The Chocolate Crush Cuties

by C.M. Lacey

Part Three: Bonus

30.

There was about two weeks of vacation left, and Akari found herself missing everyone's company. So against her better judgement, she invited all the Chocolate Crush Cuties over to the Odo Onsen for a weekend of hotspring fun. She rarely allowed herself to indulge in her Grandmother's Inn, as it just made her feel bad for imposing, but she felt that something like this would be fine, since she never asked to do anything like this before.

Along with the Cuties, she invited Ayaka, Kasaumi, and Nodoka to come, feeling that she should include everyone. Her cousin had to work however, Kasumi didn't want to hang out with middle schoolers, but Ayaka accepted. Akari wondered how Ayaka would do, hanging out with a bunch of lesbians, but then realized she wasn't a lesbian either, even if she had a girlfriend and had sex with her all the time.

So with the party set in motion, the Cuties arrived. Saya was the first to show up, as she lived so close, so she helped Akari set up for the party. It had been some time that the two really talked, and she felt like a bad friend for neglecting her. But Saya seemed happy these days, so Akari didn't feel too bad.

"Have you and Momo-chan fucked yet?" Akari asked Saya the moment she came into the door.

"Akachan." Saya gave her a rebuking look. "Don't say things like that in front of her, okay? She's sensitive about that sort of thing."

"I won't." Akari promised, but returned back to the matter at hand. "Well, have you?"

"No." Saya said.

Akari scoffed and shook her head.

"We just aren't there yet, Akachan! We're getting close though. The other night I really wanted to go for it, but I didn't want to seem like I was only doing it to reassure her about Midori-chan."

A few days ago, Saya had briefly explained what happened with her ex-girlfriend over the phone. It was more like a progress report than anything, as they were drifting further and further apart. As for their friendship, Akari wasn't sure if she was sad about it or not. It seemed as though Saya had served her purpose in a way. She always would appreciate and like her, but she couldn't talk to her anymore. Now that Saya was happy, she was a different person.

"Maybe tonight things will change?" Akari suggested.

"I'm pretty sure everyone will be wearing swimsuits." Saya spoke with a small since of nervousness there. "I mean, we've all dated each other. I might be weird if we just up and got naked."

Akari gave a shrug. "You never know."

They started arranging the furniture in Akari's room so that they had more room to play around. Akari glanced at Saya's cleavage as the neckline to her shirt was hanging low. She might have small boobs, but she still was pretty cute.

"How's things with Shiorin?" Saya asked out of politeness.

"The same." Akari placed down a table, and the two of them went for a nightstand. "We have this arrangement. It's just sex, it's not a relationship. I think she's okay with that."

"I don't know… I think she's just doing it because she likes you, Akachan. It might be cruel to keep going on like that. Besides, despite what you say, you like her."

"I like her just as much as I like you." Akari point out. "I bet I could kiss you right in front of her and not feel bad about it."

"Well, don't try it. Momo-chan might not look it but she's the jealous type. I saw her temper the other day."

Akari gave a soft sigh. Now that the room was in order, they sat on the futons they laid out and waited for the others to arrive. Akari glanced over to Saya, who was on her hands and knees looking into her bag. Her butt was in the air, and Akari stared at it.

"I brought this bikini." Saya turned around, and sat down, holding it. "What do you think? Is it too much?"

"It's fine because you won't be wearing it. It's impolite to wear that shit in a hotspring." Akari said again.

"We'll have to break tradition in this case." Saya laughed a bit. "Besides, Hayami-san is coming, right? She didn't need a bunch of lesbians drooling over her."

"Maybe she wouldn't mind." Akari shrugged.

But if Saya had anything to say to that, she was interrupted. Shiori and Reni both entered the room. After giving each other the usual greetings, Shiori plopped down next to Akari and took her hand. Reni sat near Saya, still taller than everyone in the room.

"I missed you Akachan." Shiori smiled brightly at her.

"Did you?" Akari gave her a bit of a smile, then distracted her by placing an arm around her shoulder and pulling her close. Now that she couldn't stare at her face anymore, Akari was free to continue watching Saya's side-tail bounce up and down as she laughed at something Reni said.

"D-Do you think bathing in a hotspring is okay?" Shiori asked.

"Hmm? Oh, yeah. Why?"

"Well, we'll be naked."

"Which is normal for a bath."

"I just don't want anyone to look at my girlfriend, is all." Shiori said in a small voice.

"Think of it this way, at least you'll get to see Kohaku and Momo-chan naked as well."

There was a beat between them and she muttered. "I don't want too."

This was starting to get a bit too personal. Shiori promised not to start thinking of her as a real girlfriend. She told her over and over that she wouldn't. But every so often she said things like that. She should be happy that she got to see those girls naked. She could fantasize about them as she used Akari for sex later. At least, that's what she was supposed to do.

Letting Shiori go, Akari pretended to play the host. She really just wanted to get away from Shiori for a moment. Giving her the cold shoulder for a few minutes would remind her of their agreement. Shiori looked at her with a small pained look in her face, sighed, then returned to her normal self.

"Yo." Ayaka announced herself as she came in. Following behind her was Kanako and Momoka. "Is everyone here?"

"Looks like." Akari looked around.

Everyone took their seats, and Akari made a point to sit next to Ayaka for the time being. Shiori glared at her, then tried starting a conversation with Kanako. In the meantime, Ayaka was looking in her own bag, and producing a swimsuit. Akari groaned. Did everyone think they could wear swimsuits at the Odo Onsen?

Standing up, Akari silenced the conversations around the room. "Hello everyone. Let's have as much fun as we can! Let down your hair and strip out of your clothes, we're going to have a crazy party!" There was a round of clapping, but Akari wasn't done. "I know some of you brought swimsuits, but this Inn is sort of filled with traditions. You can't go around wearing those in the hotspring. My family would considered that as an insult. So suck it up, and let it all hang."

Ayaka looked embarrassed. "Are you serious?"

"It's a bath house." Akari told them all. "I'm not trying to be difficult, those are the rules. If you don't want to get in baths, that's okay. But it'll be more fun if we do."

"I'll go." Kanako raised her hand. Everyone looked at her in surprised. "What? I agree with Akachan. Rules are rules."

Reni laughed a bit at this. "I should have known you'd say that."

"I don't mind if no one else does." Momoka chimed in.

Shiori stood up and pulled off her clothes right then and there, glaring an angry look at Akari. No one seemed to notice the look, they were more interested in her boldness. As if being challenged, Akari started taking off her clothes. Seeing that two of them were doing this, Kanako joined, and with her everyone followed suit. Once everyone was undressed, Akari handed them each a robe and a towel. Then without another word trooped them out until the guest spring she reserved.

After they all scrubbed down in the showers beforehand, they all slipped inside the large outdoor bath. Akari could tell most of them were feeling self-conscious, but the water felt so good they seemed to slowly be getting over it. Ayaka took a seat next to Shiori, as she knew her over the others, and Akari decided to give in and sit on Shiori's other side.

"S-Stop being mean to me." Shiori whispered in Akari's ear. She still was angry.

"I'm not being mean. I'm trying to remind you of your promise."

"Hmpt." Shiori snorted. "We're not in a relationship. You keep saying it over and over, it's hard to forget."

"We'll I wouldn't have to if you remembered." Akari said.

"Fine." Shiori spoke in her normal voice. She grabbed Ayaka's arm and clung to her. "Aya-chan, d-doesn't the water feel great?"

Akari wanted to slap the girl. Why was she being so difficult today. Turning from them, she decided to get a few looks at the other Cuties while she had the chance. While Momoka was probably the prettiest among them, it was Reni who had the best body. That probably was because she was the most mature out of all of them. Saya and Kanako seemed pretty equal, and as she was angry at Shiori at the moment, she didn't think she was cute at all.

While she stewed in her corner, she noticed Kanako and Reni engaging in a tickle battle. Everyone stopped to watch them, as Kanako was showing her playful side for once. Because Reni was the athletic one of the two, she would always win, trap Kanaki in a hold and make her giggle like mad until she let her go.

"Aw, the two of you are so cute together." Momoka squealed.

"I'm not that cute." Reni said, but had a small smile on her face.

"You are so." Kanako spoke in her class rep voice, then turned to the others. "Isn't she?"

"Oh yeah, I if I were a lesbian, I'd be all over her." Ayaka teased. Shiori clung on to her all the more. Ayaka turned her gaze from Kanako to Shiori. "Speaking of which, your girlfriend is over there."

"She's not my girlfriend." Shiori said cooly. "We're not in a relationship."

Now it was out in the open. Everyone had heard that, and they all could see the situation. Akari looked at Saya for a brief moment, and saw the girl give a 'I-told-you-so' face. Groaning loudly, Akari stood up and pulled Shiori to her feet. "Excuse us."

With that she took her back to the shower area, feeling her cheeks burn. Shiori was purposely out to embarrass her. What had gotten into her today? Maybe all the naked skin around her had made her go stupid. When she let go of Shiori's arm, Shiori rubbed it, looking seconds around from snapping.

"T-That hurt. Don't tug my arm like that."

"What do you expect? You're acting like a fucking idiot out there." Akari whispered.

"No I'm not." Shiori crossed her arms under her chest. "We're not a couple. I'm allowed to flirt with people if I want."

"They think we are, though-"

"Oh, so we're not a couple, but we are at the same time." Shiori glared at Akari. "Which is it?"

Akari wanted to scream. She didn't need this right now. She had gotten all those girls naked, and if she played her cards right, could get them to do dirty things later on. But Shiori wasn't taking advantage of it. She was acting unreasonable. "We have an arrangement, Shiorin, I told you before we did anything how I felt."

"Well I don't like it anymore. If you're tired of me, just dump me already."

"No." Akari shook her head. "We have a good thing going on."

"It's not good for me." Shiori pointed at her own face. "I'm tired of being just a sex toy."

"But you said… you said you just wanted to just fuck around."

"I did at first. I didn't count on falling for you." Shiori blushed, then rubbed her forehead in disbelief. "I'm such an idiot."

Akari watched her for a moment, feeling conflicted. She always knew deep down that Shiori had feelings for her. But she figured that those feelings were more out of lust than anything. Akari never allowed them to talk anything personal, so it seemed stupid for the girl to fall for her. Yet, there she was, telling Akari that she had fallen for her as if it was supposed to be common knowledge.

"You know what, I'm done." Shiori spoke after Akari hadn't said anything. "I can't take being used anymore. It's like I'm being ra-" But she stopped herself. She almost said word they both avoided saying. "- like I'm being used."

Akari blinked a bit, and held her stomach, feeling her insides pinch from the memory of that day. "Don't compare what we do to what happened to me! It's not the same, not at all!"

Shiori looked visibly sorry, but for once she didn't back down. "I-It might not be the same, but it f-feels like it. Everyday you break my heart, and I'm so stupid that I keep letting you do it. You look at everyone else but me? Aren't I good enough? I give you everything, and you just… you just want to fool around."

"That's not true, I'm not looking at anyone else now." Akari told her bitterly.

"Great. So you finally notice me once I break up with you." Shiori looked down at her naked body, and covered herself up. "I'm such a loser."

"So that's it, we're over?" Akari asked.

Shiori nodded. "I can't deal with this anymore."

"Whatever."

Akari felt her eyes well up. She walked away intending to go back into the bath, but stopped. She didn't want the girls inside to see her upset. She didn't know why she did it, but she turned around and looked at Shiori again. She was standing where she was before, her shoulder trembling up and down, her hands covering her face. She was crying.

Running back over to her, she wrapped arms around her from behind, her heart slamming against her chest in a panic. She was scared. She was scared of losing her. Why? Why did she even care? There were prettier girls out there. She wasn't even a lesbian. But there she was holding Shiori, squeezing her like she was lifesaver while she was rocking in a storm sea.

"Let go of me, Akachan. We're done." Shiori spoke in a desperate voice, trying to squirm away.

"No we're not. We're not over until I say we are." Akari held on to her all the more. Her own voice was choking with tears. And that's when she realized it. She was crying.

"Stop it, Akachan! I can't-"

"Don't leave me, Shiorin." Akari begged. "Please! Give me another chance."

"I gave you enough. I gave you everything." Shiori stopped squirming now, her shoulder trembled all the more.

"Please… Shiorin, Please." Akari loosened her grip and leaned her forehead on Shiori's shoulder. "Just one more chance…"

There was a long moment where both of them cried. Akari couldn't think of anything else but Shiori's sniffling and hiccups. Was she really going to dump her? It seemed impossible now that she was losing her. She didn't realize what she had until it was about to be taken away. When did she become so attached to her? She just was there for sex, nothing more. And yet there was something there. She knew it was there.

"I-I'd be an idiot to take you back." Shiori whispered after a while. "S-So give me a reason. I don't care if it's stupid, I just want a reason."

"Shiorin… I'm in love with you." Akari said without even thinking. It was as if it was the most natural thing to say. Like it was a fact. The soup was hot, ice cream was cold, and Akari loved Shiori.

Shiori's shoulder shook again. "Y-You don't mean that."

"I don't say things I don't mean." Akari said.

"Liar."

"I'll prove it to you." Akari offered. "Tell me to do anything, and I'll do it. I promise."

"Two things." Shiori whispered. "I-I want to you shout at the top of your lungs that you l-love me."

Akari, completely let Shiori go and turned her around. Then she faced the Hotspring and shouted. "I'M IN LOVE WITH SHIORIN!"

"WE KNOW YOU DO!" Ayaka called back.

Shiori squeaked and clasped a hand to Akari's mouth. "I-I didn't mean right now!"

Akari gave a small laugh, and pulled Shiori's hand from her mouth. She felt completely humiliated. "Okay… what else?"

Shiori still pink in the face, looked her in the eyes. "I-It's nothing bad, it's really easy. All I-I want is for you to admit that w-we are in a relationship, that we're a couple. I-I don't want anything else. You don't even have to change for m-me. I just want to know… to know that we're a couple."

Akari took Shiori face in her hands and kissed her. Somehow it felt different than normal. It didn't feel like it was some kind of sexual means to an end. If felt good. Really good. When she pulled away Shiori looked like she wanted more. Akari did as well, but she had to say it. She needed Shiori to know. "We're in a relationship, okay?"

Shiori smiled a bit and giggled. "T-That's all I wanted. I know I'm an idiot, but…"

"No, I was the idiot. I shouldn't have been taking advantage of you."

"S-Stop being so sincere, it's scary." Shiori laughed. "You got me okay? Now let's go back to the hotspring and check out some girls."

Akari blushed and took Shiori's hand. When they rejoined the group, no explanation was needed. It seemed they were all eavesdropping. But Akari didn't care. She felt weird. It was like she was kind of light and floating. And she realized she was smiling. So this was what it was like. She was finally happy. She may have embarrassed herself, but she was happier than she could ever remember. That stupid stuttering pigtailed girl saved her. And just like that, she knew she could finally let go of some of her issues. She was happy and safe.

The End.