High School Sweetheart
Epilogue: Nine years Later
"I don't know why we still do these stupid reunions." Natsume complained, pulling her long blonde hair from behind her scarf.
"Oh hush." Yuriko smiled at her. "If you didn't want to come, you wouldn't show up every year."
She didn't reply to that, but just sniffed somewhat indifferently. Yumiko watched her sister smile sweetly at Natsume, then cuddle all the more into her current girlfriend, Ayane. It was so crazy how passionate Yuriko and Natsume where in high school. They even kept up their love affair until the beginning of University, but like most high school sweethearts, it ended when their interests changed. There still was a great affection between them, which obviously wasn't not lost on Ayane.
"Are you cold, Yu-chan?" Ayane asked, as if reminding her girlfriend she was still there.
"Not with you around." Yuriko smiled warmly.
"Give me a break." Natsume murmured, but everyone laughed.
Yumiko looked beyond the group wondering who else would show up. It was nearing the time that they set out. "Where's Saki-san?"
"She told me she wanted to see speak to him first." Ayane said. "I guess I can't blame her. She's his sister and all."
"Yeah." Yumiko looked at Ayane, concealed in thick sunglasses and a baseball cap. "It must be difficult for you to come out every year like this."
"My managers don't like it. But I have a nice double who pretends to me at some event to detract some attention from where I'm really going."
"I remember the days when you started off as a model." Yumiko laughed.
"Kinda embarrassing." Ayane blushed.
"I still have the BluRay." Natsume smirked. "I watched it the other day… after hunting down my old BluRay player… You're so young!"
"Yeah, well, if it wasn't for that shoot, I wouldn't have been discovered by Toei Company and never would have been considered for The Sleeping Princess."
Yuriko raised her eyebrows. "Don't let her fool you, she still has the famous polka-dot bikini."
"Really?" Yumiko laughed. "Does it still fit?"
"What do you think?" Ayane winked. They all laughed at that.
"Hello everyone!" Running up to them was a very tan Megumi. She looked slightly out of breath as she must of been running for some time. "The train was late."
"I can't believe you showed." Natsume admitted. Coming all the way from South America for this…"
"It's important to me." Megumi said in her usual soft voice, but in between breaths. "I was contacted by Rei-chan, she said she's not coming."
"Big shock there." Yuriko looked bitter. "She's only come twice."
"I really wish she would." Megumi uttered in a small voice. "Saki-chan would appreciate it."
There was a small pause then Natsume clapped her gloved hands. "Well I guess that's everyone. Let's get this over with."
As they walked up a grassy hill, Yumiko told Megumi about the promotion she got at the magazine company she worked for, and Megumi explained something about latest Aztec discovery she was helping the archeological team she joined up with. Natsume was just finishing her story about her son, when they spotted the back of Saki. Her hair was shorter than Yumiko remembered.
She must of heard them, as she turned around and smiled politely at them. She somehow looked younger than all of them, even though technically she probably was the oldest. All that Olympic training kept her in shape and youthful. But she looked her aged at the moment, as her eyes were puffy from emotion.
"Thanks for coming." She told them.
"Wouldn't miss it." Natsume chimed in, which the irony was not missed by anyone. "Your folks come this time?"
"Mama's feeling ill so Papa stayed behind to take care of her." Saki spoked softly, then stepped aside so they could see Satoshi.
His grave still looked relatively new, even if it was nine years old. Yumiko could tell that it must of been visited often by his family. She felt the familiar ball of sorrow form in her throat as she looked at it, vaguely recalling the sound of the screeching tires that had killed him that day. At the time she felt responsible, for not keeping him with her in the hotel room by the beach. But no one blamed her and it took years for her to stop blaming herself.
"I still miss him." Saki whispered. "I wish he was there when I finally went to the Olympics. He would have liked that."
Megumi stepped passed them and held Saki in an embrace. It was heart breaking to hear her cry. Yumiko turned away, letting them have their moment. Everyone's eyes were glassy, even Natsume was visibly wiping her face with the sleeve of her coat. They caught each others eye, and Natsume gave an sarcastic face at being caught. She mouthed a playful 'Shut up' in her direction. Yumiko gave a small laugh and wiped away her own tears.
"Someone should say something." Ayane whispered to Yumiko.
"I don't know what to say…" She admitted and looked at her sister for help. She gave a sad shrug, being as useless as always. Natsume sniffed loudly and shook her head. She couldn't say anything if she wanted too.
"Um… Excuse me." A small voice came from behind them.
They all turned to see who it was, but Yumiko didn't recognize her. She could tell the others were just as in the dark as she was. The girl looked to be either in her late teens or just out of her teens. She was hugging a box close to her chest and was waiting for them to clear a path so she could get through. Ayane and Yuriko stepped out of the way and the girl delicately walked passed them, her cheeks burning from all the attention she was getting. It was a surprise, therefore that she stopped at Satoshi's grave and sat down on her knees.
Yumiko looked at her sister, who gave her the same question look. They both turned their attention back at the girl, who was now placing the smashed box she had carefully in front of the grave, then she gave a tradition bow for the dead. After taking a moment, she rose to her feet, and bowed her head, as if trying to think of something to say.
After a time she said in a clear voice. "Thank you, Mr. Grumpy."
With that, she stepped back, then turned around and left the way she came, her cheeks sparkling from wetness. They all watched her pigtails bounce as she climbed down the hill then walked out of sight. Curious Yuriko left Ayane's side and knelt over the box the girl delivered.
"S-Should I opening it?" No one answered her, so she did anyway.
Lifting the lid, Yuriko gasped and dropped it once as she saw what was inside. She gave Yumiko a knowing look and moved aside so everyone could see. Yumiko leaned forward so she could get a better look and suddenly understood why Yuriko was so effected. Inside was about a dozen pieces of carefully prepared homemade chocolate.