The Struggles from the Happy Girl Next Door
"Good morning, Kiyota dear"
"Good morning Kuniko"
"Coming back from work?"
"Yeah... Today was one hectic day" I scratched the back of my neck and let out a sigh "I needed to help out with a pretty big order"
"That sounds good for you. At least you have a pretty good job that pays well, right?"
"Yeah, I'm very thankful for you helping me find that job" I bowed at her and simply heard her giggle.
"There's no need to thank me whenever possible. You've helped me out throughout these two years. I just paid you back a little bit for everything that you've done"
"I really didn't do anything to deserve to be thanked"
"Nonsense, dear" She beamed me a smile and glanced over inside her apartment "Would you like to have some dinner with me?"
"I'm sorry, but I promised Yukari a date today"
She seemed to have remembered something and bowed "I'm sorry, I forgot that it was your anniversary, correct?"
"Yes, it's already been 2 years ever since we started going out"
"I'm glad that things have been going well between the both of you~"
"Yes, I'm grateful for that as well" I glanced down at the time and bowed "I should get going now. Yumiko told me that she wanted to see me for a bit"
"Of course, take care, Kiyota dear"
With those words, I said my goodbye to Kuniko and headed on over towards Yumiko's apartment. I rang the doorbell and waited for a bit, after a few more seconds passed, she opened the door and beamed me a smile "Glad that you could make it. Come on in"
"Thank you very much"
I entered her apartment and once she closed the door, I let out a sigh and proceeded to take a seat.
"You going to propose to Yukari or what?"
"W-Where is this even coming from?!"
"It's about time, don't you think?"
"You going to do it later today?"
"I-I was planning to do so..."
"Perfect. You remember that place I showed you before? The hilltop overlooking the city?"
"Yes, I do"
"Propose to her there. It'll be secluded, the view is pretty and I can assure you that she'll agree even if you're a brat who's afraid of being rejected"
"P-Please don't remind me..."
She let out a giggle and lightly smacked my back "I doubt she'd reject you... I can tell that the both of you love one another very much" Yumiko looked into my eyes and grinned at me "So just go for it, ok?"
"You're second mom here will prepare something special alongside Kuniko to congratulate the both of you when you get back, got it?"
"Thank you very much"
With those words, I bowed at her and just when I was going to exit the apartment, she called out to me "I have something for you"
I looked back and noticed that she had in her hands a small box "This is my present to you. I hope you like it"
I stared at the small box in her hands and then looked up at her "You really didn't have to do all of this for me..."
"Nonsense. Since you're my son now, I get to give this to you"
"..." I bowed at her and took the box slowly away from her hands "Can I open it here?"
"Of course, go ahead"
I slowly opened up the box and couldn't help but look at a necklace that laid right then and there inside the box.
"I told myself that if I ever had a child that I would give this to him. And since you allowed me to call you my son, I've decided to give this to you"
"I can't take this. You still have an opportunity to have a child of your own!"
She shook her head at my words and simply smiled at me "As long as I know that I have someone like you, I don't need a child anymore"
She gently laid her hands on my own and smiled at me "Do this for me, please. I want you to have it now"
"..." It pained me seeing her like this, but there was nothing else that I could do. After two years of living in these apartments, I had come to learn more about each one of them.
Kuniko was more of a teasing mother all the while she really liked to talk with others about anything and everything while Yumiko herself wouldn't budge regardless of what you would say to her.
"Thank you... I'll cherish this"
"Thank you" She took the necklace from my hand, walked behind me and started putting it on my neck for me. Once she had done so, she walked back towards my front and smiled "It looks good on you"
She beamed me yet another smile and out of nowhere smacked my arm "Now go on and make that girl a happy one you hear me?"
"Y-Yeah... But you don't have to hit me that hard!"
"What was that?!"
She giggled and thus led me out the door "Make sure, got it?"
"Yeah, I heard you"
After saying my goodbye, I made my way up the stairs and headed on over towards Yukari's and my apartment. I pulled out my key and proceeded to open the door, as I did so, I couldn't help but notice that the front entrance was empty, but I did see that her shoes were laid down in front.
"I guess she had no more classes today" I put on my indoor slippers and made my way inside towards the main section of the room and upon doing so, I noticed that a single figure laying down on my bed with a book in her hands.
"Hmm?" She looked up from the book and beamed me a smile "Welcome home, dear"
"Would you like dinner, a bath or perhaps... Me?"
"None of those"
"Huh?! Not even the beautiful girl laying down on your bed?!"
"Don't be so boring~!"
I let out a chuckle and noticed that she had left her clothes for today on our desk chair "You like the book?"
"Yeah, you made a very good suggestion" The book I had given her was one called Left to be Alone which was a story about a kid who had been betrayed by her family, friends and everyone close to him.
The only one who didn't see him any differently was his sister, but because of everything that had happened, he came to hate people but as the story progressed, it shows how people change because of others actions.
"I'm glad that it's to your liking" I glanced over at the time and proceeded to grab a towel and some clean clothes "I'm going to take a bath really quick"
"But didn't you say that you didn't want either?!"
"Yeah, I did"
"You're so mean~!"
I beamed her a smile and quickly made my way over to shower ad change into some clean clothes. As I did so, I stared at the ceiling for a bit and sighed to myself "I can't believe that I'm actually doing this... I do hope that she accepts"
The first one to have heard about me asking Yukari about marrying me was of course, my mother, when she heard what I was going to do, she insisted that I give her the ring my grandma left for us.
I didn't want to do it since I knew it was something special for her, but even then, she insisted that I would do so. When she told me about it, she told me to visit her with Yukari so that she could talk to her.
When we did visit my mother, the both of them got along even better then I had anticipated and before I knew it, the both of them had become the best of friends.
Ever since then, my mom would ask me about Yukari and how she was doing. And now... I was going to ask her to marry me, the one thing I never hoped of doing.
After some more time, I finished taking my shower, changed into my clothes and made my way out back towards the bedroom. Thankfully, Yumiko decided to expand the apartment even more and because of that, I was finally able to have a designated room for a bedroom.
Even though it was small, it was better then nothing. Upon arriving there, I glanced over at Yukari and noticed that she had finished changing into her own outing clothes.
"I'm ready whenever you are, Kiyota"
"We still have some time before actually having to leave"
"Ok, I'll continue reading then"
"That's fine" I beamed her a smile and made my way over to my desk to grab the ring I had hidden away in case she ever found it. I stuffed the small box into my pocket and made my way over to my chair to relax.
"How was work?"
"It was alright... It was a bit tougher today, but apart from that, it was fine"
"I'm glad that you're doing fine... But I don't like the fact that it's in the same place where her daughter works..."
"Are you perhaps jealous?"
"W-Why would I be jealous?!"
"I'm just messing with you"
I let out a chuckle and simply noticed that she was pouting at my words "I guess she was worried if I ended up leaving her and dating Kuniko's daughter..."
When I was first introduced to her daughter, Takahara Rui, I was surprised to see that she was identical to her mother, but something about her teasing me whenever given the opportunity made me feel a bit weird.
But after getting to know her even more throughout the time that I was working there and getting to spend time with her as friends, I had come to learn that that was just her way of getting along with others.
Yukari on the other hand would sometimes glare at me whenever the three of us hung out and she would start pouting whenever she was teased by Rui, but apart from that, they all got along well with one another.
"You know that the one I love is you. I won't leave you"
"Yeah, I can promise you that"
"Thank you... That makes me feel a bit better"
"Glad to hear that"
As we waited for it to be time for us to head out, my phone started ringing and noticed that it was none other then Natsumi "Hello?"
"Hey there, how are you doing?"
"I'm doing alright, How are you doing on your trip?"
"It's beautiful~! Paris really is the best place to visit!"
"Glad to hear that. Make sure to bring us something from there"
"You know that I will~" "So, Are you doing it today?"
"Yeah... I am"
"I'm so happy for you. Promise me that we're celebrating once I get back, got it?"
"Yeah, we will"
"Ok~ Catch you later, the tour I'm taking is about to start~"
"Ok, see you later"
With those words, she hung up the phone and when she did so, I noticed that Yukari was still focused on the book on her hands "I'm glad that she didn't hear that..."
After some more time passed, it was finally time for us to start on heading out. Once we locked up the house, we started making our way throughout the street hand in hand.
I glanced over at her face and noticed that she was smiling all the while we headed on over to our destination "I'm glad that we get to go on this date~!"
"Yeah, same here" "You're really going to like the place I made a reservation in"
"I hope it isn't too pricey"
"Don't worry about the price. Remember that I got a pretty big bonus the other day. I used a bit of it to reserve a spot in a relatively pretty place"
"You really didn't have to do that"
"I know, but I wanted it to be special, that's all"
She stared into my eyes and smiled at me "Thank you for doing this, Kiyota"
After walking around for a bit more, we arrived at the restaurant which wasn't high end, but it was relatively popular in the city that we were in.
Once we were led to our tables, I glanced around and couldn't help but notice that there were quite a few couples dining.
"You didn't compliment my clothes"
"..." "I messed up" I glanced over at her and stared at her for a bit. She wore a light pink one piece dress with a matching purse. She wore little make-up on which only made it so that her beauty would shine more.
"Y-You look pretty"
"Really~? I'm glad that I can make you blush~"
She lightly poked my cheek with a grin on her face "You really like to tease me..."
"Of course, you are my boyfriend"
I let out a sigh and once we were ready to order, we called over the waiter and placed our order. After doing so, I noticed that she was simply staring into my eyes "Do I have something on my face?"
"No... I was just remembering how you wouldn't accept me to be your girlfriend unless we solved my problem"
"Well... I at least wanted to do everything I could for you... It didn't sit right with me saying yes just like that"
"I guess you have a point there"
She beamed me a smile and once our food had been brought to us, we gave thanks and proceeded to eat without a care in the world. As we did so, we continued talking and messing around with one another, but in the back of my mind, the idea of asking her to marry me lingered in the back of my mind.
After around an hour of just sitting there talking and eating, I paid the bill and thus we started heading to our next destination, the movie theater to watch a movie that Yukari had been wanting to see for some time.
She wrapped her arm around mine and the both of us made our way towards the movie theater. Upon arriving there, I bought the tickets and we headed on over towards our screening.
Once we handed over our tickets, we entered the screening and proceeded to take a seat. As we waited for the movie to start, she leaned her head on my shoulder and smiled all the while.
As the movie started, the both of us stayed in complete silence and from time to time we spoke about what was happening and what not, but even then, neither of us ever decided to let go of each others' hand.
"I really do love you, Yukari"
After another two hours passed, it was finally time for the moment of truth. The movie finished and we made our way out onto the night street.
"Where to next, Kiyota?"
"There's actually something I want to show you. It's pretty far away, but I know that you'll like it"
"Let's go then"
She beamed me a smile and thus the both of us grabbed the train and started heading off towards our destination which was the hilltop that overlooked the city.
The ride was around thirty minutes away, but even then, the sight that we could see was more then worth it.
When we arrived at our stop, I followed the road that Yumiko had showed me the first time we had come by and after around ten more minutes of walking, we arrived at the hilltop.
Luckily there weren't any people and the stars were shining even brighter then ever before.
"I'm glad that you like it"
She stared at the beautiful night sky with a smile on her face. That same smile was the one that had made me fall even more in love with her and the sole thing that made it that much better was the fact that I would see it every single day at least once.
"I need to do it. I want to do it... I want to be with her forever if possible"
She looked over at me with that same smile. The smile that once was a fake smile, one that she wore to make no one notice the hidden feelings she was having was no longer there.
I went down to one knee, took the box with the ring out from my pocket and presented it to her "W-Would you marry me?"
A moment of silence fell between us. I waited for a few more seconds, but no response came through. I looked up at her and then noticed that she was crying.
She looked me dead in the eyes and before I could ask again, she beamed me a smile and threw herself towards me "I accept!" "I'll marry you~!"
"Yeah *sniff* I will~!"
I slowly got up into a sitting position, grabbed her hand gently and proceeded to slip the ring into her ring finger. Upon seeing it there, I couldn't believe it myself.
"This is surreal to me..."
"Y-Yeah..." She wiped away the remnant tears and smiled at me "It really is"
That night, we stayed there overlooking the city hand in hand and simply took in it's beautiful scenery.
Once we were ready to start on heading on back home, we left the hilltop and made our way back towards our house. After around an hour or so of being on the train and walking, we arrived at our apartment complex.
Just when I thought things were going to end at that, I noticed that Yumiko, Kuniko and Rui were standing there, most likely waiting for the both of us.
"So, did you get rejected or what, Kiyota?!"
"If you did, my daughter can become your wife~"
"I'm just joking, Yukari dear"
This was the life I wanted. I wanted neighbors with who I could speak to without having to be too respectful. People I could call my friends and my new family.
"We're back, everyone"
Yukari lifted our hands where she had her ring on and cheers started resounding throughout the silent night.
That night, we all celebrated Yukari and my engagement by eating and drinking the entire night. Once the whole party had ended, we said our goodbyes to everyone and the both of us made our way back home.
We quickly changed into our nightwear and as we were heading to bed, I couldn't help but notice that she still had the ring on her hand "Won't it bother you while you sleep?"
"I doubt it will... Besides, I want to know for sure that this isn't a dream"
She lightly grasped my hand and smiled at me "Good night, dear"
Hearing her say that word made my heart skip a beat, but even then, I knew it was something I would be hearing many more times in the future.
As I started drifting off to sleep, I couldn't help but remember the expression she had upon seeing me on one knee on that hilltop. That alone was more then enough to make me see that I did in fact love her.
I lightly caressed her hair and smiled at her "I love you... Yukari"
"I'll make you the happiest girl. I'll be the best husband I can be for you and I wish to spend the rest of my years living with you. Throughout the toughest times"
"I won't let you suffer no more... Not on my watch"
And thus... The Struggles from the Girl Next Door were no more... Now, it was only a life full of happiness for that girl who would become the best wife a man could hope for.