Chapter 15:

Year 2-4: The birthday

Is it ok?

Riku felt like he was melting. The August heat was stifling and Riku hated it. He was on his way to a water park Kiyoko had invited them to. Why she did that he didn´t know. She just handed everyone in the club a card a few days ago. Riku had initially thought that something like a water park must be way too expensive for one first year to pay, he was starting to get worried that she had plundered all her pocket money for them, it turned out that her mother had paid for it. Riku could have thought of that.
“It´s like a birthday present from her.” Kiyoko told them on the way inside.
Riku quickly turned to her. “It´s your birthday?” He had completely forgotten.
She nodded. “Well technically it was yesterday.”
Now Riku felt a bit bad, he should have remembered, he didn´t even have a present. Kiyoko seemed to have read his mind. “Don´t worry about presents, celebrating a birthday with friends is present enough.” She smiled such a lovely smile it seemed to have struck everyone in the heart.
“And your mom´s really ok with spending so much money?” Takumi asked her after a few seconds of recovery, he was still bushing though.
“Oh no, that´s actually quite the small amount for her. She usually celebrates my birthdays way more lavishly.”
“You´re that rich?” Takumi asked.
Kiyoko seemed to feel a bit uncomfortable talking about her wealth. “My mother makes a lot of money. That´s really it.”

After everyone got dressed they gathered at a bungalow reserved for them. “You can order anything you want from the menu.” Kiyoko said.
“So we can act like we´re rich for a day?” Yuusuke asked already skimming the menu.
“Yes you can, just have fun!” Kiyoko was smiling again. She seemed to really be enjoying being with them all.
They ate, lay in the sun, drank some non-alcoholic cocktails and swam through the massive pools. There were surprisingly few people in the park. Riku almost thought that Kiyokos mother had her hands in that too but brushed it off. How would she even do that? He thought.
“Does anyone want to go to the slides with me?” Kiyoko asked.
Riku turned his head to said slides: It was a colorful mess of tubes in all sizes. Some with people screaming as if they were dying and others full of laughing children. Riku had to swallow hard. He liked water slides but he wasn´t sure he could take that much adrenaline. Satsuki lay on a swim ring. “Have fun without me, I´m relaxing. But I´m sure Ri-chan would love to go with you.” Riku liked that she had started calling him by a nickname but he didn´t like her confidence about his confidence.
“Sure I´ll go with you.” He said after initially wanting to refuse but Kiyokos sparkling eyes made it really hard to say no.

The twins jumped up and down making the staircase to the highest slide shake. Riku was really glad he wasn´t scared of heights because this slide felt like it was tall as the building he lived in. He took a deep breath and went down the slide after Yuki. He landed in the water below shaking from excitement. Yuki was laughing uncontrollably; his sister lay at his feet.
“What happened to her?” Riku was a bit concerned.
“Oh she´s fine.” Yuki said then he seemed to have forgotten about his sister, he ran towards Kiyoko both laughing like little children.
“You good?” Riku asked Yuri herself.
“I think I just had a heart attack.” She managed. Riku helped her back on her feet. He had been to a water park with them once in middle school; Yuki was good with all kinds of slides but Yuri wasn´t so much. She was scarred of heights, which honestly surprised Riku. She was very good at pretending that she wasn´t scared.

After a quick breather the four of them made their way to a slide with big rafts.
“Oh hey guys!” Yuusuke called out to them. He was standing in line with Takumi. Riku was surprised Nozomi wasn´t with them, she would love something like this.
“The girls are there.” Yuusuke pointed at a slide that went down almost 90 degrees. Of course, Riku thought. His girlfriend wasn´t very scarred of stuff like that. He shook his head. There was no way he´d ever go on that one. Yuri agreed with him by gasping out loud. “Oh god no.” She mumbled under her breath.
At the top of the slide the group got ready to get on the rafts. In pairs of three; Yuusuke and the twins in one Riku, Kiyoko and Takumi in the other they went down into a dark tunnel. Riku could hear Yuki and Yuusuke laugh from the other side.
As Riku got out of the water Satsuki and Nozomi were already waiting. Both with big smiles on their faces.

The group went to one slide after the other until an announcement let them know they had half an hour left. Satsuki grabbed Rikus arm. “Let´s go to the lazy river.”
They did just that. Both lying in swimming rings holding hands as to not lose each other. The lap wasn´t very big but Riku and Satsuki still enjoyed themselves.
Kiyoko and the others seemed to have also finished with their final action of the day. They walked out together, laughing and talking.
“Thanks for today, Kiyoko-chan.” Riku put a hand on her shoulder. She startled for a second.
“Oh, no need. I enjoyed myself a lot today too.” She stared at the floor. “You know I was a bit upset that my mother couldn´t make it to my birthday this year again, but celebrating with you guys was really fun.” She was smiling but Riku could tell she was still a bit upset.
“We didn´t even have cake with you!” Yuusuke yelled. “How could we have forgotten the cake?”
“It´s ok I don´t need a cake.” Kiyoko said.
“No, I´ll call my parents. We have cake at the restaurant.” Yuusuke declared with phone in hand.

Kiyoko blew out the candles on a big chocolate cake. “Did you make a wish?” Yuri asked.
Kiyoko nodded. “Good, but don´t tell anyone or it won´t come true.” Yuki smiled.
They ate the delicious cake. Kiyoko couldn’t stop smiling the rest of the evening. Her smile faded as soon as she saw a middle aged man waiting at a car. “My father.” She said in a small voice.
Riku watched her get into the car. He wasn´t sure what to think about what he had just seen. Kiyoko had been smiling and laughing the entire day. He shook his head. It´s none of his business until she said something. He didn´t want a situation like last year with Shu. He just hoped she would feel comfortable enough with them to tell them if something happened.