Before the Love Letters
Shiho Inoue - Six Months Later
"Are you seriously thinking about running away to American just for that Perez chick?"
Nanami Takai, Shiho's voice of reason, had lost it. In a way, Shiho couldn't blame her. It was a decision that Shiho hadn't discussed with her until that very moment. She already knew what her roommate would say and how she'd react, so Shiho hadn't bothered asking her opinion. From the start, Nanami was never thrilled with Jessica Perez, or Shiho's long distance relationship with her.
"London is better than Seattle. Ask anyone." Nanami lowered her eyebrows. "Sure. Maybe you can run over there and get a job as an interpreter... or a Japanese teacher, but what if that glove wearing freak doesn't want you there? Ever thought of that?"
It was a possibility. Shiho didn't know what Jessica thought the on matter yet. All she knew was that graduation was quickly approaching and both of them were ready for the next step in their lives. It seemed like now was the moment for Shiho to make the leap and try to advance their relationship as well. She knew she couldn't stand this 'I'm your girlfriend when I'm with you' situation anymore. They both were in love, and growing up. That wasn't going to cut it anymore.
When Shiho didn't answer, Nanami continued to build her case with another reason. "Also, you don't see her offering to move to Japan to be with you, now do you?"
This was true, but in this case Shiho wouldn't have wanted Jessica to offer such a thing. All this time, her Latina lover had been visiting her in Japan. While Shiho had always planned on making a few trips to the States herself, somehow it never happened. Things came up, it wasn't a good time, or she couldn't afford it just then. While Jessica wasn't short on cash, Shiho never felt comfortable just relying on her. If she was going to visit her in America, then Shiho wanted to use her own money.
So the idea of Jessica moving to Japan was out. She had her own plans on where she wanted her career to go after law school, and Shiho didn't want to stand in the way of that. Since Jessica's ambition was more concentrated than Shiho's it made more sense for her to come to America. Jessica couldn't be a Japanese lawyer or politician, but Shiho could be an interpreter in any English Speaking country.
Besides, there was something else. Something Shiho hadn't told Nanami yet as it still was relatively recent news
"That's not exactly true, Nanami-chan. Jessie's invited me to visit her in America."
"She and her friends are going to celebrate getting their bachelor degrees by going on vacation. Jessie wants me to come with them."
"What?" Nanami exclaimed, then glowered that cute little face at Shiho. "So she wants to have her fuck-buddy by her side at all times, does she?"
"Don't be so crude." Shiho couldn't take Nanami's rudeness anymore. It was her future and the love of her life they was talking about. Sometimes her friend forgot that. "Nanami-chan, I think this means something. I mean, it's always her coming to see me, but now she wants me to come to her... to meet her friends!"
Nanami still didn't seemed impressed by that overture. She always saw things in a different light, and given she also was wealthy like Jessica, she tended to know how other rich people thought. Shiho could tell that in her mind, she felt that Jessica's offer to join her friends on this huge holiday was no big deal.
"Look," Nanami sighed. "you've come to a point in your life where you can't be playing this bullshit game with her anymore. She might have more law school to get through, and you're about to start your future as an international office manager for Fujifilm-"
"I never said I was taking the job in London-" Shiho interrupted but was ignored.
"-and what's more, it's time for you to get a real girlfriend. You know, one you can actually see more than two or three times a year… So I think you should use this trip as a way to tell her goodbye."
Sometimes Shiho hated it when Nanami used logic on her. All her points were valid, minus one. Nanami completely ignored the part where Shiho said she was going to move to Seattle. It was like she hadn't even considered it. Shiho was being serious. This was what people did when they were in love, they made sacrifices. Wasn't Jessica worth taking such a big risk?
"I think I should give her a chance." Shiho said, reminding Nanami about the move to Seattle.
"Shiho-chan…" Nanami shook her head, taking a worried expression, "...she's going to break your freaking heart!"
Hearing that really shook Shiho. Sometimes Nanami could be overwhelmingly shocking on how bluntly she worded things. This time around, it came with sincere emotion. Nanami wasn't just being a brat anymore. She really was worried.
After some hesitation, Shiho spoke simply. "I have to do this. I have to see where my relationship with Jessie stands. This trip will... will tell me that. One way or another, I'll find out how she feels about me."
Nanami looked doubtful, but Shiho knew that Jessica loved her. The question was if Jessica loved her enough to accept a big move like this. She wasn't just talking about moving in, Shiho would be moving to a different country. They would be all-in, they couldn't just be casual about it. Shiho would be risking everything, and devoting her life to Jessica. Could Jessica accept that? It was scary, yes, but could Jessica accept the responsibility of this act? Shiho liked to think she could. Her girlfriend could be a wild party girl, but she had a head on her shoulders. They could work it out if she also wanted the same thing. It was asking a lot, but Shiho felt sure that Jessica was up for the challenge.
"Alright." Nanami breathed out calmingly. "Okay. If you're going to do this, then I'll back you up."
"What do you mean?"
"Fujifilm has a branch in Seattle, I'm sure. So if your sex toy says yes, then... well I'll move to Seattle too."
"Don't try to talk me out of this." Nanami shook that blonde head of hers. "I always was going to move abroad and take a job at one of my father's branches... so it's no big deal. If Seattle is where you've got to be, then that's where I'm going too."
"You don't have too." Shiho couldn't believe what she was hearing. "I know how much you've wanted to move to London."
"I want to be with you more." Nanami said simply. "You take care of me, and... well, you'd be hopeless without me. Besides, both London and Seattle are rainy miserable places, so it's not much difference. They have the Space Needle, London has Big Ben. Same thing."
Not being able to contain her joy, Shiho bent down and hugged her friend. Nanami squeaked at that, but hugged back. However, when they pulled away, the little badger had something else on her mind. "You got that look..."
"It's just..." Nanami gave a small pout. "...if things don't work out with Jessie, I'd like you to reconsider London."
"It's going to work out, Nanami-chan." Shiho told her sternly, even if she didn't know herself if it would.
"Just indulge me." Nanami gave an exasperated sigh. "If it doesn't work out, do you really want to be stuck in the same town as she is?"
"I don't know. I can't really think about that right now." Shiho said, not even wanting to consider the possibility of Jessica outright refusing her. With Nanami there, Shiho didn't have to live in the same apartment. They could just be a normal couple, albeit one where one partner was an immigrate. Jessica could handle that, right?
"Just promise me." Nanami demanded. "I'm doing this for you, so do this for me, okay?"
Giving in, Shiho nodded. "I'll go to London with you, Nanami-chan, but you'll see. Things will work out."
"No they won't," Nanami said darkly. "but I hope I'm wrong."
Continued in Fiona Five: Around the World
A story by Sailor Jane.