I won with a minimal advantage, and I couldn't hide my satisfaction with this fact for a long time. Kiyoshi seemed unfazed by the loss and my attitude, on the contrary, he was happy with it. I asked him about it to make sure he didn't mind. We've gotten to know each other well over the last few months, but there's still a lot to discover.
"I've never been a big fan of competition unless the prize was mint ice cream, then maybe I would be especially interested." He shrugged as we walked back to the station. "I like you to smile and be happy. Which doesn't mean I'll always let you win."
"You didn't let me win," I said doubtfully, though I wasn't so sure after the cocky smile he gave me.
"You will never know."
I studied him more closely for a moment, suspecting there wasn't an iota of truth to it, just a simple little revenge for the beginning of our relationship when I teased him. I laughed to myself, knowing that we would not be bored with each other.
Looking at Kiyoshi, I wondered how lucky I was that one person could change my life like that and give me everything I thought I had lost forever while giving me so much fear in the beginning. I also began to think differently about my duties towards Her. I was so convinced that there was no escaping it, but apparently, I needed someone to show me that you can really not give a fig. But I saw that Kiyoshi was worried that he would never convince Alice.
Enough, I said to myself, time to focus on my part of the date, so far everything has been going great. My only regret was that I missed the opportunity when we fell over in the bowling alley to embrace Kiyoshi and hold him in my arms for a while. Well, I had yet to find a good opportunity for it.
"I have something to eat, do you want to eat now or later?" Cupid asked as we returned to the station we had left from.
"Cheesecake?" I asked hopefully, a bit sad at the same time that I hadn't thought of it myself, despite all the effort I'd put into planning.
"I wasn't sure how it would survive the trip, so I've got some sandwiches and cookies my mom made," he replied, ruffling his hair to keep from showing his nervousness. "Sorry, I know you don't like other sweet things. Mom, however, got so into it, today she meets her friends, and it's her turn to prepare dessert, so there's a bit of that."
"Stop it, I should think about it myself," I admitted. "Besides, why not try something prepared by my future mother-in-law," I laughed.
It was only after Kiyoshi's surprised face that I realized what I had said. We'd been together less than a week, and I was making serious promises about the future to him, even if jokingly, I thought it might freak him out a bit. I didn't think about it, just made a point, but I knew that if I was going to be serious about the future, Cupid would be the highlight of it.
"If I ate everything myself, I would gain weight, and I have to take care of the line," he replied with a sneer.
"You'd be the most beautiful creature on this earth anyway." I smiled.
"Stop." He tapped me lightly on the shoulder, but he blushed. I grabbed his hand and turned him to face me.
"My compliments are sincere, I just want you to know that," I said, perhaps too harshly, but got annoyed when he wanted to argue with something I thought was obvious. "Okay, let's eat something, we need to gain some strength," I added a little more gently.
"We're going for a long walk."
We sat on a bench in a small park, I didn't think something as simple as a sandwich could taste so delicious. Probably it was a matter of who made them, not the taste itself. Then it was the turn of the cakes, I took one and stared at it for a long time. Kiyoshi looked at me with raised eyebrows, already eating his third or fifth. I bit into a round pastry and barely finished it.
"Good, but too sweet," I gave my opinion.
"More for me, then," he sighed heavily. "I have to make sacrifices after all and risk losing my perfect figure."
I smiled and extended my hand to him, encouraging him to start walking. I searched for the right destination and route for a long time, checking every detail along the way. My choice fell on the hill, which was a bit out of town. There was a nice viewpoint at the top, and I was hoping we'd make it there in time to watch the sunset. The photos people were sharing suggested it was a really beautiful sight.
Also, from what I read, this place wasn't very famous, which people regretted because the stairs were quite steep, but thanks to that, there was a good chance that we would be there alone. In addition, we could hold hands almost the entire way without worrying about other people's reactions, I didn't care much about them, I could always use my powers, and thank them nicely for that. I looked at Kiyoshi, he wouldn't want that, but I also knew he wouldn't openly criticize it.
We talked a lot along the way, mostly about our holiday plans, unless I remembered a detail I had read about this place. Once I chose it, I couldn't help but learn as much as possible. Then, well, I had to share it, and the only one who enjoyed listening to my chatter with pleasure was the boy walking next to me. He even encouraged me to tell more stories when I thought I was just boring him.
The way up was indeed tiring, but Kiyoshi didn't make any impression. I was slightly short of breath, and he looked as if he had only gone to the other room and was ready to cover many more kilometres. He left me to take in the view at once and leaned heavily over the balustrade. My first impulse was to stop him, but he turned to me with an overly delighted look.
"How come you're not tired at all?" I asked as I sat down on the bench.
"I like long walks, so it's a piece of cake for me, but I've never been here before," he replied, pulling out the rest of the sandwiches for me and the cookies for himself. "How did you know about this place?"
"I was just looking for a place that seemed perfect for a date."
"You made it," he replied in a whisper and leaned his head against my shoulder.
I smiled, proud of myself that I managed to surprise him so positively. I set the bar high for myself, but I knew that jumping over it every time would be worth every effort. For this happiness written on his face, for the love emanating from it. Yes, I thought, for this, I could do anything.
The sun began to set, and the sky slowly took on pink and orange shades, giving us an incredibly beautiful spectacle, intended only for us. Kiyoshi watched it, hungering for every detail, staring so intensely at this delightful mix of colours as if he wanted to remember everything exactly. It was beautiful, but nothing seemed more beautiful to me at that moment than him.
"I wish I had a sketchbook with me," he sighed softly, a slight sadness in his voice.
"Are you sure you regret this?" I whispered, grabbing his chin and turning him towards me.
We looked into each other's eyes, it felt like time had suddenly stopped, and I couldn't hear anything but the synchronized beating of our hearts. It was just us staring at each other in the setting sun. Those olive eyes with heart-shaped pupils and their owner, whom I should have hated but yet loved immensely, responded to me with the same feeling. I leaned in to kiss him and when our lips met, I thought I heard fireworks in the distance. It felt magical and sweet at the same time, probably because of the cookies Kiyoshi had eaten so much earlier; short, but at the same time expressive enough to be remembered forever; pleasant and definitely not bad like the taste of olives, as I had suspected twelve years earlier.
"We didn't think you'd be able to do that." We heard a female voice behind us, imperious and menacing, but somehow seductive. I recognized it right away. "But enough of this farce, you've achieved your goal, we're furious."