Why did I push things that far? Even as Aoi had a disgusted look on her face, even as she was quite distinctly uncomfortable I pushed onwards. Now, laying down alone in my bed, I feel bad for it. I wonder how the night may have turned out if I wasn't sexually repressed. Staying there would definitely have had more potential. Both romantically, and erotically. Maybe it was just too soon for that.
And thinking of that, what were we? Secrets. That's all we were right now, as far as I could tell. I flipped out my phone, and after a few moments of hesitation, began typing out a message. “Hey, are you there? Its lonely when you don't reply.” She hadn't been replying since we fought, not that I had texted her much. But now I couldn't see much reason for her not to text back.
Just as I was laying there and considering calling Kazue just to pass the time, I hear a knock on my door. At this time of dusk when dinner has already passed, and my mom and dad are doing their own before bed rituals, it could only possibly be one person.
The devil herself.
I open the door and look up at Kaname, my younger sister and the source of all of my problems. She looks angry, I wonder what she's angry for this time.
“Can I come in?” She asks, and after a moment grasping for an excuse to say no, I agree. For all I know, she's having problems again. I can't very well abandon her halfway if that's the case. I close the door behind her, and find her already sitting on my bed, head downcast. Is it really another problem? That feeling of dread leaves me and is replaced with concern, and I sit at my desk chair, orienting it towards her.
“Whats up, Kaname?” I ask, and all she does in reply is pull out her phone. With it shoved immediately right into my face it takes my eyes a moment to adjust and see what it says.
The message is from Aoi, telling Kaname to pass on... her new number to me? Who the fuck have I been texting all night then? I make sure to memorize the number, knowing Kaname's whims well. As expected, when I pull out my phone to save it, she hurriedly stows hers back away. Safe. I get the contact into my phone.
“What about it?” I ask, doing my best to act casual despite her anger. “I didn't have her new number yet.” This had been a long three weeks since I met Aoi, and then later Kazue. A very long three weeks filled with drama. Me and Kaname didn't talk for a week after I met Aoi, and then only finally started talking later after I met Kazue. I thought Kaname had calmed down, but she seems quite angry now.
“When did she even make up with you! I thought she hated you now...”
“That's right, she did.” I agree. “I asked Kazue and Shuji, they helped me patch things up...” Kaname frowns at the news, scooting back on my bed as if she intends to stay there awhile.
“Arata... is it weird?”
That same ambiguous question started things soon after I returned home. I had found her with a picture of us when we were kids at the local shrine. At the time, I asked her why she still had it, and she said that even if the promise was just some kids promise, it was still an important picture. When she asked, I told her not at all in response.
“Is what weird?” I ask, knowing she was expecting it. Part of a small ritual, shall we say, the sealing of the bitch. I wondered why she couldn't just be nice to me all the time. Of course, she had to trash talk me in school to keep the rumors out of her hair, but around my mom and dad I'd rather she didn't. They give me dirty looks enough without that, because of my report cards and the vandalism I did at my old private school.
To explain a little, I am the reason for all bullying Kaname has experienced her entire life. Because, before I left, I was dumb. I promised to marry my own little sister, and then got sent off to private school a promising young boy. While I was acting out, trying to get home, she was telling her friends in school about our promise. She was ridiculed, outcast, and it was only now that she finally entered middle school and got real friends. So, once she told me what happened to her, I began talking to her and helping her as much as I could.
Mostly, it means I just lend a sympathetic ear while she rants about her problems, but it could be worse. “I'm jealous.” She admits, one of the rarities that only occurs at times like this is that Kaname will admit that she's wrong. I have to admit, for me, this is a mystical time. When I returned home, it was like the one percent cranky side she had took her over, erasing everything else. I gave her a a friendly hug, she used some crazy self defense move and nearly dislocated my shoulder.
Times like this, I felt like I was going back in time to what she was like before I moved away, back when I was an honor roll student, top seller at the fundraiser, and she was my biggest fan and friend. I carefully listen, and after a deep breath she continues. “Both you and Kazue talking to Aoi, I'm jealous of it. She was my first friend who didn't know about you and I, and then after learning, she was the first friend who was fine with it. She thought it was creepy, but she didn't make fun of me at all..... I guess I'm just jealous because even though I'm Kazue's friend too, its weird when I'm not there. Later on, they'll talk about things I missed, and I feel like.... they may just be talking about me behind my back.”
I nod as gravely as I can, absorbing her problems. Turning on my very underpowered sympathy node in my brain to try and process what she was saying.
“So basically...” I start. “You're worried you'll lose Aoi to us? Or that we may laugh at you behind your back?” Kaname nods, now staring at me like I'm some sort of holy sage of wisdom. I smile nervously, thinking hard, and trying to appear as confident in what I say as possible. I cross my legs on the chair, hands holding them into the cramped space, and sit as upright as possible. “I think its pointless to try and stop people from talking behind your back, its going to happen. Just know, its as often good things as bad... and... if they didn't like you, they wouldn't talk to you. That's what I think.” It may be easier to tell her that they won't talk behind her back, but I think she needs to learn the difference between good talking, and bad talking. Not to mention, she needs to get over her low self esteem and trust in the people that enjoy being around her. “You hang out with one of them sometimes without the other, right? And at times, talk about the person not there, I'm sure... you don't make fun of them behind their back, right?”
“A-Absolutely not!” She almost shouts at me, as if I had accused her of it. I wave a hand and she pauses to hear what I say instead of expressing her discomfort further, another action restricted to only this sacred space.
“That's exactly what I mean, they aren't making fun of you behind your back. They're just as polite speaking about you to each other than they are when they're with you. If not more.” She seems to settle into her seat on the bed. I know the look on her face, its when she knows I'm right but still doesn't like something. If there's one good thing I can say about my sister is, she doesn't keep fighting a losing battle. “You know, it was only today that I finally made up with Aoi. She was worried about you the entire way, it was never anything to do with me, just you.”
“You talked to Aoi today?” She asks in a surprisingly even tone, but the implications of the possible mine I may have stepped on make me shiver anyways. I nod, praying for the best. “... I'm not just jealous of Aoi, I'm jealous of all of my friends. It annoys me that the person I can talk to anytime....” Me apparently. “Is talking to my best friend. Can't you just get your own friends?”
“You talk as if its easy... I've already established myself as the class grump you know.” Yeah, it was true. Shuji was probably my only friend I had outside of my sisters group of friends, and I only had him as a friend because he was Kazue's sister. It was kind of pathetic. I had tried talking to a few girls in my class, but I didn't have anyone other than Shuji I could call a friend. At most they were acquaintances. “Plus, if I'm friends with your friends, I can check on you. And if something happens, someone other than you can tell me about it....”
“It still bothers me!” She growls, and I nod slowly. Another thing about this space is, she won't force me to do anything. She may still yell and complain, even whine like a small child, but she won't make any sudden ultimatums like normal. Threatening me unless she has her way. “I was really upset when I found out you and Aoi were talking two weeks ago... even while I was mad at you....”
“It was the only way I could find out what was going on while you were mad at me. I'm sorry.” I let out a sigh. “Its a good thing I had her, else I wouldn't have noticed things go strange right around then.”
“I was the one who approached you though... isn't that fine?”
I have to think about it for a moment. Truly, if she does have an issue, she can just tell me about it. A reason comes to me before too much time passes. “What if its something you don't know about? If people are talking behind your back?” I offer. “This time, I came into your school to fix things without asking you... I want to be sure I can actually know before it happens next time, instead of doing damage control.”
“... Fine... that makes sense.” She says, then turns her head up. I can tell just by looking at her expression change that rather than keep going, she's just about done with our little sacred time. I let my legs drop and recline against the chair. “Have you already taken a bath tonight?” She asks me.
“Ah... just wondering.” She says, I fear for a moment that she could be thinking of offering we bathe together, but the moment passes, leaving me wondering whether or not maybe I wanted her to offer it. It was normal right? Maybe not with your sister, but I was a growing young man... “Well, I better get going.” She says, distracting me from my thoughts. “You got the number, right?” I nod. “Then... I'll see you tomorrow.”
She leaps up and, to my surprise, leaps right over to me to plant a kiss on my cheek. I'm too shocked to take note of her expression, dumbly lifting my hand to my cheek. It takes no time at all before I hear her door close behind her, mine slowly gliding halfheartedly to become just nearly closed.
“What was that?” I mutter, a part of me considering giving chase to her.. A dinging from my phone distracts me though, so I pull it from my pocket.
Aoi's... old number?
“Hey, sorry, I just got out of jail.” The fuck? “Did I meet you at that party the other night?”
For now, I decide to ignore it, especially as something more important pops into my mind. “Ah! Aoi!” That's right! She must have wanted to text me for some reason. I shoot her a small text to let her know its me, then get ready to take a bath before bed.
“I've decided on a place for our date. Is this Sunday okay with you?”
Wow, right to the point. I admire her straightforwardness even as I take off my boxers, feeling a bit devilish to be taking a bath as I'm texting this particular girl. I take the time to type a reply back. “Yeah, I'm free. Where are we going?” And immediately after, I hop into the shower to clean myself before I soak in the tub. Better to be clean going into the tub, than to have to clean right after having such a nice relaxing soak.
The message comes halfway through my shower, so I rush through the rest and dry my hands so I can text back. “Well, instead of being cruel.... how about just a day downtown? I bet you haven't been to the shopping district since they opened that mall nearby.” I wanted to say that she was wrong, but she wasn't. I hadn't been to those old familiar shops even once since stopping home. Plus, I saw the hidden reason why we were going so far away when the mall was so close. It would be horrible if Kazue or Kaname saw us while we were out. Even worse if someone neither of us knew well did, but who recognized me from the one time I dropped by her school.
In any other scenario I'd be annoyed that I was being hidden from my dates friends, and from anyone who knew her in general. In this case, I had to agree with her.“That sounds great, I haven't been there. It'd be cool to see all of those shops again....” The fact that I was naked once again popped into my mind. It was hard not to be perverted while texting a girl from the bathtub. “Hey, take a pic of yourself for me right now, I don't have a pic of you on this phone.”
Message sent, I set the phone on a small table next to the bathtub and let myself sink into the hot water. I let out a small sigh as the water envelops me, and accidentally slip under. Keeping my eyes closed, I let out a few bubbles of air and then relax under the water until the cramped nature of the bath tub starts to annoy me, and my craving for breath gets too strong. “Gah...” Water stings my eyes as I open them just a little too soon.
My vision from my left eye is too blurry to really see much of anything, but its always like that. As if looking through a small pool of water. I rub out the water to abate the stinging, and then am distracted by a small chime from my phone. I let my wet hair fall back over the useless eye and read the reply from Aoi.
Surprisingly, its a picture. It practically looks like it came from a professional photo shoot. I don't understand how people do it, they'll be out with their friends, have one take a picture and... it just comes out this good? What witchery is this? “You too, for my picture ID.” Is the text attached to it. It seems like a flimsy excuse, but given that its the same reason I gave, I let it slide.
I quickly realize I don't have a single good picture of me on my phone. Where I'm smiling well, my hair is messed up. When my hair is perfect, I look too bland. When I'm smiling, it either looks fake or just plain awkward. With a frustrated scowl, I hold up the phone and take one of me right there on the spot. When I look at it, a smug but annoyed smile comes to my face. With the water, I look a bit more buff than I really am, and my expression actually looks cool. Kind of like the cool silent type... only, I'm sitting in a fucking bathtub.
“Haaah....” Throwing my sense of right and wrong to the wind, I send it to Aoi, a small sinister grin on my face. Best picture I have anyways, and I don't feel like leaving the bath quite yet. I can just imagine her face when it shows up.
When I get a reply, surprisingly it isn't from Aoi. Though, hers comes within seconds of the first text. I decide to open up and reply to hers first, grinning as my eye runs over the text. “Can't you just send me a normal picture?! You didn't take that just now, did you?”
I laugh out loud, pressing my cheek to the tub as I hold back the sound. It doesn't take me long to type out a quick reply. “lol. I did, problem?” I press the send button without hesitation, then rifle to the other message.
Its from Kazue. “Bathtub? XD” Unlike Aoi, she isn't a keyboard warrior. In fact, I can actually watch TV or do other things while texting her, unlike with Aoi. I raise my eyebrows as I consider the implications of her message. Given that I got it a second before Aoi's, they must be in the same place. “You saw?”
I barely send out a reply to Kazue when another comes from Aoi. I grin and pull it up. “Of course! Its creepy to be texting girls while you're naked!”
“So you didn't mind the picture? Ah, how cruel, wanting me to keep quiet while you observe my naked body.” Its pushing it a bit far, but I take my time and type out a long message to tease her with. Then, my phone is silent. Even though I type slower than Aoi, its not enough to let Kazue send before I let my arm drop over the side of the tub again. A bit of my glee fading away as I relax in the water.
Aoi's reply actually comes before Kazue's. I flip open the phone to read it with a playful smile. “That isn't what I meant Onii-san. Couldn't you get in trouble for something like this? Its harassment.” Harassment? How so? I sit there for a few seconds trying to decode how sending her a picture as she asked me too is harassment and can't figure it out. Maybe I'm just dumb.
Its Kazue's eventual response though that's most shocking. The moment I read it, my jaw drops and I feel myself growing aroused just a bit. “Send me one. Waist down.” Maybe the time it took was more her working up the courage to send it. I can see that happening, especially Kazue. She sure has a bold streak...
So, do I do it? “Isn't that a big dangerous?” I send back, heart pounding a bit. I forget about Aoi's reply for a moment, letting myself sink into the water just a bit. Remembering that I'm still texting her calms me down just a little, so I grab out my phone to reply. Suddenly, I understand how I could get in trouble doing something like this. “I don't think you'd let me get in trouble Aoi, even if I wanted too.” I decide to reply, now comparing the two girls in my head. Kazue's response comes back just as I send the message to Aoi.
That was a lot faster than the first one. This one is a picture message, and though I get excited for a moment, its not dirty. Just like Aoi, she has some kind of witchcraft power to make herself look good, though she took hers on her own. “Don't chicken out. You show me yours, I'll show you mine...?”
Wow. This certainly was getting dangerous. Kazue was the same age as my sister. True, I was sixteen and underaged, but as the elder one and the male here I was in line to get into a lot of trouble for this one if I did as she suggested. I was supposed to know better.
“Aren't you with Aoi right now?”
I feel like I'm chickening out right now, just a little. Shuji for sure would berate me for not just doing it immediately were it not his sister. But I'm too scared to just take that kind of picture and send it, even if I am in pretty decent shape right now. In the meantime, Aoi has sent me yet another speedy reply. “You should just have more self control....”
I hate how these two conversations tie in together like this. Kazue sends back a reply while I slump into the tub, but I ignore it for now. Thinking this through. It wasn't like me and Aoi were officially together yet, but at the same time it seemed kind of... dumb. Risky, to just be trading dirty pics with her and my sisters friend while they're in the same room.
Eventually I lift the phone up to look at the message, three more came while I had my head under the water. I blink a few times, turning on the vibration so I'll feel it next time. Then, I read the message out of the four from Aoi first.
“Say, me and Kazue are going to watch a movie now as soon as she's ready. I'll text you tomorrow, okay?” As soon as she's ready? I text back a quick affirmative and check the messages from Kazue. As it figures, picture messages. I feel my face turning a deep red as I open the first one. Her in a bra....
Then one of her topless, standing in front of the mirror.
Lastly... her just in her regular pajamas. I let out a sigh as I read the caption. “How cute are they? You were too slow, so I had to get dressed.... Say, I heard a bit from Aoi about Sunday, can we meet the day before somewhere?” I raise my eyebrows. So Kazue knows now? I take a moment to examine her nude chest before replying to her.
“The pajama's are adorable. Saturday sounds good I guess. Lets talk about it tomorrow morning.” Its probably a good idea, I realize. Kazue may give me some idea what to expect from Aoi. Even if their personalities are exorbitantly different in nature.
As soon as I've sent out that last text, I realize that I'm done texting both of them, apparently. Only then do I remember the text from that stranger I got on Aoi's old number. Flipping my phone to that message, I type out a quick reply.
“No, probably not... wrong number. Sorry.”
Then, I soak for awhile. Just as I'm considering the pro's and con's of masturbating to Kazue's photo in here, as opposed to my room, I hear Kaname's voice echo into the bath.
“Just how long do you plan to take in there!”
Does she need to use the bathroom...? No, she'd use the one upstairs. I slump a bit, puzzling out why she's bothered by me still being in here as she stomps back to her room. The shower isn't on, so it wouldn't be the sound. The only thing I can think of is that she wants to see me for some reason.
I'm a bit trigger shy when it comes to masturbating anywhere near my sister, so all thought of that flew from my mind the moment I heard her voice. Just a little annoyed by the turn of events, I leave the bath, dry off, and get dressed in my pajamas. I would just wear boxers and a shirt, but Kaname made a big deal about me being in my underwear before, so now I wear these weird really soft black pajama's she got me with my mom, separated into pants and a button down shirt. I have to admit, they're incredibly comfortable.
I trek to where our rooms are, then knock on Kaname's door without hesitation. A few moments pass and I open her door, finding her room empty.
It takes me a moment then, to realize the next likeliest place. A chill going down my spine, I open the door to my own room.
“Did you just go in my room?”
Her voice comes from my bed the moment I open the door. I blink at her a few times, in her own pair of pink pajamas, and walk in. “Well, I assumed you needed to talk to me, or ask me something.” I move to take a seat in the desk chair, assuming it was something like before, but she grabs my wrist.
“Arata....” She has a shy blush on her face, staring at me. “Its... been awhile, but....” Her voice shakes just a bit. The way it always does when she says something while embarrassed, or admits she did something wrong. “Can I sleep in here tonight?”
For a moment, the blood feels like its draining from my face. Then the most conflicting sensation possible, and I know I'm blushing. Free hand moving up to cover my mouth, I look away as if considering the idea. “What happened before....”
“Don't worry! I won't do anything like that!”
I pause. “No funny business?” I narrow my eyes at her.
“...” Her pause makes me feel uncomfortable. “Don't say it that way, makes me sound cruel.”
“Its not like anyone's here to judge you based on what I say....”
“I won't do anything mean.”
I figure that's as close as I'll get to an agreement with her. With a certain amount of fear about her reaction if I said no, I agree with a short nod. The enthusiastic smile that appears on her face is almost heartwarming. I set my phone on the desk, making sure to lock it first, and then close the door to my room. She's sitting up, as if she expects me to embrace her, watching my every move.
I let out a heavy breath and sit on the corner of the bed. One look at her tells me I won't get away with trying to face away. I let out another sigh before pulling the covers and inviting her over. Then, I pull her under my arm as I tuck them up to her neck.
She presses herself to my chest with a childish smile. Despite myself, I smile too.
Times like these remind me of when we were both younger, and unfortunately in love. I tell myself that those times have passed, though a certain nagging sensation claws at the back of my mind. Kaname blushes far too much around me, and it may just be unhealthy for her to both sleep in the same bed as me, and also for me to be the only guy she trusts. By morning, I've forgotten about all of those worries though, seeing once again that innocent smile on her sleeping face.