The Struggles from the Happy Girl Next Door
"She's the neighbor I was talking to you about..."
Natsumi looked over at the girl in question and stared at her for a few seconds "My name is Miyoshi Natsumi, nice to meet you~"
She extended her hand towards Yukari who simply stared at it for a bit, before I could ask if everything was all right, she smiled and grabbed hold of Natsumi's extended hand.
"Nice to meet you, I'm Takahara Yukari"
A sigh escaped my breath seeing that everything was all right, but even then, in the back of my mind, the sole thought of what she was going to say ate away at me "I wonder what that was all about..."
"I didn't know that Kiyota had a beautiful girlfriend such as yourself"
"..." Unlike me, Natsumi didn't seem bothered by her words at all, on the contrary, she seemed like she was about to start laughing on the spot "Sorry if you misinterpreted everything, but we're childhood friends"
"You are? I'm sorry about what I said" Yukari bowed at Natsumi's words and upon lifting her head, she beamed me a smile "I'm sorry for saying such a thing, Kiyota"
I sighed at her words and chuckled to myself "Don't let it happen again..."
Just when I thought things were going to end at that, Natsumi clasped her hands together and smiled at the both of us "Why don't the three of us go around together?" "You don't mind doing that, Yukari-chan~?"
"Yukari-chan? She's getting that familiarized with her even though they just met?" A sigh escaped my breath "That's Natsumi for you..."
"I don't mind... But..." She glanced over at me and I could more or less guess what she was thinking.
"She must think that she'll be bothering us" "I don't mind. The more the merrier"
"Perfect~" "Are you going to try those own, Yukari-chan?"
She pointed over at the clothes that Yukari had on hand and upon looking down at them, she gave her a single nod.
"Well then, take care of her in the meantime, Kiyota"
"I'll go ahead and look around a bit more, in the meantime, accompany her"
Hearing Natsumi speak in such a way simply left me wondering what she was planning, but even then, it wasn't my place nor a good thing for me to ask in the moment "Got it"
"Give me a call when the both of you are ready"
Without skipping a beat, she left the changing rooms and headed off towards another section of the store. As her image started disappearing, I glanced over at Yukari and noticed that she was fidgeting around a bit.
"I'll be here. Go ahead and do whatever you need to do"
"Are you sure that you should leave her alone?"
She didn't look me in the eyes as she spoke those words. She continued looking down at the clothes on her hands. I shrugged my shoulders and looked over at where she had run off too "She'll be all right, besides, I know for a fact that she wouldn't do or get close to anyone who'd be dangerous"
"You trust her a lot, don't you?"
"Of course, she's my childhood friend" "We've been with each other throughout the toughest times of each others lives. It's only fair that we would trust each other so much"
I glanced over at her and sighed "I'll be here waiting, so take your time"
I gently patted her head and upon doing so, her gaze slowly but surely looked over at me and before I knew it, the smile she had given me the time we had first met appeared once more "I'll hold you to it~"
She headed off towards the changing room and as she did so, I glanced over at where Natsumi had run off to and sighed to myself "You really need to work on your actions a bit more..."
I sat back down and glanced through my phone. After a minute or so passed and I suddenly felt someone lightly tap me on the shoulder "Kiyota~?"
I looked over and standing beside me was Yukari in what seemed to be more casual outfit. A long straight dress with little ribbons on the sides "How do I look~?"
"..." I was speechless. I didn't have any words to describe her, but, the scene that I saw as her apartment door closed haunted me. It bothered me "You look good"
"What else do you want me to say?"
"You could at least say that I look pretty"
"You look pretty"
She puffed out her cheeks and stuck out her tongue at me as she made her way back into the dressing room.
If I hadn't seen her kneeling on the ground lifeless, I would have probably have said even more to her, but in that moment, it was impossible for me.
"I need to ask her about that. I need to find out or my mind won't be able to rest in peace"
Once I had prepared myself to ask her about it, I suddenly heard someone or something fall from the dressing room where Yukari had entered. I quickly stood up and walked over to it all the while calling out to her "Are you all right in there?"
"Y-Yeah, I'm just kind of stuck..."
"I'm gonna come in to help you"
"T-T-There's no need to"
"Nonsense! It sounded like you hit yourself pretty badly"
"I'm coming in" Neither of us could risk her having hurt herself and if she did hurt herself badly, we would have to take her to the hospital or some clinic nearby.
As I stepped into the dressing room, it felt as thought all of my blood had left my body. Laying before me was a girl in a somewhat awkward position, but the one thing that left me with such a painful feeling in my chest were all of the bruises and little scars that were on her body.
"Don't look at me!"
Before I could even ask what the bruises and little scars were about, she covered them and stared at the ground. She seemed both scared and angry at the same time.
I kneeled down and lightly placed my hand on her shoulder "Yukari..."
"Don't look at me... L-Leave me be..." She started sniffling and before I knew it, tears started falling down her face "I-I don't want you to... see these..."
"..." Seeing her acting in such a way, seeing the bruises and scars, everything that had happened the little time I had met her simply connected all of the pieces together "You're being beaten by your parents... Aren't you?"
She didn't speak nor did she give me any nods. She simply stared there, emotionless, as if she were a doll "Was it my fault? Is this something that has been happening for a long time, before I even moved in? If it is... What do I do?"
"..." She lifted her head and stared into my eyes. She was still in tears, but something about her was different "W-Why are you... apologizing?"
"Because of me... You ended up getting hurt like this"
"Nonsense!" She grabbed my arm tightly and pulled me in. Her eyes staring directly at me "It wasn't your fault, Kiyota!"
"You say that, but if I had just insisted on finding out about your bruise... If I had called out to you on that night... I might've been able to do something about it..."
I nodded at her words and she started tearing up even more "You really are... too nice"
Before I knew it, she had started embracing me. Her arms wrapped around tightly my body. Her face was pressed up against my chest and I could feel her sobbing and sobbing all the while.
"I need to do something... I can't let her continued living like this..." I lightly started caressing her head and as I did so, I could feel my heart beating faster and faster.
"We'll do something about this... I can't let you live like this any longer now that I know about it"
She slowly removed her face from my chest and stared at me as if a saving grace had appeared before her "Kiyota..."
"We'll do whatever it takes, but I'll need your help, ok?" I tried smiling at her to at least give her the confidence she would need.
As I did so, out of nowhere, she closed in her face with my own and before I knew it, she had grabbed my face gently and a sudden warmth washed over on my lips.
"She's kissing me?!"
Since there wasn't a lot of space, I couldn't back out even if I tried too. After a few more seconds passed, she backed up a bit and once more started hugging me "I love you... Kiyota"
"I love you... I want to be with you forever..."
She looked up at me and out of nowhere, smiled at me once more, but unlike the other times, this one seemed to be even more genuine then the ones before.
"Will you be my boyfriend once we solve everything?"
I was speechless. I didn't know what to say, but even then, I knew for a fact that I would do whatever would be needed to make her life better.
"I promise to make you happy... Even though you've had so many hardships, I'll do whatever is needed to make your life better"