for her thanks to the gym. Shiori was still preparing herself and she had already put the last luggage. When Rui came back and sat on the terrace chair, Kenji approached her, and it appeared that he knew what was up.
“Kenji, it’s fine. I’m not going to live forever in Liverpool. We can meet again in the future.”
His ears were down. He kept whining while Rui hugged him.
“There will be times when I’m not at home. So”—Rui softly patted his head and squeezed his cheeks—“please take care of my dear, alright? I’ll miss you so much, my beloved fuzzy gray ball.”
Rui smiled. She'll miss her dog, but there was nothing she could do other than saying “Hi!” through phone calls or video calls. We can’t keep a horse since we’re all busy adults but having a dog will be great too, Shiori said.
A few minutes later, Shiori came. Rui then stood up, carrying Kenji inside the house, gave some snacks, and said goodbye to him before locking the door. She asked Shiori if she had filled the water bowl and Shiori nodded while opening the gate.
“So… may I drive?”
Mazda 6 was one of her most utter hard work results. The stylish, silver sports car was one of the few cars that caught her eyes. The car was comfortable enough to make her circling around Tokyo back when she finally had the chance to purchase it. Sure, it was quite expensive, but better to have one rather than just to be wishful thinking. Shiori was cool with that idea, too.
“Sure, I mean, this is your favorite, right?”
“Thank you! I’ll take out the car first. You can lock the gate afterwards.”
Rui went inside the car, turning on the engine. She took out the car first and waited for Shiori.
If only she could have one more quality time with her, Rui mumbled. Just both of them in the middle of a flowery field, gazing through each other's eyes and letting the feeling speak. The breeze was calm; the flower bloomed endlessly as far as their eyes could see. Where could she find such a serene, yet imaginary place? Bright sky, the sound of zephyr, nothing to stress for. Pretty much an unattainable dream.
Ah, she’s here.
“Alright then, shall we get going?”
Shiori asked while closing the door, “Have you brought all the key documents, anything necessary?”
“Mhm, I’ve already packed everything since a few days ago. I’m good.”
“Okay then, let’s head to the airport.”
The car accelerated. On their way to the airport, they talked with each other freely and laughed when someone pulled out a joke. Since it was already a few hours before the flight, Rui slowly sped up the car to rush through time. Nevertheless, they finally arrived in Narita on time.
While pushing the trolley full of luggage to the check-in place. Shiori was silent. Rui didn’t know what she was thinking of. She was a bit different back when they were on their way. Suddenly, a hand clutched a part of her jacket out of surprise.
“Shiori, what’s wrong?”
“Ah, n-no it’s nothing…”
She stuttered a little bit. Rui smiled, placing her hand on her head, and started patting her.
“When I have the time, let’s video call shall we?”
Rui started checking in the luggage she brought. The staff praised her on her power of lifting all the luggage by herself and she only answered with a laugh, “It’s nothing, really.”
When she had stored the luggage, she had some time with Shiori before finally going to the waiting room. The blonde held Rui’s hand tightly as if she didn’t want Rui to depart.
“Shiori, are you okay?”
Rui asked in worry. It was unusual for Shiori to be this worrywart.
“I just… how can I say it? Two years without you and I’ll miss your good morning voice and your warmness.”
“Ahaha! Should I record my voice here?”
Shiori shook her head. “It’s fine. I can adjust myself.”
“Anyway,” Rui opened her arms, ready to enfold the smaller girl. “Here, let me give you a farewell hug.”
Rui stepped closer to Shiori, wrapped her arms in a hug. It was a tight, heartfelt hug. Shiori buried her face on Rui’s jacket.
Deep down, this felt painful. No one spoke and the voice of people talking and rushing filled the background around them. There was a silent between them. It was now their feeling who talked to each other, grasping all the everyday memories they had passed together.
“Please wait for me.”
Rui broke the silence. Her throat felt dry after saying those words.
“I’ll… be waiting for your next arrival, Rui.”
Rui released the hug and smiled the brightest before walking to the waiting room.