Chapter 1:

Memories

To You Under The Spring Night Sky


In December of 2022, my mom died.

That very night, after getting the news, I sat at my desk, unable to feel anything.

Besides regret.

This worthless shut in hadn’t seen her mom for 5 years, and only did again cause she was dead.

I may have felt alone before, but now, I really was.

The only one I had was someone so far away I could never imagine seeing their face.

The person who, despite that, I felt I could tell everything.

She informed me that I should come live with her in Japan.

After some shock, disbelief, and all around arrogance on my part…I agreed.

We began planning the very next day.

I cut back on my food budget, cutting out the occasional treat and the very occasional energy drink, replaced entirely by water and my single meal a day. I worked harder than I ever did before, releasing 8 novels over the course of 2023.

I got my passport.

We spent eons figuring out how I could even make it over there.

I spent the whole time believing there was no way it would happen.

I only kept going just cause she put in so much effort, to waste it would feel disgusting.

On New Year's Eve, it was the first time it felt real.

Just a few months away.

We video chatted, and…that was the day I admitted my feelings for her.

After she got the chance to have her own moment of shock, she…returned the gesture.

We entered 2024 as an official couple, and on March 17th, I broke back into my old apartment to get the passport I forgot in the bathroom and raced to catch my plane.

I didn’t feel any sense of security until my ass was in that plane seat.

Taking a deep breath, I let the exhaustion of almost an entire year wash over me. I looked down at my phone for the last time before I would have to put it away. The last message she sent me.

Yume- I’ll see you soon

I felt something welling gently in my eyes. Taking a deep breath, I pocket my phone, leaning my back against the seat.

“Yume…I’ll see you soon!”

It was March 19th, 2024.

Spring has arrived.

I groan gently, rubbing my temples after my ears have finally popped. Stepping out of the airport, I begin walking aimlessly, hoping I’ll somehow find the taxi spot. In my hand, I feel the shaking of my luggage handle, or, is that just my own hand?

AHHH, IF THIS KEEPS UP I’M GONNA DIE BEFORE I GET THERE!

I do my best to not fall to my knees and cry. With a moment taken to breath and calm down, I finally spotted my objective.

Blink

Standing just before her door, I feel my stomach knotting. God help me it would be way too pathetic to vomit at her door. Slowly, I let my fingers raise, and, with all the care in the world, knock on her door. A moment of silence.

A click. A turn.

Opening wide…there she stands. Dressed in a black hoodie and sweatpants and her adorable glasses.

Yume.

She’s right here.

I gotta…say something. Hi. It’s nice to finally really meet you-

“You’re way hotter in person.” Came out. The silence became excruciatingly painful.

Maybe it would have been better to die at her door, in retrospect.

She didn’t seem to think the same. She lets out a little chuckle, covering her mouth. Her short, soft looking hair waves just in front of me. I want to wrap my fingers right through it, but, first, and I really can’t forgive myself if I fuck this up-

I move forward, and wrap her in my arms.

“I’m here, Yume.” I whisper.

“Yeah. Welcome home, Rosie.”

Blink

It is March 20th, 2024.

Opening my eyes, I see the ceiling of the apartment. I get up slowly, looking over at the pillow that was supposed to separate us on the mattress, somehow ending up tight in Yume’s arms as she sleeps soundly.

“Cute…” I feel my heart race. After a moment of appreciating the cuteness, I move to the short table in the middle of the room and open up my laptop. Even if I just got here, I can’t afford to get too far behind. I get right to writing, silently thankful the first thing we did was set up wifi on this thing and binge a bunch of v-tuber streams. A lot of them I’d heard her talk about before, but I was always caught up in replaying her streams to really pay attention to anyone else. I straighten my back when I feel someone’s arms around my torso.

“Huh?”

“Sleepy...more sleep.” I hear a tired voice behind me. A part of me wants to argue, but…gahhhhh, I can’t say no!

Lather rinse repeat almost five times.

That’s how I ended up in bed till 1:00 PM.

Blink

It is March 29th, 2024

The submarine carefully glides through the water as the woman controlling it diligently taps at her keyboard. This was a pretty common game I’d see her play on stream. Something nautica. It seems fun. I should really make more time for games that aren’t visual novels. I lament my poor time management as I eat from my boxed dinner. Similar meal, different region. Well, not exactly similar. I hardly ever got to eat rice last year. It was mostly just protein meals and drive thru. Thank goodness for good metabolism, or I’d never be able to stare at myself in the mirror.

I turn my attention to the little cute avatar in the corner of Yume’s OBS that occasionally moves about when she talks.

That design is so cute. Whenever she talks, it makes my heart absolutely melt. Gahhhh, and now she’s right there and I can wrap my arms tight around her. I do my best to contain myself, focusing on finishing dinner so I can get back to writing…half writing, half watching her stream.

I’m so supportive, nyehehe.

Blink

It is April 3rd, 2024

“Oh, you’re not originally from Japan?” I cock my head as I walk with Yume through the congested throngs of people on the sidewalk. She nods, before giggling.

“Maybe I’ll tell you more about where some other time.” She teases, before taking my hand. “Come on, it’s just a little further ahead.” She insists, dragging me along down the many sidewalks, till eventually, what looks like a comfy stand comes into view. I can take a pretty good guess at where exactly we are as she sits me down at one of the seats. A part of me starts to worry if I might not be able to read the menu. Yeah, I’d been spending a lot of time learning last year and I had gotten pretty decent, but being faced with someone I don't know is always a hard part.

Ahhh, when handed the menu, I was grateful to see that an English description was included. With a bit of assistance, me and Yume order and patiently wait.

“I must look like a nervous mess.” I mumble, earning me a gentle kick.

“You’re fine. You’ll get better at it. I know you will.” The addition of a reassuring smile lets my nerves relax.

The food is served. A steamy broth mixed with a beautiful display of noodles, pork, and a perfectly cooked egg sets my glands off.

Needless to say, that was a delicious dinner.

Blink

It is April 12th, 2024

The night sky, filled with beautiful stars, is completely shut out as the curtains are drawn and the lights are all off. The only illumination is from my laptop, playing some random ova found on youtube. Some roughness is clear from what must have been the transfer from vhs to digital, but it’s still watchable. In my lap, I gently hold Yume tight, my head sitting atop hers as the sounds of hardcore 90’s violence fills our room.

“You’re stressed.” She says

“Not that stressed.”

“I can still notice.”

“Mm…”

“You can’t hide from me anymore. There’s no screen between us. So spill.” She tilts her head up so our eyes meet. “Please.”

“...It’s hard. To accept that…I deserve a life like this.” I feel my arms tighten just a bit around her. “I…was nothing but a shut-in who's last moment with their mother was realizing I had abandoned her.” I feel my eyes wanting to summon tears, but I reject them. “I didn’t…give a single crap about my life after that. Still…you told me you wanted me. Right there by your side. Before you loved me, you wanted to be with me. I’m not…good enough for someone so earnest.” I say. Her hands gently reach up, touching my cheeks.

“The person I see…would you even understand if I said it? It wouldn’t matter one bit.” She smiles. “No matter how you feel about yourself, you belong where you’re wanted. Everyone does, and Rosie, I want you. I promise.” Her kind words draw a smile to my face. “Whoever you feel you need to be, I know you can be them. You know how I know that’s true?” I don’t have to ask. “Because that’s exactly what you’d say to me, isn’t it?” I finally feel a break. Gently, softly, trickles of wetness fall down my face. I kiss her forehead.

“Then I’ll…be the me I know you deserve, for the you that…you say I do.”

“Good girl.” She whispers.

“Yeah.”

The only sound that fills our home after that is of old animated dreams as we fall asleep.

Blink

It is April 29th, 2024

The cherry blossoms are falling today.

Taking the day off after finally releasing my next novel, I take my girlfriend’s hand, and let her lead me to her old high school, where I’m guaranteed to get a photo worthy view. It’s a bit of a journey, so it’s the first time we’re taking the subway. A bit of me wants to shrivel up at the thought, but the feeling of that warm hand in mine is enough to keep me level headed. Sitting together, I watch out the window as the tunnel passes at super speed. My simple mind is amazed.

After about half an hour, we arrived at our stop. Together, we step off and hop up the steps of the station, arriving back on a sidewalk. There, just ahead, I caught a glimpse, and immediately I was off, dragging a laughing Yume just behind me. Once I’m standing before it, I’m left in awe. The falling blossoms leave an eternal image in my brain. I lose any interest in trying to take a picture, fully enraptured.

“Told you it was beautiful.” Yume says, laying her head on my shoulder.

“Next year…”

“Next year?”

“Let's come back next year.”

“...of course dork.” I feel her wrap an arm around me as the blossoms continue to fall.

Blink

It is May 4th, 2024

Rain. Lots of rain, pouring down and rapping against the window. Usually, this would be the perfect weather for writing. However, this was not the day for anything professional.

As it would seem, someone had caught a cold.

“Unghhh, this sucks!” Yume blows her heart out into a tissue before throwing it into the trash can. Meanwhile, I was just coming in after leaving for the convenience store. In my hand, a bag containing plenty of Pocari Sweat and tomato soup. I set to work getting the tomato soup nice and hot in the microwave before bringing over the bag of drinks. “Oh my lifesaver.”

“Save it for when you’re not dyin.” I chuckle before handing her a bottle and letting her chug it down. The immediate hydration helps in clearing up those pathways just a bit.

“Ungh, I know you wanted to get work done today. Sorry.” She smiles awkwardly.

“I’m sorry to you, you had a stream you were really excited for today, right?”

“Ahh, I can reschedule. I already sent out a tweet. I’ll be fine, hehe~.” She gives me some reassurance before sitting up against the wall as the microwave dings. I carefully wrap her bowl in a towel and bring it over with a spoon. “Masterchef are we?”

“Your sass is much appreciated, snotface.” I say before sitting next to the mattress.

“You can work, you know. I should be okay while eating.” Yume says.

“Nah…I’d rather spend my baby’s sick day with my baby.” I flash a smile that manages to make her cheeks turn red.

“Dummy. Well, you’re always pumping out chapters. I guess you can afford a day off.” She sighs, carefully sipping from her spoon. Just watching her eat is enough to make my heart tingle. When she’s streaming, walking, sleeping, just breathing, everything seems to be enough to make me happy. Must be because she’s Yume. No way she thinks that about me. I turn my attention to the ceiling.

“Hey, remember the group chat?”

“Hmm? Which one?”

“The one we met in.”

“Right…hehe…”

“What?”

“You were really cute back then, you know that?”

“W-wha?!”

“‘Oh, I’m so pleased to make your acquaintance.’ ‘I don’t mean that badly.’ Bud, it’s a gc, don’t take it so seriously. Ah, a part of me wanted to say that, but…I really couldn’t. It was…the first thing I loved about you.”

“The first thing?” I mumble.

“Earnest, and too kind for one person’s own good. No matter what you say about yourself, I at least know for a fact that…those are true.”

“T-they are, huh? Well…I remember you too.”

“Yeah? Tell me, what was I like?”

“...sweeter than any girl I’ve ever met.” The room goes quiet.

“That’s gotta be an exaggeration.”

“Not even a little.” I say, smiling. “It was the first thing I loved about you.” I add.

“Stealing my own lines…still, it makes me happy.”

“I hope…I can always make you happy.” After a moment, I’m surprised by her head suddenly appearing in my lap.

“You will. I can guarantee it.” She declares. “Because you’re with me, and I’m never letting you go.”

“...please never let me go.” I whisper, gently stroking her hair.

“It’s a promise then~.”

Blink

Blink

Blink

“Rosie?”

“Hmm?”

It is June 20th, 2024.

“There we are. You’ve been spacing since we paid.” Walking from the ramen stand, I begin to feel a creeping sense of my own idiocy. I groan.

“Sorry. The sky just looks pretty tonight.” I say, looking back up.

“Oh. It does, doesn’t it?” Yume, looking up as well, smiles. “The last spring night.”

“The last night of our first spring.” I say, feeling my hand reach out and clasp hers. “I think that’s pretty special.

“Well, our first summer is gonna be pretty special too. We definitely have to go to the beach. You’ll have your next novel done by then, right?”

“I can’t say if you don’t give me a date, dork. Besides, the publisher isn’t seeming too impressed with my work for them, so I’m a little distracted by that.”

“Oh hun, if there’s one thing I don’t doubt it’s your writing. You’ll put it together. That’s just what you do.” I sigh, before smiling.

“Well, you’ve never been wrong before.”

“Sure, we’ll say that.” As she says that, she checks her watch. “Hehe, just about midnight. Let’s head home, kay?”

“Yeah, let’s go home.” Hand and hand, we return back to that apartment that I’ve come to see as my everything.

It is June 21st, 2024.

Summer has arrived.

otkrlj
icon-reaction-1
Bubbles
icon-reaction-4
Steward McOy
icon-reaction-3