Chapter 43:

Ch.16 Mari-san (2/2)

Sleeping Princess


I have to be careful...understand everything first before I make that leap and decide what I'll do with these feelings tormenting within me. I'm...certainly not ready for that right now just as Taylor-sensei told me.Bookmark here

As I was engulfed in my own thoughts...She then took out a small box from her coat jacket. It was bright purple and threw me off guard for a moment. Mari-san then stood up and walked over to me. Her model figured towered over me now.Bookmark here

"Huh?"Bookmark here

"Thank you, Madoka...for hearing me out. I wanted to give this to you for your birthday...but seeing Hana get something today left a bad taste in my mouth."Bookmark here

I adjusted myself to face her properly now. As I gazed up at her she opened the box...revealing a wonderful necklace...Bookmark here

"That's..."Bookmark here

She giggled...honestly.Bookmark here

"You said you couldn't afford it last week so I skimmed off the top of my budget and got it for you."Bookmark here

It was none other than that Shiva brand necklace...the one that fit with all kinds of styles. The one that I really wanted...but couldn't afford. Mari-san...remembered? Mari-san remembered that brief detail from the chat we had a week ago on Cultural Day.Bookmark here

She took it out, it shined with a plum color that caused my heart to swoon. With a click of the back, she skillfully wrapped it around my neck. How soothing her touch was as she finally stood back. Mari-san took out her phone's mirror and in it...was Nakagawa Madoka. But it wasn't just the dolled-up version that came out today with Mari-san...no, she was...perfect now. That's when my eyes began to water...Bookmark here

"Oh...Mari-san."Bookmark here

My feelings wanted to pour out...I wanted to confess....all these balled-up emotions in me now. I was so happy that...this was the gift I received from Mari-san. I wanted to cry now...and not out of joy or happiness...but out of sadness. It was true...Bookmark here

I really am in love with Mari-san...Bookmark here

These feelings couldn't be denied any longer...I love her air of mystery...her protective behavior, her kindness...gentleness...how attractive she is...and now...how she is when she's honest and vulnerable. It didn't matter that she was a woman anymore...or it never had, had it?Bookmark here

But this...would be the extent of where my feelings can go right now....or may ever be.Bookmark here

"Do you like it, Madoka-san?"Bookmark here

"I-I love..."Bookmark here

I mumbled....in a panic, facing away from her. But then I did my best to speak up, to drown out those strange words that I hoped she didn't hear...Bookmark here

"I love it....so much, Mari-san."Bookmark here

"...Hehe, I'm glad."Bookmark here

That's when she brought up her hand and looked towards the front. The waitress who kindly waited at the door approached and made her way over.Bookmark here

"Ma'am...it's my stepdaughter's birthday so we're going to order a bunch of food."Bookmark here

Mari-san teased while sitting back in her seat across from me.Bookmark here

"So Madoka-san, order whatever you want."Bookmark here

The menu stared at me stubbornly...I didn't know what to do. What to say...what I wanted...No...of course I knew what I wanted...and it wasn't food...So, I gazed up to her...causing my heart to chip slightly.Bookmark here

"Ah...what do you suggest Mari-san?"Bookmark here

She smirked that devilish smile of hers that I found charming now.Bookmark here

"Let's get a helping of naporitan. It's my favorite here."Bookmark here

Mari-san took charge and ordered the rest of the meals. With that charismatic smile of hers, she led the path to our dinner. Once the food finally came she lifted her utensil in front of me. The strains of noodles dangling out.Bookmark here

"Huh?"Bookmark here

I questioned as she slowly approached my mouth. That's when the flavors of ketchup keenly crafted melted into my mouth. It was warm, blissful...calming...so delicious that I didn't even taste it. Mari-san...was feeding me.Bookmark here

"Good, isn't it?"Bookmark here

Why do the Koda's...have such a bad habit of feeding others?Bookmark here

"It's...good...it's so good."Bookmark here

My chest ached so...badly. The pain was like a hammer pounding on my chest. It was so unbearable that all I could do was...smile.Bookmark here

"It's delicious, Mari-san!"Bookmark here

This was unfair...Mari-san...is so unfair. Here all I want to do is cry and she's showering me with kindness. Rapturing me in love...making my heart blaze with glee to the point that I felt sick.Bookmark here

But this was the test I set out on. To understand my feelings. Right now...I can't say anything. I still have too much to consider before I confess to her. So much regarding my feelings, the trauma that made me stick by her...what might have happened between us that even ...Mari-san might not want to explore right now...Bookmark here

Like Taylor-sensei said...Bookmark here

...I have time to consider all of this before I confess what I learned today...Bookmark here

There is no doubt I, Nakagawa Madoka, am in love with Koda Mari...Bookmark here

But who will I be willing to hurt...to tell her that?Bookmark here

With our meal finished and stomachs full, we made our way out of the restaurant. The crowds seem to have died down making the mall feel less like an ocean of people and more like a casual stream. My finger couldn't stop touching that plum gem around my neck now. It was an accessory that I wanted before I even found the outfit I wore at the Cultural Festival. I wondered...how much did this cost Mari-san? She went out of her way to find it...and buy it to...make me happy.Bookmark here

"Hehe..."Bookmark here

I giggled still wrapping it around my thin fingers. It wasn't just an accessory...this was the first gift I received from Mari-san after my coma. This...was something I plan to cherish for a long time. Even if my feelings don't come to fruition...there's no doubt that I will keep this day in my memory. The day when Mari-san laid down her heart to me...and gave me the best gift ever.Bookmark here

"All ready to head home, Madoka-san?"Bookmark here

"Oh...yeah."Bookmark here

I want...to do something similar for her though. But how? All morning we've been running around doing errands. But there wasn't anything I could do to help Mari-san out. All I did was watch her work...invade her space and tower around her as she did all the heavy lifting. I...I want to show my appreciation to Mari-san...Bookmark here

As we walked away I turned back to the restaurant. The Red Roses as it was called. The food was delicious and I would love to stop by here again one day. That's when a sign that broke the mood of the establishment caught my eye again...Bookmark here

It was the "Hiring Now" sign that allured me. Now that I thought about it...I wasn't doing basketball anymore. That part of my life was behind me...no...not just that...a lot of my past life was behind me now, wasn't it? Maybe I should try...just a little...to start moving forward. As in our relationship here...I want to move forward and be able to one day not look back at this time as something terrible where all my emotions were rampaging about but as a time that I began to change.Bookmark here

"Here you go, ma'am!"Bookmark here

Mari-san joked as she opened my passenger door for me again. Not sure if she was just teasing me by this point but I curtsied like a proper English noble and stepped inside.Bookmark here

With a big sigh, Mari-san concluded.Bookmark here

"All done. Hehe..."Bookmark here

She smiled like a child ready to play with her toys.Bookmark here

"Thanks for taking me with you, Mari-san."Bookmark here

"Hm? No, thank you for coming along."Bookmark here

With that, she started the engine as we rolled our way home. We didn't talk much during the drive. Not as though I was shy or afraid of what I might say...no...it wasn't anything that simple.Bookmark here

Happy...Bookmark here

Sad...Bookmark here

Terrified...Bookmark here

All kinds of powerful emotions knowing how I felt were finalized in my chest. Despite all of that...there is one thing I want to do...I wanted to get Mari-san a real present soon. Not like the lemon scent at the arcade before...No, I want to get her a gift that she'd treasure as much as I'll treasure this here...Bookmark here

"We're back!"Bookmark here

Mari-san cried out as we entered our home.Bookmark here

"Welcome back!"Bookmark here

Hana-san cried out. On the screen was another one of her animes. This one had a man with a green head brutally killing a bunch of people. Even though Hana-chan was so innocent her taste doesn't mirror her looks.Bookmark here

"Okay girls, mom's going to pass out on the couch so..."Bookmark here

Mari-san cried as her feet dragged to the living room. She plopped down on the sofa and kicked off her heels. One ruggedly hit the wall and lazily sat at the foot of the door. Now I know why things are always lost in this house. It's because they don't get undressed properly. But even if that irritated me slightly...I knew how hard she worked today and all the emotions that went through her.Bookmark here

...I would love to caress her dark hair and whisper..."you did a good job," in her ear.Bookmark here

"...Hana-chan your game is over here."Bookmark here

"Huh?!"Bookmark here

Hana leaped up and rushed over to me! Before she could take it from me I reached out and pulled her cheeks!Bookmark here

"Nnnngnggggngngng"Bookmark here

She cried flipping about like a fish out of waterBookmark here

"Next time you put me on a mommy training course you give me a heads up, sis!"Bookmark here

"Eeehhh?! What do you mean."Bookmark here

I let go as she rubbed her cheeks now in frustration it would seem. She crossed her arms and put her nose up.Bookmark here

"I've been planning the mommy training course all day! It's not ready yet but...it's getting there..."Bookmark here

"You've been planning it?"Bookmark here

I questioned then I whispered in her ear.Bookmark here

"Wasn't it you that told Mari-san that I wanted to join her on her errands?"Bookmark here

Hana looked at me like I was senile...and she might have been right because I was starting to doubt myself too.Bookmark here

"Mari! You're setting a bad example for Hana! Go get undressed before you laze about on the couch!"Bookmark here

"Nnngng...but Ayumi...my feet hurt."Bookmark here

That's when mom entered in, arms crossed. With her finger, she nudged Mari-san's sides causing her to tense up. However, she only sank further into the couch...Bookmark here

But then mom did something else...She leaned down and pet her soft hair...then she connected her warm lips to Mari-san's.Bookmark here

It wasn't a short kiss either. Mom on her hands and knees met Mari-san's lips. She tenderly melted with Mari-san. She fed her lover all her passion, like nurturing one another with blissful love. A sense of innocence wrapped around my mom as she gently stroked that black hair...forbidden to me. After what felt like hours...but likely only seconds...mom leaned away revealing Mari-san fast asleep. As if her kiss had the ability to put the one she loved into a blissful coma. They were...perfect together.Bookmark here

"You did a good job, Mari..."Bookmark here

Mom spoke...the words I wanted to moments ago. As if she dug in my heart and scraped them from me...replacing them with her tender voice instead.Bookmark here

"Hana, could you bring the blanket out here for your mom?"Bookmark here

Hana-chan jumped up and raced into their room now without hesitation.Bookmark here

"O-Okay mom!"Bookmark here

There they sat together...happily on the sofa. Bookmark here

"..."Bookmark here

I wordlessly watched as mom carelessly snuggled up to her lover. She removed her stockings and wrapped the blanket around both of them. It was time for them to spend a moment together...and nobody had the right to shatter that love...Bookmark here

"Hm...Madoka!"Bookmark here

"Y-Yes mom?"Bookmark here

"Thanks for helping out Mari today for me."Bookmark here

My stomach sank...It was...mom who set this up, wasn't it? She called Mari-san...and that prompted Mari-san to call me...Does that mean...Mari-san only did this...because mom asked?Bookmark here

No, no I won't diminish all the effort Mari-san put in today...to make me happy.Bookmark here

"S-Sure thing...mom."Bookmark here

She smiled brightly at me. It hurt more than any pain I could imagine. Why...wasn't I not dead yet? Isn't it possible to die of a broken heart?Bookmark here

"I hope everything worked out between the two of you."Bookmark here

I abused the bottom of my lip...how dare I...encroach on this? What kind of....daughter am I?Bookmark here

"Oh, do you want to watch a movie with me, Madoka? Since Mari is fast asleep...I'm not going anywhere for a while."Bookmark here

"Ah...no I...I have homework to finish, mom."Bookmark here

I lied.Bookmark here

This...was the perfect moment for the two of them...it shouldn't be tarnished by my impure feelings. So, I raced up to my room and shut the door gently. I searched deep in my heart and made sure that I'd stay strong. Even if I have these feelings for Mari-san...she loves my mom and mom loves her. I...have no right to evade in their perfect relationship.Bookmark here

"...Nnngg..."Bookmark here

I opened my mouth and cried...silently. Short coughs escaped....how I wanted to scream from the top of my lungs as these hiccups assaulted my body. My stomach hurt now...but I held my head up. I can't allow this to overtake me again. I have to push forward and discover what I need to. I...can't break down and cry.Bookmark here

"I'll...find time to chat with mom about my trauma soon..."Bookmark here

Yes, that should be my next goal. To find out who my mom truly became while I was asleep. When did she fall in love with Mari-san? What did my trauma have to do with how she's acting now? Maybe...she's hurting too and I just don't know it yet? But she won't tell me because I'm still her baby girl. I...have to show her that I'm changing, don't I?Bookmark here

"Mom..."Bookmark here

The guilt crept in me as I walked over to my computer...Bookmark here

That's when I typed in that delicious restaurant's name...Bookmark here

The Red Roses...Bookmark here

"Hiring?"Bookmark here

The only way mom will trust me with the truth is when she doesn't see me as her little girl any longer. So, it was time for me to take the next step in my goal to mature. I want to become more independent...show that I'm not the girl before my coma who relied only on her...Lucky for me my school doesn't have any regulations regarding students having a part-time job. No, it's actually encouraged as long as we keep our grades up.Bookmark here

"I want to talk with Taylor-sensei more too..."Bookmark here

I want to explore these feelings deeper with sensei as well. Tell her all the feelings that are bottling within me. So, I searched the mirror and a mature, business version of myself stood back. This...is who I wanted to become. But in order to do that...Bookmark here

...I will become stronger.Bookmark here

Because right now...I'm showing weakness...Bookmark here

My heart is being ripped apart thinking about Mom and Mari-san...Bookmark here

And there's nothing I can do about it but suffer in silence.Bookmark here

Bookmarked
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