Character list: Isao Hironori (Morry), Yoshihiro Renge (Mani Mani)
Total words: 8921 words
Summary: After their midnight call, Hiro and Renge went to hang out together to AION mall. In that one, long day, their relationship just got further. But actually, not really further enough.
Trigger warning: none.
*Divertissement is a classical ballet term meaning “enjoyable diversion.” A divertissement is a grouping of dances called “entrées” that are part of classical ballets
Cover by Mani.
In the middle of crowds of AION Mall, Hiro stands alone, waiting for his female classmate to come. He wears his summer attire; a top with an "IV" printed in the whole front of it, a sleeveless vest with the collar opened high covering his long neck and black shorts.
This another odd thing. Renge has never been late before whenever they hang out. This is the first time she's late for about half an hour from the designated time. He wonders what could happen to her that make her this late.
Probably she's sick? Or something gets in her way? Something urgent happens? A thief steals her purse? Some perverts kidnapped her?
Every possibilities pass in his mind make him anxious.
So Hiro fishes up his phone out of his short's pocket and dials her number. He hopes it won't be anything bad.
Renge can't believe it either, but apparently, she overslept. In the past two days, she's been having trouble sleeping because of the nightmare, and honestly she hasn't got much sleep since then. But this time she slept soundly.
Maybe because of the phone call with Hiro? But it still doesn't justify her tardiness.
Renge is running as fast as she can. When her phone rings, she picks it up and answers with panicking tone.
"H-hello!! I'm so, so, so sorry Isao-kun! I'm almost there!" she answers with ragged breath.
Hiro's eyes widen at the tone. But, as he lets out a relieved sigh, at least she's okay. Nothing happens like something that catches his mind just several seconds ago.
"It's okay, Yoshi," Hiro assures. "Just take your time." He hangs up the phone and continues to wait Renge while scrolling his Twitter timeline.
Finally she spots her friend on their meeting spot, she makes a last sprint before finally greets him.
The girl is sweating and breathing heavily from her run; her hair and attire are also messy.
"Good... good day, Isao-kun," she breathes heavily. "I’m sorry for being... late."
Hiro turns his head to look at the arriving Renge. He smirks as he sees her appearance; she's quite messy indeed. What's gotten into her?
"Good morning--" he stops his greeting when he sees something in his view. Something is weird with her clothing. It takes him several moment to realize what he's seeing.
His eyes widen once again and blush creeps in his nape. Before he thinks of something else, the boy quickly take a step closer to Renge and holds her shoulders to hinder anyone from seeing her form.
"Yoshi," he whispers softly, looking to her face. "Your button. Fix it."
"Huh?" the girl looks down on her shirt, and her face immediately becomes red from embarrassment, realizing her messy clothes.
She quickly buttons up her shirt and fixes her unruly hair, setting it into a ponytail.
Renge breathes out again, her face is still red. "I'm sorry about that..."
Sighing in relief, he takes a step back and lets her shoulders go. He just hopes anyone else doesn't notice her... result of clumsiness.
He inclines his head and frowns. "What happened to you? Did something up at home?" He asks curiously.
"Umm....no..." she pauses for a second before speaking up again. "I... overslept..."
Her face becomes redder. Oh, how embarrassing! "I didn't even hear my alarm, Tsubaki woke me up because he's annoyed at the sound of my undying alarm..."
Hiro raises his both eyebrows. Overslept? Is it about last night? Does she still having the nightmares and make her tired that she overslept?
"Overslept? Are you okay?" He asks with concerned tone. "Are you tired? Still having those nightmares?"
"No, uh, on the contrary. I don't seem to have those nightmares again today...resulting me to sleep in..." she explains, still ashamed about it.
"Oh?" Hiro inclines his head in interest and also curiosity. He want to ask more about it, but looking at the crowd, probably they start to search a place for them to have a seat.
"Let's walk for now. We can continue talking on the way," Hiro suggests as he starts to walk through the mall crowd.
"Oh, okay." She straightens herself again and starts to walk with him.
The girl looks around to see and speaks again. "It sure is packed today. Well, since it's already summer break."
"It sure is," Hiro answers with a bit whiny tone. "Don't people supposed to go holiday--like to the beach, maybe?--rather than wandering around the mall?"
He supposes he should tell that to himself too. It's been so long he hasn't gone to the beach. Probably only once in his life, too. Or maybe never, he doesn't remember.
"Hello there, handsome boy!” A cooing sound of a woman heard by Hiro's ears. “We have a discount for you and your girlfriend here, as we're holding a "Sunshine Summer Couple" event!"
He comes to a stop to look at the earlier woman, wearing a waitress uniform. Honestly, He's caught up by the word "discount" and "couple."
The waitress perks up as she seemingly catches her target's attention. "We serve several special menus just for couples! We make them a set for you to order it with a discounted price. One set for two servings, and variety of sets too!"
She's not finished yet. "Not only that, we also offer a challenge for you couples to participate. If you can win the challenge, your couple set will be counted as free!"
Hiro raises his eyebrows in interest. He won't say no to a free food. And after his morning run, he hasn't eaten yet since then, and his stomach grumbles from the free offer.
Renge turns her head towards the voice. It does sound like a good deal, but... they're not even dating. She can only laugh softly at the remark. Why do everyone always think that they're a couple?
"Well that sounds nice but we--"
The boy takes Renge's arm gently and approaches the waitress. "Sounds good. A table for a couple, please," he says casually.
She’s about to decline and walk away, but then Hiro takes her hand and orders the couple set.
"Huh--?" she blurts out and looks at Hiro with confusion on her face, stupefied.
Hiro turns his head to look at the confused girl beside him and gives her a wide grin. "We won't missed this kind of opportunity. And free food!" The boy chirps rather cheerfully. Then he puts his arm on her shoulders and pulls her closer to him. Then he moves his face closer to her, "Isn't that right, girlfriend?" Hiro smirks a bit cunningly.
She gets even more flustered when Hiro pulls her closer and called her 'girlfriend', and he does it with so much smug too. Renge can only just look at him with disbelief in her face.
"Oh look at you! Such a cute couple!" The waitress squeals. "Okay, I will prepare the table for you! Would you like to take the challenge?"
Hiro turns his body straight again to face the waitress in front of him. "What kind of challenge is it?"
"Both of you will be served three portion of parfait in a giant glass, and you guys have to finish the food in five minutes only! And there are two Pocky sticks on it, and you two have to eat it a la Pocky games!" The waitress explain. "How about it? Up to the challenge?"
Hiro smirks wider. "Sure. We'll take the challenge."
"A couple of customers accepted the parfait challenge! Prepare the beast!" shouts the waitress dramatically, directed to the kitchen inside. Then she turns around and smiles at both of them. "Please follow me for the seats," she gestures her hand for Hiro and Renge to follow her.
Hiro nods as he follows the waitress along with the girl in his arm. He turns his head to stare at Renge and chuckles. "We should take photos of this moment," he says jokingly with a wide grin.
Pocky game style? Seriously? In public? But it's already too late to protest so she just follow him unwillingly, her face is already red at this point.
When Hiro's remark comes, she just gives him the most disapproving look and gives his arm a powerful pinch.
Hiro grunts and winces when Renge pinches him so hard. The boy frowns sadly at her and pouts. "That hurts..." he whines as he rubs his poor, pinched arm. It looks like it’s going to be bruised later.
The waitress stops at one table with a chair on each side. "Here you go, lovebirds! Please sit down and wait for the parfait!"
So Hiro sits down on the chair along with Renge. The boy smirks at the girl across him. "Relax, and let's enjoy the day for now. It will be fun!" Hiro assures with a big grin on his face.
"Hmph." She pays Hiro's whining no mind and sits down at their designated table. Serves him right! Sheesh.
She’s still a bit mad at Hiro just doing whatever he wants. "I'm not going to pay if we fail," she sulks at him.
Hiro just chuckles at her reply. She's even cuter when she sulks like that.
"Here's the parfait!" The waitress shouts as another waiter comes in and serves a huge glass of parfait. It's huge, full of sweets and pastel colors of pink and also white of vanilla ice cream and marshmallows, and also several biscuits and chocolate chips and creams. There are several cuts of fruits like kiwis and strawberries. And on the both sides of the glass serves two sticks of Pocky.
Looking at it makes Hiro wonder just how long he must run to burn all of these calories.
"The rules are simple: you both have to finish to eat the parfait in five minutes! And that includes the Pocky game!" The waitress explains. "Tell me when ready! I'll give you both three minutes to talk and prepare."
The raven haired boy stares at Renge with an eyebrow raised. "You like sweets, right?" Asks Hiro innocently.
As the waitress brought their dish, the sight of the gigantic dessert sure lifts up her mood nicely. Renge perks up and awes at the size and the appearance of the parfait. She can’t resist to take out her phone and takes a quick picture of it.
"Yeah!" she answered excitedly. But then realizing that she's supposed to still be mad at him, the girl clears her throat and fixes her tone. "Yes, I fancy sweet things."
Looking at her momentary change of mood (he doesn't even know how she's feeling right now, is she actually happy or annoyed?), he giggles at her for answering twice with different tone. "Great. So we can finish this easily then." He turns to the waitress, "There are two sticks of Pocky. Does this mean we have to do it twice or just once?" The boy asks.
"You have to do it twice, please. Thank you!" The waitress answers.
Doing the Pocky game twice? She barely can hold it when he kabedon-ed her last hanami and now she's supposed to do it twice? The girl sighs in defeat. Hopefully she could do it without embarrassing herself.
Hiro hums in interest. "Okay then," he says calmly. "Shall we start, girlfriend?" He smirks smugly at Renge.
The girl looks at Hiro with stink eye as he calls her “girlfriend” again "Sheesh, don't call me that..." she pouts again, her face is getting visibly red.
And Hiro just laughs, looking at Renge's blushing face.
Renge takes her spoon and readies herself for the challenge. "Okay, let's start then."
"Alright. We're ready," Hiro says as he takes his spoon ready.
"Okay! Now I'm going to set the timer." The waitress prepares with her stopwatch and as soon as she finishes, she shouts. "And START!"
They successfully finish the whole parfait in four minutes.
Now there's the Pocky game.
Hiro ponders how he plays this game. He cannot risk kissing Renge at the end, he doesn't know how that will turn out. He sways the Pocky stick between his fingers, wondering how to do it without kissing her.
He takes a quick glance at Renge, then to the Pocky, then to the girl again.
Then he gets an idea.
Hiro offers the Pocky stick directly to her mouth. "Bite it," he whispers. Actually, they didn't talk about this before about how they're going to do this, but now that they're already in the challenge, he has no choice but to act spontaneously.
The parfait was pretty big but it's pretty tasty, the girl enjoyed eating it. Maybe she can come back here some other time.
She almost forgets about the Pocky game until Hiro takes it off of the parfait glass. Her face reds again. It looks like the boy has some kind of plan? The girl complies and bites the Pocky. Hopefully this will be over with quick.
As Renge bites the end of the Pocky, Hiro reaches her and holds her face with his big hand, hiding the waitress' view from her mouth.
Then Hiro also bites the Pocky, and quickly eats it until his face close to her. Their noses almost touching. The proximity makes his heart beats fast, but that won't let his focus hazed from it. He eats the whole Pocky without reaching her mouth. Well, just almost.
Renge clenches her eyes shut as Hiro closes in, finishing his end. Face still as red as tomato, she can feel his face getting closer and it makes her hold her breath. Her heart is beating hard and loud, it felt like it's going to pop out of her chest.
He backs again as he takes another and last Pocky in his fingers. He smirks softly before biting the end of the Pocky and says, "Your turn."
She can finally breathe again when the boy is done. Though as she opens her eyes, the girl doesn't get any break and continues with her part.
Renge takes a deep breath and begins to eat the Pocky, but she's very nervous that resulting her to eat it in a sluggish pace.
She's slow. He doesn't know how long it will take, but it's definitely taking too long.
As much as he wants to see her cute face getting closer to him inch by inch, the time is running out.
So Hiro also eats his part to quicken the pace.
But then a little accident happens. He eats it too quickly and Renge is still moving that they actually kissed.
Realizing his lips touching her, he immediately steps back and his eyes wide.
What was just happened?
A ringing sound snaps him out of his shock. "Time's up!" The waitress shouts. "You both are so cute and amazing! You won the challenge, so please enjoy our couple menu with free of charge!" cheers the waitress as she takes the glass from the table and goes away.
Another waitress comes to give them both the "couple" menu. "Congratulations! Please take your time in choosing and call us when you have decided," she chirps and then walks away.
The atmosphere turns awkward that he only stares at Renge with wide eyes, his lips part a little bit.
Renge too, can only stare at Hiro wide eyed, face in utter disbelief. It's like she hasn't grasped what just happened yet.
Did they just kiss?
Well, she can certainly remember their lips briefly touching, it certainly felt soft...?
It’s her first kiss, and she just kissed Hiro.
Realization hit her hard, her face gets even hotter. Now she looks like a steaming red tomato. Renge can’t even say anything, she can only cover her face with her hands and hides it further by putting her head on the table.
Looking at Renge's seemingly discomfort form, Hiro goes panic and his body tenses. Is she mad at him? Is she angry? Does she hate him now of what just happen? Thoughts of negativity pass through his mind.
"Y-Yoshi I," he stammers, panics and confused of what he should do. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to..." he apologizes with soft voice, yet there's an urgent tone behind it. He doesn't know how to reason about their little accident.
"I'm sorry," he whispers as he bows his head down in shame. Well, he ever had the urge to kiss her sometimes, but he knows he must not break into the line before they take their relationship further.
And sometimes fate won't let him obey his to own little rules.
"It... It's fine. I'm sorry, I just need a moment..." The girl weakly voices out. It's just an accident, but it's still her first kiss! She's going to need some time to get over it and sort her mind.
So she spent another ten minutes with her face planted on the table, then she straighten herself again. Her face is still a little red, and the girl can't look at Hiro yet.
Hiro clears his throat to drive the thick awkward atmosphere away and reads at the menu.
"So, uh," Hiro starts when Renge seem already regains her composure, his voice low. "Which one do you want, Yoshi? I will eat any set you choose."
As much as he wants to tease her about the accident, he pretty knows that now is not the right time. He doesn't want to make her more uncomfortable with his presence.
"Oh... Um..." she looks at the menu. Seems like there are several sets they could choose from. "Umm maybe... this set? The one with the pasta sounds nice," she says pointing to the picture.
Hiro observes at the set before nodding. He calls for the waitress and makes their order. When the waitress notes down the order and walks away, the boy goes silent as he rather shyly glances at Renge.
She honestly doesn't know how to act now. The air is so awkward that it's getting pretty unbearable.
"Um." Hiro clears his throat and shifts on his chair uncomfortably. He wants to make a certain topic to lift the current mood. "Uh, you said you were overslept. I take it you slept well last night?"
It looks like Hiro is getting uncomfortable too. She fiddles with her fingers until the boy asked about her sleep.
"Y-yeah! It's a bit embarrassing, but yes... I didn't have the nightmare this time," she says sheepishly.
"Ah, I see. That's relieving," Hiro says as he lets out a soft sigh. "I thought you got caught up by something. I was anxious over nothing, then," the boy chuckles lightly.
She smiles and laughs a little. "Don’t worry, it's just me being a little careless."
Sensing the awkward tension beginning to fade slowly, Hiro straighten his pose and crosses his legs. "So, what are you dreaming last night? Do you remember?" He asks conversationally.
She ponders at Hiro's question and tries to remember her dream last night. "Hmm, I don't remember much, but..." She glances at her side, trying to get the memory of her dream. "At first, everything was the same, I was in a dark room and then the scenery changed into the sea, shadows and souls surrounding me. It always ended with me being drowned by those souls... But this time, something came to rescue me."
"Oh?" Hiro perks up at the ending. That catches his interest and he pulls up a little smile. "Who was it, the one who rescued you in that dream?" It's a bit ambiguous, but Hiro is curious of what happened in Renge's dream.
"Hmm, I don't think it's a person. I don't really remember, but it's pretty fluffy and warm so maybe it's a dog? Or maybe a teddy bear even," she laughs again, imagining a fluffy creature going to her rescue.
Hiro laughs at the girl's story. "A teddy bear came to rescue you? That's rather adorable," the boy comments as he giggles. "But well, maybe I'd freak out if a teddy bear really came to life. They're cute and all, but I just can't imagine if they walk around like us..." Hiro shudders at his own image.
"Well it's a dream after all! Nothing too silly if it's a dream." She laughs again at Hiro's remark. "I would love to have an animated cuddly friend that keeps me warm anytime."
When Hiro finishes commenting, the waitress comes serving their foods and drinks. They are pastas with tuna and carbonara cream sauce, and cold carbonated drinks. "Enjoy your food!" The waitress bows before she walks away to serve other customers.
Seeing at the food, it's quite appetizing but since he already ate the giant parfait earlier, it makes him a bit full already. But it's nothing that Hiro cannot stand.
"So, this teddy bear," Hiro starts again as he takes his fork. "Is the reason why you overslept?"
Renge's eyes sparkles when she sees the food. She takes a quick picture of it and takes her fork. The parfait is pretty fulfilling but the sight of the pasta is enough to rise her appetite again.
"Hmm, I guess? I don't remember the details but the dream ends with me cuddling the teddy bear, it felt really nice." Then she stops and hums. "Now that I think about it, I guess it's not a teddy bear...,” she thinks out loud. “Maybe it's a... big dog... A wolf?"
Hiro's eyebrows raise when she mentions "wolf". It reminds him of his own Shadow Persona. Is it that? She dreamed about him?
Or maybe he just overlooks at it.
But he snorts and teases her about it anyway. "Ah, is that so? Is it because you called me, then you were thinking about me that you imagine my dogs in your head and brought them into your dream?" He drawls. "But why the wolf? Wasn't it supposed to be me instead?" The boy adds rather smugly and jokingly.
She blushes a little when Hiro mentions it like that. Well, she doesn’t think of it that way until now. "I-I guess? Well, I guess that means you saved me from my nightmares. Literally," she giggles softly. "I don't know, maybe you subconsciously sent the dogs to take care of me?"
Hiro laughs heartily at her comments. "Yeah, can be. My boys are quite fond of you anyway, so they will happily obey me to save you," the boy snickers.
Renge chuckles back at him. "I'm thankful though for our talk last night, I'm glad you're still awake... It was pretty scary last night." There's a glint of fear on her face, but it was quickly replace with a relieved face. "Thank you." She smiles sheepishly.
Then his smirk turns into a soft smile. "Just call me anytime you want, Yoshi. And don't hesitate to do it when you're in trouble," he offers kindly as he continuously eats his food.
Giggling again, the girl comments off handedly, "I'm happy to know that you're fond of me!" As she takes another bite of the pasta, not realizing the weight of her own words.
She hums in approval to his words, though her conversation with him yesterday sparks some questions in her mind. "Why are you still awake at that time though? Do you still have trouble sleeping?"
Hiro faintly gasps in surprise. His eyes wide, his mouth parts open slightly. Does that mean... she really knows? His true feelings toward her? Does that mean it's okay for him to have feelings for her? Or she actually... knew?
But judging the way she says it... it looks like she doesn't care about it. Or she just simply isn't aware. Or he just simply overlooks it.
Casually, out of curiosity, he asks her. "What about you? Are you fond of me too?" Although he says it rather teasingly, his heart is racing in anticipation and anxiety for the answer. Even if he already guessed it, he's still unsure and nervous.
Hiro takes a fork of his pasta before answering. "I was dancing in my room at that time, since I couldn't sleep. But after you called me, I easily slept until the time I woke up to do my morning runs." He snickers lightly before continuing, "Usually I don't sleep more than for two-three hours for a night, but last night I somehow sleep more than that."
He stares at Renge with a hinting smile, tilting his head a bit. "I wonder why."
It seems like those words has finally sunk into her, Renge looks at Hiro with a dumbstruck expression, eyes wide and the fork still in her mouth.
Could it be that Hiro... likes her? Well, if he does all that teasing now makes sense, is he actually flirting with her all this time?
But... is it really?
Maybe she's just getting ahead of herself, the boy never said those of likes and love to her. It's just a hypothesis that passes her mind.
She shouldn't get her hopes up, why would he even like her anyway? The girl quickly buries the thought and answers him.
"Of-of course! If I don't, I don't think I will umm... Look for you in the middle of the night." She feels nervous all of the sudden, the girl goes to take a sip of her beverage. Maybe it will calm her down.
Hiro smiles wider at her positive answer. It brings excitement and rapture to his heart that he actually want to jump high and fly to the sky. Although it may be overreacted, but somehow Hiro just knows it's more than that.
And then there's those words and smile, really what does that mean? Does he really like her?
It's a little too sudden for her, and Renge doesn't know how to deal with all this new information.
"Do... Do you like me... Isao-kun?" she asks with a tiny, barely heard voice. It’s supposed to stay in her thoughts, but it somehow stupidly blurted out of her mouth.
The boy hears her tiny, quiet whisper. Hiro freezes.
Oh God. Doesn't she know how much he wants to kiss her, hugs her in his arms and spend all of his time just to be with her? And yet he has to hold all of those heavy desires down until the time he finally reach his goal.
Because he doesn't want to take risks. As much as he likes her and cares about her, he doesn't want her to be the one who hinders him from hunting his father.
So how should he answer to that?
He's silent for long moments to think carefully with his respond. Then finally comes an answer, he put his fingers on his chin as if he's still thinking. "What do you think about that, Yoshi?" He asks quietly.
Why does he always answer her question with more questions?
Maybe... he just don't want to say? The boy is usually evasive whenever he doesn't want to answer. Or maybe she reads it wrongly? Maybe it's just his usual teasing and that his affection aren't directed to her?
Her heart sunk a little at the notion. That must be it, she must have misunderstood.
The girl looks away from Hiro and starts to drink her water again, trying to hide her expression. "S-sorry! That slipped out of my mind, y-you don't need to answer that..." she stammers.
Hiro observes her and reads her change of expression. He frowns when she denies his question and apologizes instead.
Woman is such an emotional being.
Hiro is quiet pensively, thinking how to deal with this. He doesn't want Renge to think otherwise about him, but he also doesn't want to take their relationship further yet.
Why is it always hard for him to make a decision?
Hiro sighs softly. He put down his fork on the plate and moves his hand to hold the girl's hand, rather hesitantly.
"Yoshi, I...," the raven haired boy whispers. "I... do have feelings for you, alright? But... please wait for me. Please don't think otherwise of me." His grip on her hand tightens and tugs her slightly and gingerly. He finally decides for being honest to her, but not wholly.
He stares at Renge with desperate hope and a slight despair. "Wait for me. Please."
Renge's eyes widen in surprise when he holds her hand. What does this mean?
She can feel her face heating up a little at the confession. "R-really..? You do?" she blurts out unsurely.
Hiro nods, confirming Renge's question with a small smile.
But then he asks her to wait and his tone sounds serious too. "Wait for you...?" the girl asks in confusion. "What do you mean by that?"
Then frowns deeper and holds her hand tighter. Of course he cannot answer to that. He cannot mention that he wants to focus on getting his revenge first before taking their relationship further.
But he also doesn't want to lose her.
He tugs her hand again and he leans forward to her. He whispers again to her, quietly, "Do you believe in me?"
Her eyes widen once again at the sudden question. She wants to believe in him, but her gut tells her that he's about to do something dangerous. Very dangerous.
Her meeting with Erina several days ago comes into her mind.
“I'd do what I have to do to put stop into it before he does something he'll regret.”
She holds his hand back, and stares right into his eyes.
"I want to believe you," she pauses before continuing. "But you need to tell me what I need to believe in."
Hiro purses his lips as he inhales slowly, and exhales through his nose.
He's quite for several seconds before answering, his thumb caressing the junction between hers. "Believe me that I always do everything to protect you. And for myself." His eyes glint with desperate plead as he stares at her.
Please. I need you to believe in me, as if the girl will know what he's trying to say.
She stares into his amber eyes for a long time before she finally closes her eyes and letting out a soft sigh. "Okay, I believe you." She smiles and grips onto his hand. "Though I would still prefer getting some explanation... but..." Then she looks back at his eyes again. "I'm going to trust you, Isao-kun."
His posture instantly relaxes as he gets his positive answer. Hiro smiles widely, he brings her hand closer, pressing his lips lightly on the back of her hand. "Thank you," he murmurs softly.
Then he let go of her hand gently and back to his unfinished dish. "I'm sorry, it seems the foods are cold by now," he chuckles. "Let's finish it for now before they get colder."
She blushes slightly when he kisses her hand. Renge looks back to their food and indeed it has become cold. She nods and quickly finished up her meal, there's not much left in her plate anyway.
Several minutes later, they finally finish their food. Hiro is just left with his drink.
"Do you want to go somewhere after this?" Hiro asks before he gulps his beverage.
"Hmm," she thinks on what to do next. They're inside of a mall so there are plenty of things that they can do. "Sure thing, is there anything you'd like to see?" she asks back.
Hiro hums in contemplation. Is there anything else he want to do? Well, he just wants to spend all day with her, so anything will be fine, honestly. Even if she wants to go shopping all day, he will gladly stay with her. Isn’t that what usually girls do in a mall?
Then something catches his mind. The last time he watched in cinema was... when was it again? Was it with Romeo? Now that he think of it, he never asks Renge to watch in cinema before.
"Do you want to watch a movie? I suppose there's a good movie playing today," Hiro suggests.
Renge lights up the mention of movie. It's been a while since she has actually went to cinemas.
She nods at the suggestion, "Sure! Let's go check it out!"
Hiro smiles seeing her reaction. "Well then, let's go."
"You both won the challenge, correct?" The waitress approaches their table when they're about to leave. "Then there's no charge needed. Thank you for coming!"
When they arrive at the cinema, they're standing in front of the cinema board which filled with movie lists that currently playing. There are three movies playing: action, romance and horror. Well, there are lots of people lining up for the romance movie, as Hiro observes, so it's supposedly a good-rating movie. Or because it’s summer holiday, couples are everywhere.
"Which one do you want to watch, Yoshi?" Hiro asks, turning himself to face her. "We have the same interest toward romance, so I'm okay with that. Or do you want horror instead?" Hiro adds the last sentence with teasing tone.
"I actually read the novel that this movie is based on." The girl points towards the romantic movie poster. "I have been wanting to watch it, but I heard the movie adaption isn't as great. Though I still want to see for myself," she chuckles and looks toward the crowd again. "There sure are lots of people today, I hope we can still get some tickets."
Renge pouts a little at the mention of horror movie. "I prefer not going for that one... I can never handle horror or jump scares." She shivers a little. "I get scared too easily."
"Hmm, well, better get the romance movie now, then," Hiro replies and starts to walk to the line where people queuing for the movie's ticket.
But not long after, people walk away from the line, breaking the queue. Hiro raises his eyebrow in confusion, wondering what happens. Then he gets to listen some people muttering their whine of not getting the movie ticket today.
It's sold out?
Turns out true when the screen on the cashier displays red for all the schedule for the romance movie. And also the same for the action movie, though it’s still have one schedule left, and it's late night. The only option left now is the horror movie.
Hiro turns around to Renge and smiles apologetically, shrugging his shoulders. "Well, it seems we're too late. Now we can only watch the horror movie."
Renge looks at the dissipating crowd with disappointment. "Oh that's too bad..."
Then he sees the poster of the film. It interests him, it's actually an epilogue of the previous movie he had watched. "How about it, Yoshi? Two tickets for horror movie?" He grins widely, his eyes are glinting mischievously. "It's on me."
When Hiro mentions about going for the horror movie instead (he's even going to treat her for it), she pouts."...Is it scary?" she asks Hiro quietly. "If it is, I'm going to be quite noisy though, are you okay with that?"
Hiro tilts his head and hums in thoughts. "Well... A good horror movie is supposed to be scary, right? The previous one was... so-so, I think. I hope this one is going to be better, though."
Hiro laughs, then smirks flirtingly, moving his face closer to hers. "You can cling on me if you're scared," he purrs.
The girl blushes again as his face moves closer. Renge pouts again. "Sheesh, Isao kun!"
Then she backs off of him a bit. "But... I'll take up to that offer I guess." She fiddles her fingers nervously. “Though I still hope it's not going to be that scary."
Hiro grins widely when she agrees. "Great! Now just wait here while I line up for the tickets." Then the boy leaves the girl and goes to the line for the horror movie.
As he queues, he wonders how she will react when she watch a horror movie. Is she some kind of a person that whimpers at jump scares? Or just close their eyes? Jumps and clings to anyone besides them? Or even screamed?
Hiro cannot wait to discover the other side of Renge.
When he gets the tickets, he goes back to where Renge is. "It's pretty crowded, but it's only half of the studio seats is filled out," Hiro comments. "Well, at least we get to watch something today." The boy grins again at her.
"What time does the movie starts?" she asks while eyeing the tickets on his hands. "Well I hope we can enjoy the movie, or at least I hope I could enjoy it."
Hiro shifts his hand which holding the ticker so the girl can see it better. "Just have to wait fifteen minutes, it seems. Let's search for a seat--" But when Hiro looks around, all the seats are already taken.
Hiro sighs and chuckles lightly. "And it seems we have to wait standing. It's pretty crowded today, since it's a summer holiday." Then he turns to face Renge again. "Do you want some popcorn?" He asks with tilting his head.
"It’s just fifteen minutes, maybe the theatre has already opened," she says, looking around at the crowd.
"Sure thing, I'll pay for the snacks since you bought us the tickets," she chuckles. "I like the caramel popcorn here."
Hiro giggles back. "Alright, then. Let's buy it first, then we get inside."
Several minutes later after they buy their popcorn, they go inside the studio and take their seats. It's still playing some ads, probably around five minutes left before the movie starts.
"So," Hiro starts, picking a bit of the popcorn and eats it. "You've never watched a horror movie before?"
To be honest, Hiro prefer romance to horror, but the situation left him no choice. He likes it, though, especially when it includes classical music in the background. Classic is for romance and horror, after all.
"I watch it sometimes when Tsubaki insists," she says leaning on her seat. "It always end with both of us screaming for our lives though" she giggles a little. "The difference is... Tsubaki likes the thrill and I don't."
Now that she think about it, her brother probably just enjoy looking at her reaction whenever she gets scared. He gets really giggly while listening to her silent screams. Renge subconsciously frowns a little at her own memory.
Oblivious to Renge's flow of mind, Hiro just hums at her story. "So Tsubaki likes horror, huh," he says. Well, maybe he should keep that in mind. Probably someday he will ask Tsubaki to join him to watch those kind of movies, since Shenji is... pretty hard to ask to watch those kind of movies.
Or probably he should just watch alone like usual.
Then the lights go off, the movie is going to start.
Several movie scenes later, it starts to show some horror tension and jump scares and loud sound. At most, Hiro just jumps a little from his seat and cursed under his breath at jump scare scenes.
As she expected, she shrieks even at the slight horror scenes and jumps towards Hiro's seat in fear. Though she tries to not be too loud, it's proven to be too hard on her.
Gosh, this is why she hates horror movies, it's so unsettling. In attempt to calm herself, she nudges the boy next to her with a shaky voice. "Hey Isao-kun... Can I hold your hand...?" she whimpers.
Hiro turns his head to find Renge is curling on in fear on her seat beside him, a bit leaning to his side. The boy snorts softly, then takes Renge's hand quietly and hold it firmly.
"Keep your voice down, or people are going to stare at us and see us as a real couple," Hiro teases, whispering to Renge.
Even at times like this, really the teasing never stops. Renge doesn't reply to that remark and just hit his arm lightly, then she shifts back her attention to the movie.
The music has changed again to a suspenseful one, the main character is currently hiding away from the said ghost. She starts to grip on the boy's hand strongly.
Hiro winces a bit when Renge holds his hand tighter. He smirks though, as he glances to the scared girl beside him. She really cannot stand horror, it seems. He wonders if this incident will make her having another nightmare later.
And that might means another midnight phone calls.
A loud scream echoes in the studio, filling the room with more suspense. The ghost’s face is revealed clear on the wide screen, making another jump scare. Hiro curses lowly from the shock of the scene.
Meanwhile, Renge screams loudly and hides her face on Hiro's shoulder, the girl holds onto him tightly with her dear life.
"Ohh I hate this so much," she whines while still clinging onto Hiro, face buried on his shoulder. "I don't think I can watch this anymore, I'll just stay like this until the movie ends."
Hiro giggles in amusement, seeing Renge hiding herself on his shoulder. He reaches her head by his other hand, giving her a pat and ruffles her hair. "Alright. It's going to end soon anyway," he says softly.
Several minutes later, the screen finally shows a rolling credit. People are starting to stand up and exit the studio.
Hiro turns his head to see the hiding girl on his shoulder. The boy smirks, "You okay? The movie's over. Do you want to leave now?"
She looks up and lets out a relieved sigh. "Oh finally! Yeah, let's leave now."
She looks again at their position, she's leaning on his shoulder and their hands holding each other. The girl blushes and backs off from him. "A-anyway umm, sorry for clinging onto you! Whenever I see something scary I just... need to hold onto something."
Hiro laughs lightly before standing up. "It's okay. You're warm anyway," he teases with a smirk.
Hearing his remark, the girl can only look at him with confusion. Though in the end she decided not to ask further about that.
Soon after they exit the studio, the boy turns to Renge. "The movie was fun, though. I enjoyed it." He grins widely. "Do you want to go home now? Or do you want to go somewhere else first?"
"I didn't, but I'm glad you do." She laughs softly. At his question she took out her phone to check the time, it's almost 5PM. "I think I'll go back now, I told my parents that I'll be having dinner at home."
"Hmm. Let's go then," Hiro says. "I'll walk you home as always." He grins wider before he walks again, guiding the girl home.
Soon they arrive in front of Renge's house. Hiro stops walking and turns himself to face the girl. "Here we are," he says. He smirks and tilts his head, "If you have another nightmare, just call me again," he teases, ending his sentence with a snicker.
"Thank you, Isao-kun." She smiles at him, then a small laugh escapes her lips. "I would prefer not getting more nightmare but... Yeah I'll tell you when I have one."
She turns briefly to look at her house and then back to the boy in front of her. "Hey... Um... Can I ask you something before I go?" she asks softly, cheeks getting slightly red.
"Hm?" Hiro perks up at her question. "Sure. What is it?" He inclines his head in curiosity.
"Um..." Renge nervously fiddles her fingers before finally speaking up. "I was... thinking about what we talked about at the café." She pauses for several seconds. "You asked for me to wait and I'm fine with that but... In the meantime... What are we?"
She stammers, "I-I mean I was wondering how should I... Um... Act around you? Should I just act normally or...?"
Hiro's face slowly turns flat at her question. He tries to think about what their relationship just turned into.
Well, basically, he confessed to her. He told her that he has feelings for her. He just cannot keep silent when he saw the disappointed face of her. He doesn't want her to think that he only plays around with her, and that's why he said that.
But he also doesn't want to take their relationship further yet. He thinks by taking her further will hinder his plan; he has to be more careful. He won't take risks. Not her.
But at least he knows that she won't get away from him. He has her secured for now.
He smiles after he's done with his thoughts. "I know by now we cannot just be called "friends" anymore. But I still want you to wait for me."
Then he takes a step closer to her. "Just act however you want, Yoshi." He reaches her hair and tucks it behind her ear gently. "I didn't mind when you hold my hand and cling to my shoulder, did I?" He tilts his head, smiling.
The long haired girl blushes again as Hiro tucks her hair. She is somehow more relaxed at the gesture. Then she clears her throat before she speaks up. "O-okay then! Umm.... Can I ask you for another thing?" It's going to be embarrassing and he'll probably tease her about it but she just want to get it out of her system.
"Can I ask for a hug?"
Hiro's eyebrows raise up at her request. He never thought Renge would ask such an affectionate act from him. Well, sure, almost every time they go out, he gives her a touch or two. But to think she's asking him to do it, it's quite a surprise. Not that he dislikes it though.
Without replying, he immediately moves closer to her and pulled her in his embrace. His strong hands circle her waist, firmly yet gently. He buries his face to her hair, inhaling her scent and smiles, feeling content.
She’s a little antsy, but when she felt warmth enveloping her, the girl relaxes immediately.
She smiles and leans onto his chest. Humming happily, she savors the moment. "I don't know why, but your hugs feel very comforting," she giggles.
The tall boy chuckles back, the sound is reverberating on his chest. "Is it because I'm warm like a dog?" Hiro asks teasingly while nuzzling her hair.
“Maybe?" she giggles again and leans further to his chest, then Renge brings out her hand. "Good boy," she says jokingly with a wide grin.
Hiro laughs heartily, then he moves his head under her chin, nuzzling her neck with his nose and holds her closer. "I am," he answers smugly.
"Hey, that tickles!" she laughs back softly as he nuzzles her neck.
Then he backs off without letting go of Renge. He inclines his head a bit and smirks softly, "then, can I ask for something, too?"
But without waiting for her reply, he immediately asks, "kiss me? It doesn't have to be on the mouth, though."
Renge's face goes redder at his request. He sure likes to take things one step further than she does. Is it on purpose perhaps? She’s silent for a bit before nodding.
"...O-okay but... Close your eyes first! I feel nervous if you look at me while I do it." She pouts. Then she adds, "Also don't move okay, we don't want any accidents to happen again."
Chuckling, he complies with her terms, closing his eyes with his smile still on his face and hands circling her waist.
As he closes his eyes, Renge takes a deep breath and leans forward and give him a quick peck on his cheek. She would kiss him more slowly but the girl is really embarrassed doing this in public, right outside of her house.
His smile widens when he feels a short, momentary tickling sensation on his cheek. His heart warms with mirth.
It makes him want more.
"Hey. That's a little too short for a kiss," he whines, opening his eyes and pouts. "Can I ask for a longer one, please?" He tilts his head cutely at her.
"But it's embarrassing to do any longer than that!" she whines also, face still red. But the girl complies anyway and leans in to give his cheek another kiss, this time three seconds longer.
"There, is that enough?" she asks with a bit pout on her face after she’s done.
"Again, please? And much longer," Hiro pleads with a tilt of his head again. This is getting quite addicting.
"Again and longer? Geez, Isao-kun!" she whines again with her shoulder slumping.
"How about you tell me how long you want it to be?" she huffs. "So then you'll be satisfied."
Hiro chuckles again at her protest. Then he moves a hand to hold her cheek softly. "This long," he says before pressing his lips on her cheek. His hand brings her face closer to him, his nose is also pressed against her plump cheek.
He stays like that for around five seconds or longer, and finally he backs off of her. The boy smiles softly as he caress her cheek. "Like that," he whispers.
She can feel her already red face becomes even more like a tomato.
Her heart beats fast as the five seconds passed by that feels like an eternity. She can only stand there, frozen with a stupid look on her face. Then the boy backs off and gave her the usual dreamy smile. How can he do that so casually?
"Ooh come on, Isao-kun, you can at least warn me before doing something like that!" she complains as she hit his chest lightly out of embarrassment.
Hiro laughs cheerfully, his face has a hint of red out of amusement and joy. "If I warn you first, then I won't get this cute reaction of yours, will I?" Hiro guffaws.
When his laughter is calmed down, he stares at Renge tenderly. Then his arms bring her closer and he puts his forehead on hers, smiling widely while closing his eyes.
"I'll see you later, Yoshi," he breathes softly.
She pouts and continues to grumble but as he brought her closer, she can't help but relaxes again.
Renge also closes her eyes as their forehead meets, giggling at the soft, sweet gesture. "See you later too, Isao-kun. Thank you for today."
He savors the moment for a long while before he finally, rather reluctantly letting her go and backs off. "I'm going now. If you me, just call me." Hiro gestures his hand, making a phone-like hand and moves it beside his ear.
Then he turns away, leaving Renge and walks home with warm, blissful heart.
She nods and waves him goodbye, the girl watches Hiro disappear to the distance before finally entering her house.
"I'm home," Renge greets the household, takes off her shoes and starts to walk towards her room. Though as she passes the living room, there's her brother sitting on the couch, looking up and grinning widely at her.
"Welcome home! How was the date?" he snickers. "Assuming from your face, I can see that you had a great time."
"Pssh Tsubaki it's not a date! We only had lunch together and went to see the movies."
"Yep a date," Tsubaki replies nonchalantly.
"Geez whatever fits your fancy!" she sighs in defeat. But later on, a soft smile appears on her lips. "But it was nice," she adds, blush roses on her cheeks.
Renge clears her throat before setting her belongings on the coffee table and makes her way to the kitchen. "A-anyway! Mother will be home soon, so I'm going to prepare the dinner ingredients for us!"
Tsubaki can't help but grin wider at her sister's embarrassed remark. "Oho? Is this some kind of development I smell? You need to tell me sis!"
The boy put down his phone and follows her to the kitchen. "I'll help out too, but tell me more my dear, dear sister!"
"There's nothing I should tell you, you nosy boy!" she huffs, her face still blushing.
"So something did happen!" Tsubaki chirps while washing his hands. "Come on sisss, spill some tea, would you?"
"N-no! It's not like anything happened today!" Flustered, Renge shoves the vegetable box towards him. "Now let's just silently chop these vegetables okay? Peel these onions for me, Tsubaki."
The boy pouts and shrugs "Okay, okay, I'll bother you later after dinner then."
Renge gives Tsubaki a “Why Are You Like This?” look. She sighs and tries to finish the task on hand.
Though a little messy, it’s a pretty fun day. Things that happened sure brings some question to her mind.
They kind of confessed to each other's feelings today. The boy has feelings for her, but he wants her to wait for him. Why though? Why wait? And how long? She didn't ask for reasons, so to be honest she's kind of stumped here.
He told her it's to protect her and himself. Is it... perhaps connected to why he has the power? Anxiety spreads on her heart as the thought crosses her mind.
And then Erina's word echoes again in her mind. She told Hiro that she would trust him, but... she can't shake off this uneasiness in her heart.
The girl can only pray that things are going to be alright for the both of them.