Chapter 30:

Second Chances

Second Chances

“Shin.”Bookmark here

I rolled over to my right.Bookmark here

“Shin. Wake up.”Bookmark here

I pulled my blanket up and covered myself with it, like a caterpillar.Bookmark here

“Shin, we’re going to be late!”Bookmark here

My mother then pulled the blanket away from me, opened the curtains to let the light shine into my room. I hissed at the sun.Bookmark here

“Come on, get up!”Bookmark here

I curled myself in a position like a baby.Bookmark here

My mom lightly slapped my face, “We are visiting Chiaki’s family today, still remember? Get up!”Bookmark here

She pulled the blanket off me. “It’s the first day of the year.”Bookmark here

I stretched my body as I sat myself up, “It’s the first day of the year.”Bookmark here

“Wear some better clothes than your usual ones,” she said. “We have to make a good impression.”Bookmark here

“Who dares to say my mom is not beautiful enough already?” I said, half-awake.Bookmark here

She slapped my right arm, “Don’t tease your mom. Get down there in 5 minutes. Your dad had already started the car.”Bookmark here

“Roger,” I made a military salute to her.Bookmark here

She then left my room and closed the door behind her.Bookmark here

I grabbed my phone and texted Hideki. “Where are you now?”Bookmark here

Then I started to dress myself, only to find my gifts were still in the corner of my room. Right, I didn’t get a chance to give them out yet. And as I put on my somewhat decent jacket, Hideki texted me back.Bookmark here

“In my parent’s house. Why?”
“Missed me already?”Bookmark here

“I’ve got a gift for you, but judging from your reaction…”Bookmark here

“Shin, shin. Listen, I just got a little grumpy this early in the morning.”
“My little brother and sister kept pestering me to read them stories while I was watching TV.”
“You are the best, you know that, right?”Bookmark here

“Hmm… maybe I can give you the day after tomorrow?”Bookmark here

“Eh… oh, oh, I just wanted to ask you two about this.”
“I talked with Yui a bit when I walked her to the train station, and she asked me to ask you two, whether or not to come to her hometown.”
“The farm, you know.”
“Fresh air, just for the next three days.”Bookmark here

“Cows’ milk?”Bookmark here

“Shut up.”Bookmark here

“Fine, I’ll ask Chiaki about it, and reply to you later.”Bookmark here

“Ok. Happy New Year.”Bookmark here

I smiled, “Happy New Year.”Bookmark here

“Shin!” my mother called me from downstairs.Bookmark here

“I’m coming!” I said.Bookmark here

I put on the red scarf, and rested my eyes on my watch for a few seconds before deciding not to wear it.Bookmark here

“Time to move on,” I said to myself.Bookmark here

I grabbed Chiaki’s gift, a pressure cooker and two umbrellas and went downstairs.Bookmark here

“Happy New Year,” I said to my mother and father while handing them their respective gifts.Bookmark here

“Thank you,” my mom said but she took it and placed it on top of our shoe shelf. “We are going to be late. It’s 8:05 AM already.”Bookmark here

“Thank you, Shin,” my father smiled at me. “This katana design is intriguing.”Bookmark here

I smiled back. “Glad you like it, dad.”Bookmark here

“Alright you two grown men, stop grinning at each other,” my mother pushed us to the car, which I had already heard its engine started 30 minutes ago. “Time to go.”Bookmark here

My father chuckled, “Your mom was so excited she couldn’t get some proper sleep last night.”Bookmark here

I smiled, “Thanks mom.”Bookmark here

“Let’s go, let’s go,” she said.Bookmark here

Then, we drove to Chiaki’s house which was only five minutes away by car. But I figured they just wanted to give a better impression to her parents. Plus, the back of the car was stuffed with all sorts of things.Bookmark here

My mother handed me a banquet of flowers in the car, “Your father picked these up from the floral shop this morning. They are still fresh, so hold them with care.”Bookmark here

I pulled down a bit of the wrappers on the flower. White lilies. Odd choice.Bookmark here

“We heard they like white lilies,” my mother said. “Chiaki’s dad proposed to her mom using this flower. Her dad said that meeting her mom felt like he was reborn.”Bookmark here

“White lilies symbolize purity and rebirth,” my father said.Bookmark here

Purity… and rebirth. Ironic.Bookmark here

It didn’t take too long for us to arrive at Chiaki’s house.Bookmark here

We hopped down the cars, and taking the gifts in their hands, my father reached for the bell.Bookmark here

Ding dongBookmark here

“Coming!” We heard a noise from the inside of the house.Bookmark here

A few seconds later, Chiaki’s dad opened the door, with Chiaki and her mom behind him. I peeked to look at her, she has a sweater on with a few cute white lilies on the pocket area, with a blue jean.Bookmark here

I held the banquet of white lilies with one hand, and her gift with the other.Bookmark here

“Happy New Year. Thank you for having us over,” we said.Bookmark here

“Happy New Year. Welcome in,” Chiaki’s dad said.Bookmark here

My mother and father went in first, and I attempted to give the banquet to Chiaki’s mom. But she slightly pushed it back, “I had already received it once,” she said as she passed a look at Chiaki.Bookmark here

“Mom!” Chiaki protested.Bookmark here

“Fine, fine. I’ll leave you two youngsters alone,” she then went inside the house.Bookmark here

Chiaki and I stood there in silence.Bookmark here

“Happy New Year,” I said, as I handed her the white lilies. “Thank you for always being there for me.”Bookmark here

She looked at me in surprise as she received them with both her hands.Bookmark here

I raised my gifts that I put inside a hanging box. “This, for you too.”Bookmark here

“What is it?” she asked.Bookmark here

I took out a book from it. “The Twelve Olympians.”Bookmark here

She chuckled, “Thank you.”Bookmark here

“And,” I continued, taking out the necklace with a sunflower pendant. “A necklace. For you.”Bookmark here

“Can… can you wear it on me?” she said, hinting at her occupied hands.Bookmark here

“S—sure.”Bookmark here

I circled to her back and raised her short hair a little, as I wrapped the necklace around her neck, with a click.Bookmark here

She turned to me. “How does it look?”Bookmark here

Wow. The necklace matched her white t-shirt and the curvature around her neck perfectly.Bookmark here

“You look beautiful,” I said.Bookmark here

She blushed, but she kept her eyes on me. “Thank you.”Bookmark here

I blushed, seeing her reaction.Bookmark here

I cleared my throat, “This can also be opened, the sunflower. It’s a pendant. You can put pictures of things you like in it.”Bookmark here

“Like, you?”Bookmark here

My face immediately reddened.Bookmark here

She smiled, “You’re cute when you blush too, Shin.”Bookmark here

“Shut up—”Bookmark here

She leaned closer to me and kissed me on my cheek. “Thank you. Happy New Year. I hope we can have a memorable year ahead.”Bookmark here

I kissed her cheek. “I will do my best to make sure that happens, Chiaki.”Bookmark here

Her face became red, and she passed by me, “I—I’m going in first.”Bookmark here

I held her hand back.Bookmark here

She looked at me, with the banquet of lilies on her other hand, almost looking like she’s holding a baby.Bookmark here

I chuckled.Bookmark here

“What?” she asked.Bookmark here

“Let’s go in together,” I said.Bookmark here

A soft breeze then blew past me, when I heard a familiar, nostalgic whistling sound.Bookmark here

A line of tears suddenly slid down from my right eye, but I wiped it away.Bookmark here

Snow began to fall, drop by drop, dancing down from the blue sky.Bookmark here

I felt an odd poignant feeling, as I whispered, “Take care.”Bookmark here

Chiaki intertwined her fingers with mine.Bookmark here

I paused at her.Bookmark here

“Are we going?” she asked.Bookmark here

Her hand is so warm.Bookmark here

So, overwhelming.Bookmark here

I took my final breath, and smiled at her.Bookmark here

“Let’s go.”Bookmark here

Bookmark here

To our Second Chances.
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