Karen Aijo Starlet Of The Stage is getting better day by day. She knows this is true.
And this day is a special day! She’s getting to see Hikari-chan! It feels like so long! Hikari has been studying and acting in England for a full school year. And sure Karen’s spoken to her almost every day and she got to visit campus that one time but now Hikari is coming home! And they’re gonna be together for a month!
Karen is excited. Nervous. But mostly excited! She made sure to set her dino alarm reaaaaally early today. Mahiru called to make sure she was on the way to the train station. Karen loves having Mahiru still take care of her even if they don’t live together. Which is … still weird. But it’s good! Karen is striking out on her own!
The group chat has been buzzing this morning. Nana and Junna are having their reunion in London at the same time as Karen and Hikari! Karen thinks it’s very cute. Hikari apparently has been calling it “wife swap,” which Karen can’t stop laughing about. In the selfie Nana sent from their apartment, Karen caught a tiny little hint of the Jumbo Mr White plush she won all those years ago sitting on the couch.
As she waits at the train station, she starts to slightly pick at the skin around her thumb. This isn’t a big deal. She loves Hikari. And it will all be the same. She tells herself this until she sees the train pull in.
Karen spots a familiar blue suitcase and is immediately sprinting. “HIKARI-CHAAAAN!!!” She crashes into her childhood friend with full force.
“AH! Bakaren! There are other people!” Hikari tries to scold Karen, but it doesn’t hit as hard with how tightly she’s grasping at Karen and squeezing.
“I missed you so much Hikari-chan”
“We talked yesterday.”
“Yeah but it’s not the same!” Karen’s pouting skills have not deteriorated in the year.
“Get up.” Hikari helps steady Karen up and using her momentum lifts them both up.
As she stands and pats herself off, Karen suddenly realizes something is different.
“Your hair!” Hikari’s eyes widened and her face paled. Oh. Karen didn’t like that.
For a second Hikari isn’t able to say anything. She just sits there. The look in her eye doesn’t leave. “I got it cut. What do you think?”
Karen gives her a strong look. Hikari’s hair is MUCH shorter now. A bit shorter than Karen’s own! Karen doesn’t think she’s ever seen Hikari with short hair, even when they were kids.
As Karen’s silence grows, Hikari seems to realize that this was a mistake. “Banana. She brought me to a club on campus. I talked to people. When we got home I asked Banana if she could cut my hair. It will grow out. If you don’t like it.” Hikari looked. Scared? Karen really didn’t like that.
Karen moves her hand slowly closer to Hikari’s face. As her hand approaches her cheek she looks into Hikari’s eyes. Waiting. Hikari gives her a look. A silent confirmation. With that Karen continues. Gets Hikari’s face in her hands and slowly turns her head. She gives a once over. Looking from every angle she can with a thinking expression on her face. She brings Hikari’s face back to stare at her.
“I love it. You look very…” She searches for the word. She’s not always got the right words but this time it’s important. “Handsome. You look very handsome, Hikari-chan.” Hikari’s face brightens, and her small smile reserved only for Karen returns. Perfect. Karen likes that.
Day by day. Karen Aijo goes day by day.