Chapter 33:

The reunion

Is it ok?

It had been five years since Riku had graduated and Hitomi and Kazuhiko had been married for a few months now. Today he was meeting everyone form the book club again. He had kept in contact with everyone but life did its thing and there really wasn´t much time to meet in person with everyone. But today they had managed to clear their schedules and have a reunion. Riku was nervous he hadn´t seen some of his friends in person for so long he feared he wouldn´t be able to recognize them anymore. He entered Yuusukes restaurant, which his kohai reserved for the reunion.
There they were his friends all talking happily. Shintaro was showing off Miyako’s new dress, Shu had made it but today Miyako herself was wearing it. Riku couldn´t believe how big she had gotten, she was now seven and in first grade. Shintaro looked at her with such fondness it made Riku´s heart full.
He sat down next to Satsuki. The two were still dating, they had to date long distance for a while but now Satsuki was back in Japan. She and Riku had started living together not long ago.
She kissed him on the cheek, then continued her conversation with Nozomi and Yuki. “I´m going to the Netherland again for a while.” She announced. Riku knew why.
Satsuki smiled. “Let´s just say I´m finally having a surgery.”
Nozomi and Yuki congratulated her. Riku was also proud of her, he had worked so much for this, her excitement had jumped to Riku too. Satsuki was now a full-fledged architect, to the dismay of her mother. She had hoped Satsuki would change her mind and go into nursing, with a bit of convincing her mother had accepted it and was happy for her daughter anyway.
Yuki was boasting about his hormone therapy, which he had also finally been able to begin. Yuki too had been waiting for this moment and Riku couldn´t help giving his friend a big hug. Yuki had become a photographer for a wild life journal; he was traveling a lot lately.
Nozomi on the other hand had started working in a lab as a microbiologist. She apparently was really good at her job. But more importantly she also had finally gotten a bone marrow transplant, she had been so excited when it happened she had called everyone and they had a party over the phone. She and Sani were living in a nice house with their newborn son, Aki Akin.
Sani sat down at their table too. He had become even more muscular, he had started boxing as a hobby. Sani was still working as a security guard of a bank. He had been to Nigeria with Nozomi for their honeymoon, so she could meet his extended family. “We´ll go back soon, everyone wants to meet Akin.” He said smiling.
Riku stood up and walked over to Yuusuke, Shintaro Shu and Miyako. The young girl ran over to him as soon as she saw him. “Uncle Riku!” He hugged her, complementing her nice dress.
He turned to Shu. “You´ve gotten really good.”
“I know.” Shu said confidently. He was a designer for an up in coming fashion brand, sewing nice outfits for his friends whenever he had time. Shu had gotten closer with his mother after she had divorced his father. Shu was showing Miyako a badge his niece had made for him in kindergarten. His sister was currently also expecting her first. Shu clearly was excited to become an uncle again; he loved his niece Kaede a lot. Hayato came to the group kissing his boyfriend. They were also living together. Hayato was a teacher at a middle school close by, teaching history and Japanese. Shuna was barking at their feet, she had grown into a big dog. But she was still as happy and chipper as always.
“I have an announcement.” Shu said. He and Hayato showed their hands, nice silver rings shined on their ring fingers.
“You got married without telling us anything?” Riku asked.
“It was just a Vegas wedding.” Shu said.
“We´re planning a big wedding here in Japan. Not official but we don´t care.” Hayato smiled.
Yuusuke stared at Shintaro. “I know, we´ll do that someday, ok?” He was laughing.
Yuusuke was working in a kindergarten; the one Shus niece was attending in fact. Yuusuke loved children after all. His youngest brother had been born without a problem, he was now five. Riku couldn´t believe how much time had flown by.
Shintaro hugged his boyfriend. He had managed to get into a small pro team as their secondary catcher; obviously he was aiming to become the main starter soon.
Riku continued his circle though all his friends, now meeting Mei, Kiyoko, Keith and Takumi. Kiyoko and Takumi had started dating in their first year of college, to no one’s surprise. Well Riku was a bit surprised that it had taken them that long. They were still living separately because of work but from their conversation he could make out that they were planning to move in together as soon as possible.
Kiyoko was working at her mother company as an accountant. She and Kotoko had gotten even closer, she even approved of Takumi for her daughter.
Takumi was now working at a book store, he had gotten the job just so he had one in the beginning but now he loved working there, he even told Riku how many of his book had been sold in a week.
Keith showed everyone an album he had been working on. After stopping with modeling he picked up the guitar, playing in a band since college. They had just recorded their first demo album. Riku had listened to it so often he knew every song by heart, they were good after all.
Mei was talking about work, she was a therapist. She seemed to love her job, talking about how proud she was at how much her clients had improved. Despite all the couples that had formed in the club Mei and Keith were still single, both didn´t mind they had more important things to focus on.
“Everyone can I get your attention?” Yuri called out. She was standing next to Aiko, who was clearly embarrassed. Yuri pulled out a ring. “Would you…?”
Aiko kissed her before Yuri could finish her important question. “Of course.”
“I didn´t even get to ask.” Yuri complained.
“Doesn’t matter. I knew what you wanted to say.”
Riku felt weirdly proud of Yuri. She was a well-established journalist for a renowned political magazine. Her now fiancée was working at a planetarium, explaining the universe to visitors.
Riku looked at his friends gathered to congratulate Yuri and Aiko. He was happy that these people were his friends and he hoped from the bottom of his heart that they would stay his friends. He couldn´t imagine a life without them anymore. He smiled. He really couldn´t wait what life would bring for all of them…