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I’ll make you happy in our new life together

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Chise was working out the numbers in her report as a familiar set of footsteps approached her.

“Hey, Chitose…”

“I told you to call me Chise when we're in the office!” The young blonde woman complained as she turned to face the man who’d called out to her earlier. It was her boyfriend - the handsome but sharp-tongued Toudou Lihito. Though apart from his constant cold attitude. He did occasionally show his softer side to people who are close to him, such as Chise or the young senior-subordinate couple Kaoru and Mahiro. They thought they did a great job hiding their relationship, but nothing can get past Chise’s eyes, both literally and metaphorically. With her synesthesia, it was not long before she was able to draw the conclusion that those two cuties were totally head over heels for each other, and she’s down for it.

"Sorry, Chise… Wait, that wasn’t what I’m here for. I want to ask you…” Lihito put down his stack of paperwork in front of his colleague-plus-girlfriend. She pointed at the papers:

“To calculate this?”

“Now you’re just being bratty aren’t you. No, I want to ask if you would like to take a few days off with me, to go on a trip together… and do all kinds of stuff.”

Chise had to stop typing to take a good look at her lover. “And where did you get this idea from?"

"We've been dating for so long, and our work has been taking over our lives so much that… we haven't gotten any chance to have a private luxurious trip together. So I wanted to do something new for a change of pace."

“When is this trip gonna be?”

“Next month.”

“Where are we going?”

“Does Hokkaido sound good?”

“Yay! I’m going, then!”

“Then, it’s settled. I’ll give you the details later, when everything is all planned out.”

"Lookin' forward to it!"

Lihito decided that he should spend this vacation with Chise only. He had planned everything beforehand - the destination, their sightseeing tour, their place to stay… it would be perfect. Since it was her first time travelling after a long time, Chise was way more hyped than she usually was. Like a young girl, she seemed thrilled at absolutely everything, wanting to visit every site, every building that she saw on the way.

Chise and Lihito finally stayed at a ryokan that also doubles as an onsen in Otaru, which was recommended to Lihito by Ryoga, his senior who’s always watched over everyone in their team. They bickered all the time, though this time Lihito was actually thankful for the help that Ryoga had offered. After a nice long bath, they were both too tired to do anything other than stay in their comfortable ryokan room to eat and drink. But as he had his fourth cup of sake, Lihito noticed something. The yukata that was adorning Chise’s body was only loosely tied, so a part of her breasts was shown to her partner. Lihito hurriedly covered it up for his girlfriend, almost yelling at her:

“Y-you shouldn’t show everything like that!”

“You’ve seen me before, it’s fine, it’s fine!” Chise flapped her hand in a rather carefree manner. “Moreover, don’t you like seeing me cute only for you?”

“But I have something serious that I need to discuss with you. Sit here, Chise.” Tapping his long, slender finger on the tatami, Lihito’s expression was clear enough for Chise to stop fooling around. When she’s positioned herself to sit opposite him, their faces facing directly at each other, the older man cleared his throat:

“I… want to marry you.”

“What?”

Chise almost jumped. Litto’s gotta be kidding, or he’s hella tipsy right now. But the colour and taste of his voice clearly shows that he’s not at all kidding. Confused, she just stared at her partner with, in Lihito’s opinion, the dumbest but cutest smile he’s ever seen.

“I’m being serious here, don’t ignore my words.”

“Litto…”

“I… It’s been… Well, we’ve been together for so long, and everyday it pains me… well, not exactly in a bad way, but I feel both excitement and pain in my chest when thinking about marrying you.”

Chise giggled a little bit to cover up her true feelings. In all seriousness, she never thought that Lihito would be someone to propose like this.

“Don’t laugh!” The older man’s face was flushing red. Chise wondered if it was because of the sake or because of what he just said. Probably both.

 

“Look…” Lihito kneeled to make himself look more serious and committed. Then, he bowed down, head almost touching the ground:

“Please… let me marry you. I vow to take care of you, and to love you no matter what happens…”

“L… Litto, don’t do that….!” Chise cried. She quickly moved to his side to guide him up. Deep down in her heart, Chise was glad her boyfriend wasn't into extravagant proposals. He was the type to either stick to traditions, or do the most cheesy things - which he deemed "romantic" in his own words - he possibly can.

"Then, please answer me truthfully. Will you marry me?"

"Yes! Let’s get married!” Chise's voice has started to crack. With a sigh of relief, Lihito clumsily wrapped his arms around Chise, feeling his yukata sleeves slowly getting wet from the tears of his fiancée. Then they kissed. That night, Chise and Lihito melt away in each other's arms, feeling the unreal and newfound joy of love.

 

*****

The day has finally come. The shrine where the wedding was gonna be held was a private and very peaceful shrine, which has l0ng been associated with good relationships and happy marriage. Chise’s parents helped them choose the site, since Lihito liked things to have an artistic touch and Chise’s father, being the artist he was, was kind enough to help his father find a venue for her wedding. On their way to the shrine, Chise couldn’t help but feel nervous, just like on their first date. She suddenly felt like she was reliving the moment of five years ago, when she first started dating Lihito. Only this time, they were no longer holding hands to the exciting rides of the amusement park. They were on their way to marriage, to enter a new life.

“Alright… the bride please go upstairs, and the groom… Please stay here.” The wedding organizer made them part ways early for the wedding gown fitting.

“Nooooo! Litto~!” Chise waved her hand towards Lihito.

“Relax. It’s not like you and I aren’t gonna meet later when we have to get the ceremony done.”

"Okay…"

With one last whine, Chise finally gave in and let the women take her upstairs to get her preparations done.

First was the padding. The women put some thick pads on Chise’s shoulder and upper body to create a form for the wedding kimono to fit her. When they’ve gotten the basic shape, the women then put on the nagajuban as the first layer, then comes the kakeshita. They tied it with a large white obi, which Chise had no idea how it was so impressively tied. Finally, they put on her the uchikake - the silk embroidered thick outer coat. The bride could barely stand straight, as the wedding kimono had put so much weight on her.

“Um… this is… a little too heavy…” Chise started to feel her shoulders aching a little bit.

“You gotta bear with it if you want to look pretty for your groom!”

Chise turned her head around to make herself more comfortable. Even moving in this gown was hard enough. Just as she did so, she noticed Lihito was shyly peeking at him from the outside. She waved at him and smiled, a sunny and childlike smile, like she always did whenever they saw each other.

“Wait for me, Litto.”

Lihito could feel his heart pounding. He knew Chise was a beautiful woman, but he didn’t think he could be any more alluring and beautiful than she already did. He bit his lip to try to keep himself from saying anything unnecessary, before getting dragged back to his own preparations by his friends. The wig that they put on Chise was rather light, which she was absolutely thankful for as she heard that it was going to be terribly heavy and would make her neck ache. The last thing that they needed to do for the bride was to put the wataboshi on Chise. It was a hat, designed to keep the bride's face hidden for the groom to see. At first, the wataboshi was just a winter hat, used to keep people warm in cold weather. But nowadays, it also serves as a kind of coverage for brides in a traditional wedding.

Right when everything was finished on Chise’s side, she rushed to her fiancé to see how things were going for him. The bride let out a loud gasp as she saw her groom. Lihito was standing in the middle of the room, in a sharp black kimono with a striped hakama. His messy hair was slicked back in order for the attendees and the gods to get a good look at his handsome face.

“You’re done already?”

“Yeah, it doesn’t take too long to wear this. I’ve been waiting for you, actually. Uh… how do I look?”

“Sharp! Litto, you’re the coolest! I wanna hug you so bad…”

“Let’s leave it for after the ceremony, alright?” With a gentle smile, Lihito managed to calm his fiancée’s racing heart.

After all kinds of preparations were done, they were escorted to the pavilion by a group that consisted of an orchestra that played music for the gods, shrine maidens and priests. Chise noticed that the ground was a little bit damp. It probably rained not long before their wedding.

"Hey, Litto." She quietly nudged her fiancé’s arm. "It seems like we're not the only one marrying today. The foxes are having a wedding too."

"Fox's wedding?"

"Yes. It rained not long ago, see?"

Lihito looked at the ground beneath him, then looked up at the sky. It seemed like even the gods had blessed them. When the couple entered the pavilion, they were greeted and guided inside by the priests who would be in charge of the ceremony.

First, the Shinto priest announced their marriage to the gods, then the couple had to get the sankon no gi - sake drinking ritual - done. The ritual was meant to strengthen their bond as husband and wife, as the bride and groom take turns sipping from three cups of sake which were increasing in size and poured three times. Lihito watched, as Chise drank the sake. Seeing her so quiet was strange, to say the least. Lihito had already gotten used to the noisy, childish Chise. It stirred his curiosity, though he didn’t have the courage to actually tell his soon-to-be wife so. Plus, they had to keep quiet until the seishi hodoku, when Lihito had to read the wedding vows to the gods, so he didn’t have any chance to open his mouth either.

Together, they hold the vow that they would read to the Shinto gods. Lihito started to read it, as Chise quietly watched him.

“On this great day, before the Ookami, we are sincerely thankful for this ceremony. Going forward, we will love each other, trust one another, share the good times and the bad, and swear that this will stay unchanged throughout our lifetime.

Reiwa 16, June 27. Husband, Toudou.”

Chise spoke, for the first time since the ceremony started, “And wife, Chise.”

Then they prayed in front of the gods. Chise and Lihito both held a branch of evergreen with blooming flowers on it. It was believed that these branches would deliver their wishes to the gods. Though Lihito might not seem like one who'd believe in these kinds of myths, in a brief moment he did pray for the gods to bless this marriage, to make it happy for both of them. Then, after the praying was done, both put the branches down.

Lastly, it was the yubiwa kokan. Lihito took the ring from the priest and put it through Chise’s ring finger. Then, it was Chise’s turn. She almost dropped the ring from being so nervous, but Lihito had already held her hand firmly, assuring her that everything was okay. As she passed the ring through her husband’s finger, she noticed he was trembling a little bit too. Giving her husband a naughty little chuckle, she was actually happier than ever. Without knowing that their partner also thought the same, Chise and Lihito both childishly wished for time to stop at that moment, so that they could cherish it forever.

As they both walked outside to take pictures with their families, Chise quickly glanced at her husband. Lihito was even more charming and elegant than ever, and his voice was a bit different. It was filled with colours of excitement and nervousness.

"I know I've hurt you in the past, but I'll do my best to keep you happy in our new life together." Lihito took his bride's hand in his and gently kissed it. "That's a promise. You can count on me with that."

“Litto…”

“Seeing you like this makes me just want to keep you to myself.” Lihito sighed. Chise really was alluring, in the pure white shiromuku. Divine she was, dressed in an all-white gown that was adorned with crane patterns. Her lips being painted with a bright red tint made her all the more charming. And the fact that Chise’s face was covered only for her husband to see made everything about this day all the more precious. Hushed, she touched her husband's cheek, whispering sweetly:

"Please dye me in your colour tonight."

*****

"We're expecting a baby!" Chise exclaimed happily as she rubbed her stomach. Sitting opposite her in the cute lil chic cafe was Kaoru, her subordinate in the company. Kaoru was taken aback by this, but she quickly got back on her feet:

"Congratulations! Um, may I ask how long it has been…"

"Three months! Well, Litto said I could go to work if I really wanted to. And I hide my belly well, so no one knows except you." The blonde woman grinned.

"I'll keep it a secret until you feel like it's the right time to announce it to everybody, then."

"You wanna touch it?"

"I-I can?"

"Yeah, go ahead."

Kaoru gently caressed Chise's stomach. Her baby bump was not large at all, but it also could be because she was only

"It feels so unreal… knowing that there really is a life growing inside you."

"I know. Isn't that amazing? I can't wait to see my baby. We'll have a small, happy family by then." For a brief moment, Chise seemed like she was already an actual mother, “Litto’s really looking forward to this child, and I’ll do my best to be a good mother.”

“You’ll do amazing.” Kaoru smiled warmly.