Chapter 5:

The Family

The Letters That Heaven Sent

On my way to the hospital, all kinds of thoughts were running in my head. Death was the first thought in my head. At reaching the hospital, my dad was standing in front of the gate waiting for me. Turns out, it was nothing serious, instead it was her birthday. My overthinking got me. Dad wanted to surprise mom

There was a gift shop beside the parking area of the hospital. Ran In there, got a ring of her initial, a book she always wanted to read and a locket necklace, the store owner implanted me and my dad's photo in it in less than five mins. I took it and ran to my mom's room. My dad was waiting with the cake and his gift in his hand. We slowly opened the door and she was playing Nintendo.

"Happy birthday mom! How are you doing?"

"Happy birthday Akari! Where you got that Nintendo from?

"Oh! It's you people. You remembered it! Is it black forest? Oh! It is black forest! I love you both so much!" She was very happy seeing us and the cake. She gave me and dad kisses and hugs. During the cutting of the cake, the whole hospital staff was there in the room. They left soon after the cake cutting was over. We gave mom her gifts but the bigger question was, where she got that Nintendo from.

"Oh! This is from my nurse's son. He is staying here today, so he gave me to play with it. He will probably take it back in a few hours."

"Mom, do you need a console for gaming? I can get you one from a friend of mine who is giving it for free." Lying was needed to get the answer from her.

"Bring it tommorow and have some Mario and sonic games with it, don't forget zelda."

"Okay time for gifts. Hehe, let's see. First is dad's."

He got her a new phone and in which she can play most of her games. He got it from a friend who runs a mobile store. It's one of he best phones he got for her.

"Thank you so much dear! Now I can play all My games, chat with you all more and also my friends."

Mom had her phone broken a few months ago. It was not a good one too. This will probably light her up more.

"I am glad you love it but don't stop reading books, we don't want your eyes to get bad now."

"Hehe, of course I won't do that. Alright, now it's time for my teddy's gift. Oh my God! This is very beautiful inoue. Thank you so much my teddy's. I wanted this book for so long. This ring is so cute and this necklace is the best. Oh, now come here inoue."

The kisses and hugs resumed again on both of us.

We sat there and talked and ate with her for 2 hours and then it's time to go home. Mom was also very sleepy so we're getting ready to go home. After cleaning everything, I was taking all the trash out and mom was saying something to my dad. That feeling of fear was again around me. I decided not to pay it any heed but when my dad came out, his look made it even more certain that I should heed the fear.

It was time for college next day and a leave from work too. Now there was nothing much to do than read. I met kuro and Kobayashi-san after finishing all our classes. Kuro wanted to go to a new restaurant which opened near the university. On our way we also met Yamada-san, Hamada-San and Hayashi-san from the club. We invited them as well.

We all went to the restaurant when I saw senpai with her siblings walking outside so I invited her. The club members were kinda shocked seeing her as she rarely appears. She came along and her siblings were very happy. She was happy too seeing her face this time. We also went to a movie and after that it was time to go. Kuro and Kobayashi-san looked a little be closer than usual.

This time, senpai insisted on coming to her house. The siblings asked so many times and I just couldn't say no. It wasn't far from the café and it was a bit shabby and looked very old but nevertheless, it was a good house. We went in and her mother, Aoi ikeda was standing in front.

"Where were you all? I thought you were only out to play." She was really worried and it's probably my fault she is scolding them.

"And who is this young man with you all?"

"I am Inoue Arata, I study in the same university as your daughter and work at the same place as her."

"I am sorry Ikeda-san, it's probably my fault. I invited her to dinner and a movie. They are late because of me.

"Are you the one who gifted those fruits to us?"

"Yes that was me. Did you like those fruits?

"I loved them! Why don't you come inside Arata-kun. Have you met my small animals too?"

"Small animals?"

"I meant her siblings. They really are tough to handle."

"Come on mom, we are not that bad." They were embarrassed.

"How are your parents, Arata-kun? Are they doing fine?"

"Yes, they are fine."

"How is your health, Ikeda-san? I heard from senpai that your heart is in a bad shape."

"It's a permanent damage now, taking a lot of stress or work can definitely cause some greater damage. I have children to take care of Arata-kun, I just can't disappear like that."

"Why don't you all get me something to eat? Also get some tea for Arata-kun."

She gave them all some work and talked to me a little about her family.

"After her father's death, she became really quiet, didn't talked unless necessary. She tried hard to get a scholarship to study further, and I did my best to keep all my children happy."

"She started to smile a little from the past weeks. I don't really know her reason of smiling but it might be you. Arata-kun, she is a flower that can withstand harsh environments—but it will keep her alive by taking her beauty away. I know it Arata-kun, I know how she looked like an alive machine responding only to orders. But I am seeing some life in that machine now. Why is it that I am seeing that same alive machine in you? Are you suffering, are you in pain, do you not understand what's happening beneath you?"

"You are right, Ikeda-san. I have problems that I think no one can understand–I don't know how long it will take to cure them—but it won't last long is what I know. I thought senpai was like me too but she is Changing, so can I."

"All the best on the journey you are going to be on Arata-kun. May god always be with you."

Seeing her reminded me of how mom is staying strong for the sake of both me and dad. There is no one like a parent in this world.

"I will be going the senpai, we have college tommorow too."

"Get going Arata-kun, I will see you till your house."

"No, it's fine senpai. It's very late. I can walk on my own. Take care all of you, bye."

They definitely didn't have much but were a happy and hardworking family.