Chapter 51:

Ch.18 Moving Forwards (2/5)

Sleeping Princess

After our dinner was finished we cleaned up and I made my way to my room. The first order of business was to make sure I was prepared for tomorrow. I won’t have time to change into anything fancy so wearing my school uniform will have to do.Bookmark here

With a sigh, I thought back to dinner…Bookmark here

“Hehe…she defended me?”Bookmark here

I was chuckling like a fool, I’m sure of it. It warmed my chest…to see Mari-san as supportive of me as I could have ever imagined. But…why? Maybe it’s because at my age she had to make tough decisions…grow as an individual faster than most. Could this be Mari-san doing her best to help me make the right choices?Bookmark here

“Mari-san…”Bookmark here

I echoed her name as I touched my necklace. I usually only took it off now when I went to bed. It certainly gave me solace in its own way.Bookmark here

“Madoka-san?”Bookmark here

A knock on my door caused me to tense up. It was no one other than that black-haired knight that gallantly came to my rescue at the dinner table.Bookmark here

“O-oh it’s open!”Bookmark here

I cried out. Now that I looked around…has Mari-san ever been in my room? I can’t remember if she had or not. This…made my heart collide with my chest at an unnatural rate. The lobes of my ears were tingling to the point that I couldn’t even understand it anymore. That’s when the door opened, causing hot air to escape my mouth. It was just the normal Mari-san I’ve known for these past few months but her being here…in my room made for a new sensation all together for some reason.Bookmark here

“Ah…”Bookmark here

I bobbed my mouth open as if waiting for her to hook me in like a fish.Bookmark here

“Are you ready for a few mock questions?”Bookmark here

“A-Ah…yes!”Bookmark here

She approached and looked around. With a slight giggle and a slant of her eyes, she turned back to me.Bookmark here

“I never noticed how…cute your world is.”Bookmark here

My arms raised in front of my chest. I could feel my legs wanting to give out.Bookmark here

“Sh-Shut up, Mari-san!”Bookmark here

Everyone always picked on me for liking idols and having cute things! I believe every girl, regardless of age, should have the right to have cute things in their room. Heck, even guys should if they like it! Cuteness makes the world go around and I was sick and tired of people making others feel insecure about their love for it!Bookmark here

“I’m only joking, Madoka-san.”Bookmark here

“Mmmnggg.”Bookmark here

I moaned.Bookmark here

“You can have a seat anywhere you like, Mari-san.”Bookmark here

I suggested as I sat on the edge of my bed. And to my surprise, she did the same…right next to me. Not close enough for our shoulders to touch but still abnormally close.Bookmark here

“Ah…”Bookmark here

“Oh, is here a bad place?”Bookmark here

She tilted that cute head of hers and her dark locks wrapped around her slender neck. With a blink or two of her eyes, she questioned while pursing out those cute lips…there I go with lips again….Bookmark here

“N-No, it’s fine.”Bookmark here

I said that but the only thing I could think of is…Mari-san is in my bed. The woman I love…is in my bed. And there might even be a chance that she…still has feelings for me too. No, I need to stop this. We’re on a good relationship level. I still don’t know the extend of our feelings for the past. If I end up getting caught up in things I could…easily ruin all this hard work so far.Bookmark here

“Are you going to put on a bit of makeup tomorrow, Madoka-san?”Bookmark here

“Huh?”Bookmark here

“Well, if you do you shouldn’t go overboard with blush or eye shadow. Keep it minimal…I mean you’re almost seventeen so you naturally shine already.”Bookmark here

I didn’t understand why she was bringing this up…but my mind went right to her compliment like a fish on a hook. She could say the dumbest thing in the world right now and I’d find a way to associate it with praise from Mari-san, wouldn’t I?Bookmark here

“O-Okay, Mari-san.”Bookmark here

“Now let’s get started!”Bookmark here

She soldiered up immediately and looked me in the eye. Her beautiful gemstones sucked in my soul…Bookmark here

“Nakagawa Madoka, what makes you a good candidate for this job?”Bookmark here

“Huh?”Bookmark here

“Huh isn’t a good answer, Madoka-san.”Bookmark here

She wasn’t playing around…these questions weren’t coming from the joker Mari-san anymore. No, they were coming from the business version I met the other day. So, I shook my head and smacked my cheeks.Bookmark here

“Eh, you shouldn’t do that during your interview…”Bookmark here

She scorned, causing me to become a little flustered. Now that I think about it…I never did any mock interviews alone. I was so preoccupied with just keeping the interview that I forgot the major parts of it.Bookmark here

“Please ask the question again, Mari-san.”Bookmark here

With a light smile, she nodded.Bookmark here

“Madoka-san…the best thing you could do is relax and believe this job is for you. And if you don’t get it then there’s plenty more waiting for you. Confidence is what you need most.”Bookmark here

“…Okay Mari-san.”Bookmark here

“Now, let’s get going. I’ll answer any questions you have as we go on.”Bookmark here

“R-Right!”Bookmark here

After a total of around twenty or so mock questions, Mari-san went over the psychology behind them. Like dealing with irate customers and other coworkers, defusing situations and processes to go in that determines the way one would handle situations. There was a lot going into a job process that I wasn’t aware of. It makes me appreciate Mom and Mari-san all the more because of it.Bookmark here

“Alright, I think my Madoka-san is ready to be CEO!”Bookmark here

Mari-san cried with a fist in the air.Bookmark here

“CEO?!”Bookmark here

She giggled as she stood up.Bookmark here

“Just kidding. You did excellent on your final round. Even the question I threw in for a loop you managed to regain your composure and systematically give me a great answer.”Bookmark here

She tilted her head causing her crow hair to wash over her cheek.Bookmark here

“Amazing job, Madoka-san.”Bookmark here

“Mari-san…”Bookmark here

“Now it’s getting late. You should get to bed early.”Bookmark here

As she turned her back ready to leave my room my stomach began to drop. This time we had alone was going to end…and I was…so happy that she came to help me.Bookmark here

“M-Mari-san…”Bookmark here

“Huh?”Bookmark here

Before I knew it I, for the first time initiated…it. My arms found themselves around her stomach. I lied my head on her slender chest. I wonder what she thought? Why is this girl doing this? There’s no way I could tell her the raging feelings within me…begged for me to touch her. She wasn’t wearing that lemon scent today and it threw me off. No, she…seemed to have stolen Hana-chan’s. I recalled Hana-chan mentioning that Mari-san would steal her shampoos and that she wanted me to hide them from her. It…made me want to laugh.Bookmark here

“…Madoka-san? Is everything okay?”Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

I couldn’t say anything. I wanted this moment to continue for a while longer…why did she have to leave? Why did she continue to hide her true feelings from me? What happened that she…fell in love with Nakagawa Ayumi? As all these questions came to me I began tearing up.Bookmark here

“Oh…I’m just…ah…Thank you.”Bookmark here

“…Madoka-san. I’m always here to help you.”Bookmark here

Her words scared me. I couldn’t rely on her to guide me through these unpure feelings I have right now. No, I needed to only rely on Taylor-sensei because if I confessed to her the true reason why I’m holding her right now it’ll ruin the blissful family they created while I was gone…it will ruin everything I worked for now.Bookmark here

“…Thank you, again. It…makes me so happy to…have you.”Bookmark here

Why couldn’t I let all of these pinned-up emotions away? That’s when…she did something I wasn’t ready for. She separated my bangs…with her parted lips they caressed my forehead. The moist warmth on my skin felt like someone placed a warm towel there. It was soothing…calming…but my chest was pounding harshly. Mari-san, the woman I’ve fallen in love with is...kissing my forehead?Bookmark here

How I wanted to replace the location of her lips…Bookmark here

But no. That wasn’t right for me to dream of. She loves my mom and my mom loves her…Bookmark here

Bookmark here

I bit my lip now. Doing my best not to push her away I gently let go now. All the sweetness in me has washed away with regret and envy. Two horrid emotions that had no place in this home. This haven mom, Mari-san, and Hana-chan created as I was gone.Bookmark here

“Oh…sorry…”Bookmark here

Not only that…her kiss…her touch on my forehead…felt familiar. So familiar that it nearly took the soul right out of me.Bookmark here

“Oh, you did nothing wrong…It…”Bookmark here

Be…honest Madoka.Bookmark here

“It made me happy, Mari-san.”Bookmark here

She gave me a smile.Bookmark here

“I’m glad. Hana freaks out if I give her a peck on the forehead. Good to know I have one daughter that doesn’t mind.”Bookmark here

“…Yeah.”Bookmark here

One daughter. Is it true that all she sees me as now is a daughter? Could I have ruined my chance with her…when I forced myself to distance myself from her? But no, I had no chance…because she was already far away from me during my two-year coma, wasn’t she?Bookmark here

How I hated that sleep I was forced in now. It took everything from me…destroyed the very fabric of what I was working towards and forced me to begin anew.Bookmark here

“Get some rest. See you tomorrow, Madoka-san.”Bookmark here

“Oh…yeah. See you tomorrow.”Bookmark here

That’s when her figure vanished from the room. She was gone now…going back to the woman she loves. This caused my heart to rage as I lied in my bed. The night was cleaving in sharply as I rolled about the empty bed. What would it feel like to have Mari-san by me right now? Could I hold her for longer? That softness that was her body…the slenderness that is her essence….How horrible it is for me, her stepdaughter to be thinking about things like this.Bookmark here

I sighed deeply.Bookmark here

“Tomorrow I have to help Mae-chan look clubs. Then I’ll check in with Taylor-sensei…and finally, I’ll have my interview.”Bookmark here

I wasn’t worried about my interview at all. No, I was probably even overconfident about it because of Mari-san’s training. Tomorrow promised to be a hectic day and I was prepared for it. Even though my heart was stuck in the past, still trying to piece together its feeling for the woman who lived underneath my room…I had to move forward.Bookmark here

As I pulled up the sheets a hint of flowers captured my nose. I imagined it was the lingering scent of Mari-san as she sat on my bed. Her lips felt nice as they melted on my forehead. Everything about Mari-san was driving my body to become warm. There was no doubt about it…I am physically attracted to Mari-san too.Bookmark here

“I…need to calm down.”Bookmark here

I warned my raging body. It wasn’t right that I had these feelings in the first place. But to allow me to go beyond just feelings wasn’t who I was. I can admit now that I…like the touch of females. They are warm, soft, their voices are gentle and that makes my heart swoon.Bookmark here

“…I like girls, don’t I?”Bookmark here

It went from never feeling that way for a member of the same sex to liking Mari-san from an emotional standpoint. That matured to a more…physical nature. Now I lie in bed remembering her touch…I can honestly admit that…I love the feel of another woman, don’t I?Bookmark here

Maybe it was easier to accept knowing my mom feels this way for Mari-san. Because she was more open to that kind of thing than I was in the beginning I was able to accept it easier. If Mom was still with dad…I might have a different conflict in me but because she paved the way and showed me that it’s okay to love who you love…Bookmark here

“I…like girls…”Bookmark here

I whispered, admitting again to myself. As if a mountain of weight lifted from my shoulders...I finally decided to accept who I was made me feel so happy.Bookmark here

"I like how they feel. I love how soft their voices emotional they can be...even physically...Bookmark here

Now my face began to warm up as I confessed all these raging feelings within me.Bookmark here

"I don't know when it actually happened but...I like girls...a lot. Their soft faces, cute lips, shapely hips..."Bookmark here

I giggled imagining girls of all kinds...Short like Sophia-san and Hana-chan, tall like Mae-chan, Mihara-san, or even Taylor-sensei...This is who I am...This is me, Nakagawa Madoka.Bookmark here

"I'll...tell my friends this soon. I...I'm happy that I'm finally able to admit it..."Bookmark here

I came to terms with this as my consciousness was beginning to fade.Bookmark here

“And I love Mari-san…”Bookmark here

Those forbidden words escaped my lips as I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep.Bookmark here

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