Chapter 8:


Are You Happy?

*Disclaimer and TW: for readers who have continued to read up till this chapter, please take not that the content relating to Makaira’s apparent eating disorder will continue to progress and you are asked to keep in mind that people’s experiences with eating disorders vary. The thoughts, characteristics, and behaviours which Makaira have are examples of what some people may have, or in fact may not have at all. Once again, if you feel that may be triggered by such content, please do not proceed. Otherwise, please enjoy this story, and do not be afraid to reach out to the people who you think may be having trouble with similar problems as Makaira!

Since the night Yuuto and Makaira baked together for the first time, they’ve been baking for the café every weekend and Makaira is trying new cakes and pastries every so often. On some days, she is reluctant about eating the desserts Hasegawa-san offers her, but Yuuto would join in on eating with her and that made her feel more comfortable because she was enjoying a meal with a friend rather than just alone.

On a day off from college, Yuuto and Makaira decide to meet up and walk around Tokyo together. At 11 am on the dot, Makaira show up in a violet floral dress. As opposed to her usual neutral or black and white coloured clothes, this is quite out of her comfort zone, but Hasegawa-san had gifted her the dress a week ago, so she decided to try it on. Needless to say, Yuuto was absolutely heartstruck upon seeing her.

Makaira slowly walks towards Yuuto but keeps her eyes on her white sneakers shyly.

“You– Um, you look great today.” Yuuto blurts out, blushing and looking away, then adding, “I mean, not that you don’t always look great but, the dress looks great on you. It suits you. You look good in purple. I’ll just shut up.” he says, pursing his lips.

Makaira giggles, “Thank you. You look neat.”

Neat? Really? What does that even mean?

An awkward silence washes over the two. They seem to have gotten much closer since their conversation at the theme park.

“Thanks.” Yuuto smiles with a flush of red on his face, “Shall we go to our first stop then?”

The two end up walking in the busy streets of Tokyo. Yuuto buys some flowers for his mom and Makaira buys some tops with a bit more colour than she’d usually go for. After that, they get to an aquarium and enjoy a dolphin show while having some ice cream.

Eventually, the sun begins to set and they get back to the café.

“Are you tired?” Yuuto asks.

Makaira thinks for a bit and answers, “Not in particularly. Why? Are you?”

“Oh, certainly not. I have a place I want to show you. I Just wanted to make sure you were up for it.”

Makaira shrugs, “Sure. Where is it?”

“It’s kind of hard to describe. Let me just give these flowers to my mom.” Yuuto says, “Do you want to leave your shopping here and get them tomorrow or something?”

“That would be great.” Makaira hands her bags to Yuuto.

After a while, Yuuto returns and they head to the place Yuuto was talking about.

“I live just down the road from here, actually.” Makaira points out as they walk along the familiar route she runs in every morning.

“Oh, really? We’re almost there.”

They get to a narrow pathway between two buildings and Makaira recognizes it instantly.

“I actually found this place when I first moved in. But I figured it must be someone’s property and I kind of just fled.”

Yuuto laughs, “How did you figure? It’s open, so doesn’t it look public?”

“Well, there was this hot cup of coffee when I came here so I was sure there was someone else and I thought I was on someone’s private property. Are we about to be trespassing?”

Yuuto continues laughing. He looks at Makaira’s confused look and continues laughing more. Absolute hysterical laughing.

“What’s so funny?! This isn’t a joke! We could get in trouble, Hasegawa-kun.”

“Don’t worry, Koyanagi-chan.” Yuuto breathes out, attempting to control his laughter, “This is my garden.”

Makaira raises her eyebrows at Yuuto to see if he was serious or not. Even though he was uncontrollably laughing, he didn’t seem like he was joking.

“Do you take care of the gardening here?”

Yuuto nods, “Just a side hobby of mine. I don’t really mind visitors, but there aren’t many anyway — the location’s looks a little suspicious. And that cup of coffee you saw would’ve been mine. I guess we must've missed each other that morning.”

“Wow.” Makaira says, astounded, “Just wow. So we met at your café, and now you’ve brought me to the garden where we could have met each other.”

“Must be fate.” Yuuto smiles. “Come on, let’s head in.”

They walk down the path to the archway and Yuuto asks Makaira to stand and wait for a while. In a few seconds, the entire garden lights up.

Makaira’s eyes reflect the lights igniting the garden and looks around, still fascinated by how beautiful and well-kept the entire place is like the first time she came.

“I put up these lights a few days ago. This place was missing some lighting at night. What do you think?”

“It’s beautiful. It’s absolutely beautiful. Does your mom help you with the gardening?”

“My mom actually doesn’t know about this place. I’m planning to surprise her once the daffodils grow — they’re her favourite. You’re the first person I’ve brought here and the first person that I know of who’s been here.”

“I’m honoured. And I’m sure your mom would love this place and the daffodils once they grow.” Makaira smiles at Yuuto.

Yuuto feels his heartbeat quicken at the sight of Makaira in her dress under the somewhat romantic lighting. He looks away to hide his blush and leads her to the white gazebo at the middle of the garden.

They sit down and Yuuto carries up a basket covered with a cloth.

“So, I actually prepared this yesterday. I have a small greenhouse in the corner with a fridge, so don’t worry, nothing’s rotten.” he says as he flips open to reveal some fruit and croissants.

Makaira chuckles a little and gasps softly at how nicely arranged the basket is.

“Everything is so beautiful here.” she says, her heartbeats quickening because of how thoughtful and detailed Yuuto is.

“I’m glad you think so.” he says, now arranging the croissants on their plates and putting some fruit to serve.

After a while, they move to the grass and are watching the stars.

“There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you.” Yuuto says, looking at Makaira.

Makaira meets his eyes and waits for him to continue.

He takes a deep breath and says, “I like you.”

Both their faces flush red, their hearts racing in synchronization. But this time, neither of them look away.

“Whenever I look at you, my heartbeat quickens and I feel myself blush profusely. You’ve been beautiful to me from the start and the more I learnt about you, the more attracted I was to you. Each time you opened up more to me, I felt my care for you grow more and more. You know what… I think I’m in love with you, Koyanagi-chan.”