Character list: Isao Hironori (Morry), Yoshihiro Renge (Mani Mani)
Total words: 8797 words.
Summary: Renge joins Hiro to the studio to watch him dance once again, and at the end of their activity, they talks about romance over dinner.
Trigger warning: none.
*Grande is a classical ballet term meaning “big” or “large.” It is always used to describe another step.
Cover by Mani.
He’s walking alongside Renge to the dance studio. This is their second time hanging out at the mentioned place. The girl wants to see him dancing again, so he lets her to go along with him.
"Are you cold?" Asks Hiro to the girl. "Do you want to hold my hand?" He teases with a small smirk. Though, they're almost arrived and once they get inside, the temperature won't be as cold as the outside.
She chuckles at Hiro's teasing and nudges him at that. Her nose is a little red from the cold but she hangs onto her coat. "I'm fine, it's warm enough with this coat."
He chuckles back at Renge. "Well, we're almost there anyway."
As they arrives at the studio, Hiro opens the door, revealing a reception desk. The two women of the receptionist looks up to the guests, then they smiles as they know their guests and greets at the boy. One of them glanced at Renge, and Hiro speaks, "She's with me." The women nod and tell him that the usual studio is free, so he can use it for today. Hiro says his thanks and about to go to the stairs with the girl.
Little do they know when the couple walk away, the receptionists start snickering at each other while looking at the two guests.
That's when a middle-aged woman comes to his view, walking down the stairs. She stares at Hiro and her face brightens. "Ah, Nori-chan, you're here! I was just checking the studio if you were already there." She speaks cheerfully.
"Oh, hello, Kiku-san." Hiro greets the woman back. He shrugs, "Well, I'm here now. Are you done with your work in Tokyo?"
"Yes, the competition went well. The dancers there were crazy; it's like tons of you, Nori-chan, I swear! You should go there sometimes. I'll take you there if you want to."
Hiro snorts and scratches nape. "Well, if I go there, then this city won't have any Nori-chan left." He jokes.
"I didn't say you have to stay there! I just want to show you that you're not the only one here."
Hiro goes silent for a moment at that, feels conflicted. He already knows that. Of course he knows. But he just feels... not really sure to expose himself to the public yet.
Seeing Hiro's reaction, the woman sighs. "Well, it's just an offer, anyway. If you change your mind, you know who to call." The woman gives a wide smile to the boy.
Then her eyes move to look at the ginger-headed girl beside him. "Oh, who's this?" It's quiet for a second, then the woman gasps aloud. "Nori-chan, you finally have a girlfriend!?" The mid-aged woman approached Renge and shoves Hiro aside and hold the girl's hands. "Look at you, so cute! I never knew Nori-chan goes for cute and quiet type of kind!"
Hiro sighs and rubs his nape. He stares at Renge apologetically. "Yoshi, this is the studio dance's owner and attendant, Chinatsu Kiku-san. And Kiku-san, this is my classmate, Yoshihiro Renge."
"Don't say rude things as 'my classmate', Nori-chan!" Kiku scolds him right away. "You need to learn how to romance now, and I'm willing to give you both a lesson of it!"
Hiro rolls his eyes.
Then Chinatsu's attention goes back to Renge. "So, you're Renge-chan, yeah? Nice to meet you!"
Renge is a little surprised when the chipper woman holds her hand, her question makes her face red immediately. "E-eh?" The girl stutters. "J-just as he said, umm... Isao-kun and I are just classmates! We're good friends!"
Renge nods and smiles at her when Hiro introduces the woman. "Nice to meet you, Chinatsu-san."
Chinatsu grins widely, showing her bright, white teeth. "You're indeed cute! No wonder Nori-chan brings you here."
"Kiku-san..." Hiro sighs and frowns.
"Why didn't you tell me about her sooner, Nori-chan? You finally get to invite someone to see your dance." Chinatsu stares at the boy suspiciously.
Hiro averts his eyes. "This is none of your business."
"Of course this is my business! You think I don't care about you? How long are you going to keep yourself like this?" Chinatsu scowls and asks with loud yet concerned tone.
"Kiku-san, please. Not now." Hiro shakes his head frustratingly.
The woman sighs heavily and shakes her head lightly. She's a bit disappointed, but mostly she looks like she's worried. Then she looks at Renge and smiles apologetically. "Sorry about that, Renge-chan. Nori-chan is very stubborn, his head is hard like a ton-weighed rock and got a stick stuck up in his butt."
"If he does anything bad to you, just ditch him so maybe that will make him realize how much such an ass he is."
"But I believe Nori-chan is being nice to you. He’s actually a good boy inside. I hope you can take care of him." Chinatsu smiles widely.
At that, Hiro only sighs quietly and looks sideway.
Renge smiles back at Chinatsu. "Isao-kun has been nice to me, and yes, I will do my best." She assures the woman.
She laughs a little at Hiro's reaction. Chinatsu is a little meddlesome but she looks like a nice person. She looks like she cares a lot about him too, it warms her heart to see their interaction.
Chinatsu smiles softly at Renge and squeezes her hands. "Thank you, it will be very much of a help, especially for Nori-chan himself."
Hiro closes his eyes, frowns and sighs. "Don't you have anything else to do, Kiku-san? Like, not being here?"
"Ah, see? That shows him how much of a jerk he is. It's amazing you can keep up with him, Renge-chan! Sometimes I even have to smack his head off for being rude." Chinatsu whines.
Hiro rolls his eyes and palms his face. And seeing that, Chinatsu laughs heartily at him. Then she speaks to Renge one more time, "Well, Nori-chan is right, I have other things to do. I want to talk with you more, but I'm a busy woman, as you can see. Let's talk some more other time, okay, Renge-chan?" Chinatsu grins warmly at the girl.
Renge just giggles at their interaction. "It was lovely meeting you, Chinatsu-san," she smiles warmly at the woman. "I hope we will have the chance to talk each other again.”
Then the woman let go of Renge's hands and walks past the two students. "Have fun, you two! Waltz your heart out!" Chinatsu winks at both of them and goes away from the scene.
As the woman is no longer in sight, Hiro sighs and runs his fingers through his hair. "Sorry about that. She's a loud one."
The girl waves the older woman goodbye before looking back to her classmate. "I think she's a lovely person." She chuckles.
Hiro sighs at her comment. Well, he can't deny that. Chinatsu indeed has been taking care of him for the last two years. "Let's just go." He says that as he starts to take steps to the stairs.
He opens the door to the studio and turns himself to Renge. "Wait here. I'll go change." But then he goes silent. "Ah, never mind that." He speaks again with a smirk. "I'll just strip myself here." He remembers that he has already exposed his body to her back at her home.
Hiro closes the door as Renge enters the studio. Then he puts his bag down and starts to take off his clothes and ties his hair back.
Renge looks at Hiro with a concerned eyes. "I can't believe you want to strip in a weather like this. It's really cold today." She says as she’s sitting down, then clings to her coat again.
Hiro grins at her when he finishes stripping. "As I already told you before, I'm fine with the cold. It will get warmer eventually when I get to dance." He says with a bright tone.
Looking at his half naked body makes her ponders about his cold resistance. Well, Renge herself can't stand cold weather, so she really can't understand it. She just hums in wonder.
"Chinatsu san sure looked busy, she said something about competition. Is she a participant too?" She asks, starting another topic.
"Nah. Kiku-san was only guiding and accompanying her students to a dance competition. She's also the dance teacher here." Hiro explains as he prepares his song for the dance.
"I see..." She wants to ask why he doesn't join the competition, but... She already knows well the reason, so she doesn't say anything about it. "What kind of competition is it?"
Hiro keeps on scrolling his phone screen and thinking what dance he should do today. "It was group dancing, hip-hop. Kiku-san is a specialist at that, so it's no wonder the competition went well."
Then he's silent for a moment. "Well... Just for you to know, she never taught me to dance. She even offered to search a dance mentor for me." He snorts and shakes his head. "But I refused."
"Ehh, why?" She asks him with confused tone. "You're already pretty good but I think it would be better with more guiding!"
Hiro chuckles and shakes his head again. "I only dance because I wanted to. I don't aim to be professional at it anyway." He shrugs. "It's just, well, a trash hobby of mine." He laughs lightly.
Renge frowns as she heard Hiro's words. "Don't say that."
Hiro just snorts and shrugs. "Well, I'm starting then." He puts down his phone and press the play button.
"I feel like I want to do some ballet techniques today. So, well, the dancing will be more feminine than you usually see." Hiro rubs his nape with rather sheepish expression.
As the music starts, he lets himself focus to it and his body moves following the flow of the music.
***[Link to the dance]
As the song ends, Renge clapped her hand enthusiastically. "It's very marvelous, Isao-kun!"
Looking at him again... It really is such a waste that he doesn't want to get more education to hone his skills more.
"It’s very beautiful! I'm still amazed on how you can... Turn and throw your body around like that." She says while mimicking some of the moves.
Hiro laughs as he sees Renge spinning around. "Well, it takes lot of practice, of course."
Then he approaches the girl, tilts his head and smirks. "Do you want to try it? I'll make it slow for you for first."
"Can I? I would love to try!" She takes off her coat first before coming near to him and giggles. "I'm pretty sure I won't be able to do it nicely like you, though."
He snorts, then gives his hand to Renge. "That's why I'll make it slow for you. I'll help you with the steps. But be careful, do not putting too much energy to it, or else you'll injure yourself."
Her heart skips a little when she took his hand. "Thank you, I'll be in your care then!" She takes some steps toward him and his toned body now in sight.
Looking at it this close makes her blush a little, even though she is not as jumpy as usual. It still makes her a little embarrassed.
Hiro grips Renge's hand as she takes his. His heart skipped a beat from the warmth of her hand. "As I said before, I'm not a professional; nowhere of it, even. I'm just teaching you what I know." He smiles.
"Follow my lead." He says as he carefully pulls Renge to move with him, slowly takes step to step with grace and flexible feet.
She nods and follows his movements, the girl has a focused look in her eyes. And Hiro guides Renge carefully, watching her steps.
"Now, walk on your toes. Watch out your balance, but try to do it with your both feet." Hiro instructs.
"Hmm okay..." She does as she's told, she tip toed and walked slowly.
She looks very unstable, it felt like she could fall down anytime soon.
"Hmm," Hiro hums in thought as he sees Renge tries to tiptoeing. If she already unstable like this, then she won't be able to even stand with one tiptoe.
So he keeps on walking backwards, helping Renge to walk on her both tiptoes. He offers his other hand so she can hold onto him for balance. And he also starts walking on his tiptoes too, showing how it's done. "Here, hold me. Unless you can balance yourself like this, I cannot make you do the next step." Hiro explains.
Renge holds onto him, very focused on her current task. After looking at how he walks, she slowly gains balance and manages to do it a bit properly.
"I think I'm slowly getting it."
Hiro nods at her. "Now, still on your tiptoe, but raise your right leg backward and stand only with your left." He instructs as he holds Renge's hands more firmly to help her with the stand.
Renge did as instructed, she raises her right leg slowly and as high as she could. It's so difficult for her, she trembled a bit trying to maintain it.
But her leg can just hold so much, she loses her footing and falls onto the man in front of her, pushing him in the process.
"Wow--" When Renge loses her footing, he reflectively holds her waist to steady her. But instead, she pushes him and makes him loses his balance too while tiptoeing, and they fall down together to the floor.
Hiro is shocked for a while when the girl is on top of him... again. His heart stutters of what's happening right now.
But then he chuckles. "Why do you seem to be fond of falling down on top of me?" He inquires the girl with a teasing tone.
Renge is on top of him again, but this time Hiro is topless. The girl blushes and panics at the sight.
"AHHH I'm so, so sorry!" She spouts, looking away from him red faced. Renge then tries to get away from him, holding onto something so she could get up.
But the girl unconsciously gropes Hiro's chest when she uses it as a leverage to get up.
Hiro winces when his chest gets touched by Renge's hands. It brings his heart races even more and also makes him feel... turns on.
Immediately, he grips Renge's both wrists to stop her from touching him even further.
"Yoshi..." He calls her lowly. "Be careful where you're touching." He smirks at her and raises an eyebrow.
Renge stops her action when the boy catches her wrists and hears him saying ‘touching’. Then her eyes widen in a shocking realization.
Her face gets even redder and she panics even more. If there's a hole somewhere in the studio right now maybe she wants to go there and hide inside forever.
"Oh my God! Isao-kun, I'm so, so, so, so sorry!!" Renge apologizes frantically as she struggles to get away from him.
Hiro laughs at her more panicked reaction. "Hush, hey, calm down," Hiro chuckles as she tries to get away from him by tightening his grip on her wrists. "It's alright, I'm not mad or anything."
And so he tries to sit up by pulling his body himself and pushes Renge gently off of him, making her sit down on the floor in front of him. "There you go." Hiro laughs again and he grins. It seems that he's entertained by this. "It's a relief that you fell on me instead on the flat floor. Or else you'll get hurt more." He inclines his head at her.
When they sat down, she somehow calms down a little bit. She hangs her head in shame and finally looked at him again. "T-thank you... And I'm sorry about my clumsiness... Are you hurt?"
Giggling at her words, then Hiro shakes his head lightly. "No, I'm okay." Then his eyes flicker at her feet. "What about your feet? Did you sprain your ankle?" Hiro asks with concern.
"Oh! I'm fine! Looks like it isn't sprained or anything." She went to touch her ankles, massaging it a little.
He observes Renge for a moment to make sure she isn't lying. Then he turns his eyes back to her. "I'm glad, then." Hiro says with a small smile.
She looks at him again and some thoughts goes into her. "Do you learn everything by yourself, Isao-kun?"
"Yes, I do." He pulls his legs to sit into more comfortable position, putting his right arm on his right knee. "I learned every basic of ballet from the very start by myself. I was... like you once, to be honest. I was a bit skinny, I didn't have much flexibility like I am now." He shrugs. "I made myself entered hell at that time. My legs were bruised here and there and sprained myself to the point where I cannot walk."
Then he makes a small grin. "But here I am now. Though it was for my... own entertainment, not aiming to be pro or anything." It's a bit lie, he knows it. But he doesn't need to tell that to her now.
Renge nods as she listens to him, she winces a little from hearing about his past injuries. Though the image of lanky Hiro piques her curiosity a little.
The girl raises her eyebrows, entertainment huh? Sounds very... Underwhelming, at least she doesn't like getting hurt from entertainment, but she decided not to comment on that.
She taps her fingers on her thighs. "Why wouldn't you go professional? I think you have what it takes?" She asks, a bit curious.
At Renge's question, Hiro's eyebrows raises a bit. Then he averts his eyes sideway, thinking how to answer that.
Honestly? He doesn't even have a single bit of thought about going to be professional, even entering a dance art school. He always thinks his dance only as a way to let out his vent; a catharsis. He doesn't deny that he himself wants people to know who he actually is through dancing.
But Hiro is jailed and locked away tight by his own anxiety and his still ongoing depression. And he blames a certain person for that. And also the mocking laugh he gets from his surrounding toward him.
So he shakes his head and smiles instead to the girl in front of him. He doesn’t have to tell about this to her now. At least, this is for her sake to not mind about his dark past, when he once helpless and reached the point where he wanted to kill himself.
"I only dance because I wanted to. It's not something to be proud of." He shrugs. "Besides, who wants to see a male dancing ballet, anyway?"
"Really? You do it so well! It's a skill you should be proud of! Whether you do it seriously or not." She replies rather instantly. He's certainly skilled at it, it might be a little unpolished but he has been learning by himself and it would be even more amazing if he gets a better education.
"I'm not speaking for everyone but... I love seeing your dance Isao-kun! Plus male ballerinas are more likely than you think." Then she mutters while gripping on her thighs a bit. "It's just... It felt like such a waste."
She feels a little frustrated about it. She wonders what holds him back.
Hiro's eyes widen at Renge's response. It's almost a word of confession, but of course it's not toward himself. If she really does love his dancing, then... Maybe he just need to dance only in front of her.
But will that be sufficient? Hiro wants to think it will, but somehow he also thinks it's not enough.
Hiro only smiles at her. "You don't have to worry about me." Then he frowns with concern. "What about you? Don't you want to be a professional artist yourself?" Hiro tries to stir the topic.
Renge realizes that he's changing the topic. Maybe the boy is just not comfortable about it, so she decides not to pry any further.
"Well, I'm in training to be one." She chuckles. "Hopefully I could become one."
Hiro smiles at her. "Good for you, then. And I'm sure you will." And he also willing to punish whoever hinders her from to be so.
"Do you want to continue? To do the Pirouette, I mean." Hiro chuckles and then smirks. "I don't mind if you get fall on me again." He teases. Well... if she touches his chest again, then... Well. He just hope he can control and refrain himself.
"Sure!" She immediately perks up.
Then she laughs at the latter words, Renge hits Hiro's shoulder lightly, blushing a little. "Hey, don't assume I'm going to fall again next time." She gets up and straightens herself, pumping her fists.
Hiro laughs when Renge hits his shoulder and sees the blush on her face. Looking at her being cheerful like this makes his heart warms.
"Alright then," Hiro joins her to stand up and putting his both hands on his hips. "From the start, then. But now, just stand at your place, you don't need to walk. Stand on your tiptoe and hold it for at least thirty seconds." Hiro starts giving instruction.
Then he stands straight on his tiptoes without trembling and looks pretty easy to do for him. "Starts now." He says with a smirk and tilts his head.
She nods at him, then she starts to stand on her toes. At first she trembles but then slowly, after several moment of getting flat and on tiptoes, she finally gains her balance.
Renge takes a deep breath as she stills herself. And with that the girl managed to stand for thirty seconds.
Hiro nods in approval. "Very nice." He grins widely at Renge.
"Now, lift your right foot and stand still on your left toe. Not too high, just lift it a bit, and hold it for ten seconds." Hiro instructs the next step as he lifts his right foot aside, not too far from the floor.
"If you can do this, do it repeatedly until you can stand only with your left for thirty second. After that, we can take a break." Well, in the past, he never took any break until he could do the spin for three rounds. But there’s no way he will do the same treatment to the girl, especially when she looks a bit fragile. And not a very least he intends to make the girl gets bruises all over her legs.
"Hmm," She slowly lifts her right foot, but it's too high that she stumbles, making her losing her footing.
"Oops!" She almost falls again but she balances herself and goes back on her toes.
She does it again but this time she doesn't lift her leg too high, making her a little more stable.
"It sure is hard... well, it doesn't look easy but doing it is harder than it looks."
Hiro chuckles at her comment. "Well, it's common when it's your first time, after all. It took me almost three months to be able to do three to five perfect spins of Pirouette."
"I see, practice is important after all." She says still trying to do it properly.
Three months? Now she's pretty sure this is not just a 'dumb hobby' of his. You need some dedication to be able to master this.
Then he does it, lifting his right leg and touches his left knee with his right foot and spins around with his hands circles in front of his body. Then followed by an Arabesque, still standing on his toe with his other leg goes straight backward, left hand raised and right hand straight backward. With flexibility and grace, he pulls himself backward, doing a walkover and he stand up to a straight, starting position.
After a moment, he laughs sheepishly, realizing he has done it. "Sorry, didn't mean to show off or anything." Hiro shrugs and rubs his nape. "But well, learning ballet gives you much advantages. Especially if you do acro dancing, then eventually you have to learn acrobatic moves, too." He explains. "It adds to your flexibility, agility and your body reflect. I think." The boy adds the last word with a bit unsure tone and shrugs a bit.
Then she stops for a bit to see what he is doing, her eyes lit up with amazement.
"It's fine! It's very nice to look at." Renge smiles at him.
The boy chuckles and approaches Renge back. "Though, I have to say that I'm still practicing myself."
When he close enough to the girl, he brings a hand to stroke a lock of her hair softly. "I've been thinking this recently," he murmurs and his eyes are looked like he's a bit distracted. After seconds later, he makes a small smirk. "That maybe someday I could duet with you?"
That's not actually he wanted to say, actually. But he still isn't sure about himself if he can ask such question to her.
Renge blushes when he strokes her hair in such manner. "D-Duet? Oh my, I don't think I could match up to you." She averts her gaze, feeling embarrassed.
Hiro snorts and chuckles softly, looking at the girl's reaction. She's really cute when she's blushing like this. It lightens his mood.
"Well, I can't really ask you that much, but..." He plays her ends of her hair with his fingers. "I think it will be nice if I have a dancing partner, so that I can do a duet dance technique." He grins at her widely. He knows it's much to ask for, but he just can't help it.
It's almost near to a word of confession, but he doesn't expect much from her though. Since probably she hasn't realized about her own feelings toward him yet.
"It would take years before I can do it and not falling every second." She giggles. The girl is never good at sport, so she's not really surprised about it.
"Of course," Hiro laughs softly. "That is common, after all. But it's never too late to learn."
Then he lets go of her hair. "You go take a break and sit down. I'm going to dance one more time."
She nods at him and sat down again, patting her face to cool herself down a little.
As she made herself comfortable, Renge looks toward her classmate waiting for his next routine.
Hiro smirks at her one last time and goes to his phone, choosing a song for his next dance.
The boy is actually a bit desperate. Moments like this makes him a bit inpatient that he wants to have her right away to quench his loneliness. He frowns at the thought.
He wished he never have to deal with his goddamn father. But this task is a must. And he never know when he will succeed to finally gain his revenge. By that time, he will finally be free. His grip on his phone tightens a bit.
Realizing where his mind wanders, he shakes his head lightly to chase away the thoughts. When he finds a specific song, he taps on the phone, put it down and goes to the center of the studio.
Hiro glances at Renge. He hopes she will wait for him until the time comes. Putting aside the situation that they might in different sides, that they might be enemies, Hiro doesn't care. His heart is already been set.
Or so he thought.
When the song plays, he let himself drowns into an emotional state and his body dances along the music.
***[Link to the dance]
When the music ends and also his dancing, Renge claps again. His dancing is indeed very beautiful.
"Again, it's very beautiful Isao-kun! I really liked the ending." She says with a wide smile.
Hiro smiles at Renge as he catches his breath. "Thank you, Yoshi." He says as he retrieves his phone and looks at the time. It's almost evening.
He turns himself back to Renge to observe her and smirks. “It seems that today you're not sleeping."
Hearing that comment, she looks a little apologetic at his remark. "I'm still very sorry about that."
Hiro laughs lightly. "Well, you were pretty tired after we did the flexing back then, so it's no wonder you fell asleep."
She’s about to takes out her phone, then the device rings and a familiar name pops up on the screen. Renge answers it, "Hello? What's wrong Tsubaki?"
From the other end of line, a chipper voice can be heard. "Hey sis!"
At Renge's phone rings, Hiro raises an eyebrow. It seems that her brother is calling. He guesses it's time to get home now.
"I'll go clean up first, Yoshi. You can go pack up your things." Hiro speaks as he picks up his bag and goes outside to the washroom.
"Oh, okay." She replies to Hiro briefly before going back to the phone.
Tsubaki's voice arise again. "Mom and Dad have something to attend, to so we gotta get our own dinner."
"I see, well I'm not too far from home so I'll pick you up and we'll go together." She replies. "I'm also with Isao-kun right now, I figured we can dine together."
Tsubaki's line goes silent for a second. "Ooohh you're with Hiro-san." He snickers.
"Uh huh, what do you want to eat?"
"You know what, just buy me some takeout! I suddenly feel too lazy to go out."
"What? Come on, Tsubaki!"
"Welp just text me later!"
Then the boy hung up, leaving his sister puzzled at his antics.
As he hangs up on his sister, Tsubaki grins and immediately texts Hiro. The boy stole his ID from Renge's phone.
[I see that you're still courting my sis 😆😆😆
You owe me one now! Have fun on your dinner date! Also buy me some food 🍛🍛🍛]
After several minutes, feeling fresh and clean, Hiro enters back the studio to get to Renge. "I'm done." Hiro mutters as he gets inside. Then he remembers his phone vibrates earlier, so he takes out his phone and checks his chat app.
Hiro frowns at his phone. Whose ID is this? But as he reads the text, he immediately knows who it is.
But his mind stops at the word 'dinner'. It seems Renge wants to ask him out for it before going home. So he looks up at her with an eyebrow raised.
"Do you want to have dinner together?"
Renge put down her phone and looks up to Hiro. "Oh, welcome back! And uh, yeah, I was just about to ask you."
She takes her bag and wears her coat again. "I invited Tsubaki too but he got lazy, so I'll just get him something later."
"Hmm," Hiro grunts. Well, after receiving that earlier text from her brother, it seems that the brat intentionally rejects the invitation so they would have their time... together. Alone.
Hiro rolls his eyes mentally. That brat should have just minding his own business.
Hiro sighs softly and smirks at her. "Alright. Where do you want to eat?"
"Hmm, there's a family restaurant not too far from here, we usually eat there." Renge suggests.
Hiro nods at her. "I'm fine with anything. Let's go, then." Hiro replies as he opens the studio's door and waits for the girl to walk outside.
She smiles at him when he opens the door for her. "Okay." Then the girl leads the way to the restaurant.
After walking for a while, they arrive at a brightly lit building. It's decorated with orange neon sign and a handful selection of food display can be seen behind the glass window.
Renge opens the door for the both of them, they are greeted by the waiters and brings them to their seats.
As they are seated, the waiter gives them both the menu book and a glass of water. "Please press this button when you're ready to order." The waiter smiles before going back to serve other guests.
Renge takes the menu, flipping through it. "What would you like, Isao-kun?"
"Hmm," Hiro hums as he scans through the menu. After those dancing he has done, he's surely hungry, so maybe he should choose one with quite big portion.
"I'll have the mixed grill. And warm ocha for the drink." Hiro says casually as he puts down the menu on the table.
"Hmm,” Renge hums as she scans the menu. “I think I'll go with this set... I want to eat something warm."
The girl calls the waiter and then make their order.
"Oh, I forgot to ask Tsubaki what he wants to eat." Renge takes out her phone to text her brother briefly.
The boy nods at Renge as she takes out her phone to text her brother. Speaking about her brother...
He takes out his phone too and reopen Tsubaki's chat message. Then Hiro types a reply to Renge's brother.
[You already have your sister buy for you. And I'm not your big brother whatsoever.]
As he finishes typing, he sends his reply and pockets back his phone.
"So... You usually eat here with your brother?" Hiro starts the conversation.
"Only when mother is busy, usually she cooks our dinner." Renge explains. "I could help her with dinner too but I can only cook several dishes, so it gets a little boring." She laughs a little.
"I see," Hiro chuckles at that. "Well, at least you can cook, right? Because I can't at all," he shrugs and giggles at himself.
Even if he's living at his own house, he feels like living in a dorm, where he always order takeout for dinner. Though sometimes his aunt make him foods for him, well, it's not every day. So it's a little tough for him when it comes to daily eating.
Well, he wishes he could cook for himself, though. At least make onigiri or something. But the best he can do is to boil a water to make an instant hot tea or coffee.
"My! You should try to learn to at least make a dish, Isao-kun. At this age, it's better to be able to cook." Renge says as she fiddles her fingers. "It will come to handy when your parents are busy or when you live alone later."
Hiro flinches at the mention of 'parents', 'live alone'. Of course, Renge doesn't know that yet. Ever since his mother's gone, he's been living alone... with the help of his aunt paying for his daily needs.
Well, as long as his aunt helps him to keep alive, he doesn't need to worry about anything else than himself and keep on dancing. Minding his own business.
Besides, there's no one can teach him to cook, anyway. So it's kind of meaningless.
But Hiro smiles and nods instead. "You're right, Yoshi. I'll consider about learning how to cook later." He doesn't have any intention to.
His phone vibrates again, and he opens the chat app. He immediately scowls at his phone and decides to ignore the text for now.
[Ehhh so stingy (╯3╰)
You're not paying for sis? Bzzzt minus points for gentlemanliness 🎩
We could be brothers in the future you know!! Hiro-oniichan! ≧∇≦]
"Well, I'm not an expert but we can learn together if you want to." Renge offers with a smile.
Hiro chuckles. "Well, I'm surely don't want anyone, especially you, to get to know how horrible I am in cooking. Someone might get burnt." He jokes a bit exaggerating.
The smell of food can be smelled as the waiter came with their food and set it on the table. "Please enjoy." He bows and then leaves the table.
Renge joins her hands. "Well, let's eat! Thank you for the meal."
As their foods arrive, Hiro nods and joins his both hands in a praying manner. "Thank you for the meal." As he says that, he takes the fork and knife and begins to eat and enjoys the food quietly.
Speaking of parents earlier, it seems hers are pretty busy. Probably it's their family's art gallery related.
He wants to mention about her anxiety towards art, that it might correlated to how her parents see her works. But he also doesn't want her questioning about his parents too. So maybe he will just keep quiet about it now.
"Now I'm curious on how bad it could be.” She comments at his earlier words about terrible he is in cooking.
"Do you really want to know?" He smirks when he swallows the steak he eats. "I even can't make a simple onigiri, Yoshi. That's how bad I am." He shrugs.
"With proper training, anything could be done, Isao-kun." She says as she takes another bite of her food.
"Well, I have to agree to that." Hiro nods and eats another fork of his grill.
Renge eats quietly, but then takes out her phone. "Hmmm, Tsubaki hasn't texted me back, I'll just get him his usual." The girl then calls the waiter again and orders him the hamburger set.
His phone is vibrating again, then he sees a new chat from Tsubaki.
[booo Hiro niichan~ you're ignoring me? How cold (*´∇｀*)
Btw get me the hamburg set!!!]
He scowls once again and frowns at Renge. "Did you happen to leave your phone from your sight when you’re at home, Yoshi?" He asks curiously.
Renge notices that Hiro has been scowling at his phone for a while and now this question. She wonders if something's up. "Hmm? Well, I usually just put it in my room. What's wrong? You've been scowling on your phone."
He swallows first, then asks again. "You don't put your phone in a password lock or something?"
"Umm I do." She answers, a little confused with the sudden question.
"Hmm." Hiro stares at Renge for a few moment. He takes a fork of the steak, chews and swallows. Then he goes straight to the point. "Did you happen to give my number to your brother, then?"
"... No? ... Wait... what did he do this time?" Renge says with a skeptical look.
Hiro snickers and then laughs as he shakes his head. He's supposed to be annoyed though, but when he looks at Renge's reaction, somehow it becomes amusing to him.
Her brother is the annoying one, though.
"Well," he starts when he stops laughing. "I don't know whether your brother knows your phone's password lock or what, but it seems that he succeeded in sneaking your phone and stole my phone's ID number from yours." He shrugs again and continues eating his food casually.
"Why would he even do that? Oh my God, I'm so sorry about this, Isao-kun... I'll give him an earful later." Renge lets out an exasperated sigh and continues to eat her food too. "Has he been burdensome? What does he even text you about?"
Hiro giggles at her sigh. "Seems that you yourself is bothered by your own brother."
Hiro chews his steak as he thinks how to respond. But as he swallows, he smirks at her. "Well, he said something about me being his future big brother." He teases with tilting his head. He doesn't hope she gets it, but it will be more exciting if she does.
At the word 'future big brother', Renge goes silent for a while before covering her face, her ears are getting red. "I'm going to give him a handful later."
Looking at Renge's reaction, he laughs heartily that his mouth gives a full grin, showing his teeth. Ever since he's hanging out with Renge, it seems that he laughs a lot. It's different when it's with Shenji or others, definitely. This one gives a heartwarming feeling.
"Poor him," he chuckles. "I can only imagine what kind of handful he will get from his big sister." He imagines Tsubaki being pinched here and there and gets a long speech that makes his ears hurt. Hiro starts to giggles again.
"I scold him all the time but he just doesn't seem to stop." She says while patting her cheeks, they're still red. "I'm sorry you have to put up with this." She sighs. "He only saw us together twice, I really bet he has been reading way too many romance manga."
"Ah I see, so that's why." Hiro giggles as he finishes his last bite of his grill and drinks his warm tea.
"Your brother is 12, huh." Hiro starts again when he put down the glass. "Well, I didn't get to know any romance at that age. Does he has a girlfriend already?" Hiro asks with a snickers.
"No, he's quite popular in his class but I don't think he has a girlfriend yet." Renge looks thoughtful. "Well I'm sure if he has one, he'll brag it to me."
He snorts while he smirks. "I see. Well, I doubt that he will get any, though, with that childish attitude. At least for now."
He doesn't seem to be reflecting himself at that.
"How about you, Yoshi?" He asks as he leans himself to the back of the chair. "I mean, are you into romance fiction, too?" He inclines his head, smirking. He blames Tsubaki for stirring their topic.
Renge has finally finished her food when Hiro asks her. "To be honest, yes, I do enjoy them quite a lot." She giggle. "I'm pretty fond of the genre, either in books or movie." She continues and takes some sips of her water.
"Hmm." Hiro hums. Then he also takes his glass and drinks his tea casually. "So, have you ever been dating before?" He suddenly raises his eyebrows like something hits into his realization. "Or are you currently dating someone?"
Why hasn't he thought about it before? There's always a chance that she might already being taken by someone. It's not a wondering matter, considering that she's pretty and all.
Why it does never comes into his mind at all?
The girl's eye widens. She is totally surprised with the sudden turn of this conversation. "O-oh! I... umm... no I have never dated before." She says quietly. Somehow it's a little embarrassing to say it out loud.
"Ah." Hearing the answer, he relaxes instantly. He giggles then, and finishes his drink. When he put down his glass, he smirks again at her and raises an eyebrow. "Are you not going to ask me?"
"Oh! Um... What about you then?" She ask spontaneously. "You look experienced, somehow." Renge laughs a little. She wouldn't be surprised if he does, he has nice face and body, plus the boy has some kind of 'bad boy's aura surrounding him. Usually some girls like those kind of quality.
Hiro's smirk widens when Renge actually asks him. He closes his eyes for a moment, then he crosses his leg as he leans back. "Well... contrary to popular beliefs, I've never been in a date before. Though, some girls at school did asked me out, but I rejected them all." Hiro laughs then. "They only after my physique and looks." He shrugs.
"But I myself interested in romance, too. Love is a common emotion when it comes to expressing through art, after all." Then he goes silent for a second. "It's also common in classic arts century. Most of the arts are about romance."
"I see." She nods while listening to Hiro's explanation. It’s like as she expected, so she doesn't feel like she need to probe into it further.
"True, love is a recurring theme in art. Maybe it's often used because it's a feeling that everyone feels. Love is vast after all." She says as she drinks her water again.
"Is... there someone you like right now?" Her eyes glints curiously at him.
His face goes blank at Renge's next question. He seems to be thinking how to respond to that, since... well. She's in front of him.
Then he smiles softly, his eyes closed to hide his emotion that shows through it. "Yes. I do have someone in mind."
Renge's face lit up when she hears Hiro's confession. "Oh my! Who is it? Is it someone in our grade? Or...our class?" She says leaning further to the table. The girl looks very excited to hear the answer.
Hiro's eyes widens at her sudden interest at the topic. His heart races seeing her excited expression.
Should he confess to her now? That is actually her who in his mind? This is actually a good chance to say it.
But then he shakes his head inwardly. No, not yet. He has to focus. He will finish his important task first, then he finally will make her know.
But then it means he has to make her wait. He hates it, but he has no choice. He couldn't take any risk.
So Hiro just snorts softly and smiles. "You will see soon enough. Stick around me, and you'll find out eventually." He grins widely.
"Hmmm very mysterious, Isao-kun, but I won't probe too much." She chuckles. "I hope things will go well with this person."
Renge says it wholeheartedly, but imagining him being in a relationship with someone, holding hands and going on date... stung something inside her. She wonders what this feeling is.
The girl quickly brushes off those thoughts. Why is she even thinking about it anyway?
Hiro chuckles softly and smiles. "I hope so too. I'm currently wondering if she could wait for me."
Renge chuckles at his words "Well, be careful though, Isao-kun! If you wait for too long, she might be taken by someone else." She teases him.
Hiro smiles and inclines his head. "I'm well aware of that. That's why I keep my eyes close to her."
"Are you finish eating? Want to go home now?" Hiro asks.
"Yeah, I'm done. I wonder if Tsubaki's order is finished." Renge calls the waiter again and then also asked for the check, later the same waiter came back to their table with the take out and receipt. Renge takes out her wallet and pays her part.
When the waiter comes and Renge takes out her money, he pushes Renge's cash back to her. Then he immediately takes out his money instead, full payment of the receipt. Hiro nods at the waiter, and when the man says his thanks and takes the money with him, the boy stands up with his bag.
"Shall we go, now?" Hiro says casually with a smirk.
The girl is surprised when Hiro paid for the both of them, she immediately gives her money to him. "Oh my, Isao-kun, you don't have to! Let me pay my share."
Hiro chuckles and pushes her hand back gently which holding her money. "Think of it as a repay of what you had treated me back then."
It would be rude to further refuse his request, so Renge smiles thankfully at him. "Thank you, Isao-kun."
Hiro nods and turns himself and about to start to leave the place. "Let's go before it gets too late."
Renge takes her bag and follows him out. They're greeted with the cold again. Renge shivers a little from the wind. It's even colder at night.
Then the girl felt something on her head, it turns out it has started to snow outside. "Oh, it's snowing. No wonder it's getting awfully cold." Renge hides herself inside her coat.
As he steps out from the restaurant, a momentary chill stings his skin. At Renge's comment, he looks up and, indeed, it's snowing. "It's probably the last of snow."
Then he turns his head to Renge, who buries herself in her coat. Hiro snorts looking at her, thin mist comes out from his breath.
He opens his bag and takes out his scarf. He takes step so that he's in front of Renge, and wears the scarf on her.
His both hands linger on the scarf, he's staring at her with a small smile. "Better?"
Renge feels warm when the scarf encircled her neck, and she got extra warm from her reddening face. "O-oh, it's warmer, but.. What about you? Aren't you cold?" She says staring back at him.
Hiro smiles warmly at her. "I'm fine with the cold. Don't worry." He snorts again, "Though in turn, I can't really stand heat." Then he brings a hand to cup her face. "Now your face is hot." He grins rather amusedly.
"I see, I don't fare too well in the cold." She says while standing still. The girl can feel the other's warmth when he touched her face. It feels quite nice.
He steps back from her to give her space. "Let's get you home."
Renge nodded at him and they start to walk towards her residence. Even though the scarf gave her enough warmth, the cold wind still gets to her, especially on her hand. How she wish she brings her gloves now.
Another graze of wind passed them, the girl let out a tiny sneeze and rubs her hands together, blowing some air on it to make it less cold.
Hiro breathes another puff of cold mist. It is rather cold, as the season is nearing come to an end.
Then he hears Renge sneezes. He looks down and finds her trying to warm her hand. He brings a hand to gently takes her hand, intertwine their fingers and he holds her firmly to give her his warmth.
This time, he only smiles at her and resumes their walk.
Renge is surprised when Hiro takes her hand and joined their fingers together. She's not very sure on what his intentions are for doing this, but it made her heart race.
Aren't you supposed to do this with someone you like? The girl stares at Hiro with a confused look.
But again, his hand felt warm and nice holding hers like this. She unknowingly grasps his hands back.
Hiro smiles as he keep on walking, feeling Renge holds his hand back. He doesn't need jacket or scarf to warm him up. Being like this is already brings him content, making his insides warms.
They finally reach Renge's house after several minutes’ walk. He turns his head to Renge, "Thank you for today, Yoshi. I'll see you again tomorrow." He says with a small smirk. But he doesn’t let go of her hand yet.
"Thank you for today too." Renge smiles back at him. Then she separates herself from Hiro, takes of the scarf and put it back on him, wearing it on his neck. "Thank you for lending me your scarf. Be careful on your way back, Isao-kun."
Hiro's eyes widen when Renge covers him with his scarf. He's stunned for a moment, then he sighs softly, letting out a puff of breath.
He nods at the girl. "I'll be going then." Hiro says as he walks toward the road that leads to the city's station.
Renge waves him goodbye and enters her house. "I'm home." She takes off her coat and shoes, then goes to put the take out on the dining table.
The girl went upstairs to call for Tsubaki, and Renge knocks on his door and opens it. "Hey, I'm back. Your food is downstairs."
Tsubaki is lounging on his bed when his sister calls for him. Still lying on his bed, he snickers at her. "How's your date today?"
Renge lets out a long sigh and walks towards Tsubaki, then she pinches him real hard. "I see you've been snooping around! Oh my God, don't lump people into your romantic matchmaking agenda!" She scolds him.
"Ow, ow, ow, ow! That hurts, sis!" Tsubaki cries out. "I'm just doing this so your love life will go along smoothly!"
Renge sighs again and adds more power into her pinch. "Isao-kun has someone he likes already, don't be rude!"
The girl gave him several more pinches before getting up, she still looks a little mad. "Now, go down and eat your food before it gets cold." She said walking away. "And don't forget to apologize and thank Isao-kun, he's the one who paid for your food." Renge closes the door and goes back to her room.
Tsubaki rubs the area where his sister just pinched him. "Man that hurts." He whines, but then he laughs at his sister. "Someone he likes huh? Maaaan sis is so dense." He grins and takes his phone to texts Hiro again.
[heeeeey Hiro-oniichan!! ≧∇≦ thanks for the treat!!]