Mao walked slowly. She’d left the bus the moment they’d reached Kyoto not pausing to wave Yuya a goodbye but she’d seen him stumble out looking for her and turned her head to indicate one.
She pulled out her phone as it’s familiar beeps sounded through the air alerting those around her as well as herself. “MoshiMosh?”
“Mao...don’t do this.” She recognized the voice easily. Obviously her aunt had told her grandma where she was heading. She didn’t blame her grandmother. She wouldn’t have liked Meisa either.
“Obaa-chan. I have to do this. Now I’m sorry you and Meisa have your differences I really-“
“THIS IS NOT ABOUT THAT! Idiot child.” She could hear the labored breathing of her grandmother and immediately felt guilty for worrying her...and not being by her side. Had she been sick? Why had she not told Mao?
“Obaa-chan..are you sick?”
“You don’t worry about that. That’s not your concern. Or your prerogatives at the moment anyways so don’t pay your grandmother mind. She’s just old and you’re just spoiled.” Mao cracked a small smile at the usual complaints and teases but that didn’t erase her worries.
“Obaa-chan I’m coming home straight after this trip. I promise. What did you want to tell me?”
“Meisa’s career was ruined by your father. When she left him all those years ago he could not take it and he banished her and blacklisted her from every company he had connections with. The girl was ruined. All because she left him standing up for Erika. Last I heard of her she was married to some priest and spent all her time with her family and taking care of their temple.” Wow...that really did not sound like the Meisa that she’d heard about till now. “She won’t want any sight of her past, Mao. I beg you don’t go to her. Not for my sake, but for her peace.”
“It’s not like she’s going to run off again and go crazy obaa-chan. I promise I’m coming back to Tokyo right after this. I don’t want you to stay too long without me.”
“Do you have a place to stay?”
“Yeah I think I do. Don’t worry about me.”
“Promise me something.”
There was a lengthened pause that seemed to last for decades through the phone before Mao cleared her throat. “Bye.”
“Bye.” Her grandmother's voice was weary and as Mao heard the click of the phone hanging up, her guilt resounded in her mind. What was she doing? Why was she putting her old grandmother through this? Why was she putting herself through this?
The last she knew she didn’t have a mother, she didn’t have a father. Why was she spending every free moment of her time working on a project that had nothing to do with her academics but more to do with herself? This was a selfish thesis. The whole idea of becoming a doctor of history was to contribute to the study and the subject. Be selfless and generate knowledge previously hidden away.
She should be on an excavation site somewhere in the Egypt or Turkey. Looking at the histories of empires past. Here she was though. In a city filled with the most beautiful scenery in the world that covered the secrets not of empires past, but her life past.
She set on foot. She didn’t have enough money, but she had a map she’d picked up from the station and she had the address. That would be enough for this day.
And as her feet clicked on the same paths she was sure her mother's had long ago, she remembered the memories that Yui had left her with.
Erika had to admit. Jin had obviously put thought into this vacation and it was welcome. She bounced onto the bed as the hostess of the hotel showed Jin where everything was, emergency numbers, bathroom soaps and liquids, the complimentary tickets to the town show. They were here for the weekend and Erika was going to take full advantage of it. This was Friday night and they were going to go out as soon as the old woman moved the hell out. She hadn’t done anything fun and adventurous, since...well since her father kicked her off Ken’ichi’s movie set. It was getting stagnant and boring.
Soon enough she saw Jin come down to sit beside her on the one sole bed and reflexively hit his back to the bed. She smiled as she bent down to be on level with his eyes. It was a little embarrassing to be honest. To sleep at home on the same bed was now normal, but understood. This bed...well it was a little different she had no doubt in both their minds. This may actually be their turning point in their relationship. The point where they go from being amicable friends who cook to a couple, a real couple.
The idea made her giddy.
“So...what are we doing tonight?” She shot out unable to hold back her thoughts from voicing themselves. Jin turned to look at her from where he was setting their bags down with a raised eyebrow before answering her.
“DANCING?” She didn't leave out the surprise. Never in their two years had Jin even seemed so inclined as a dancer.
“Believe it or not there’s a small Argentinean bar here, run by a tourist who got so enamored with its beauty and culture that he decided to open his small restaurant where he tries to fuse Japanese and South American culture together.” Erika smiled brightly. That sounded perfectly good. She couldn’t help but remember for a moment Death and the Maiden the play set in Argentina. When she’d seen Shota a year ago he’d said that would be his next production but she’d heard nothing of it from Meisa. So perhaps it had halted.
The royal family had been making him work hard at his marriage. She'd seen him in the paper the other day with his blushing bride. They'd looked beautiful. Recent gossip had said that she was glowing so much on their wedding because the girl was pregnant.
She wasn’t supposed to be thinking of inconsequential things like that though. “So what should I wear?” She blurted out discarding her thoughts of Shota.
“Something western most probably, you’ll probably have to wear the Yukata you packed later.” He stretched out looking at the clock on his side. “It’s five.”
“I think we can sleep for a little while. I’m tired. Driving down here was the biggest pain I’ve had in a while. I’ve never been in a car for that long.” She added playing with her hair turning it into a big bun on the back of her head.
“I couldn’t afford the train tickets.” Jin shyly rubbed his hair and Erika felt her heartstrings pull. To be honest, she barely remembered at times how much Jin worked to help support them, separate from her father but it really wasn’t necessary. They all knew things would be easier if they all just molded better.
“It’s okay that’s fine. It was an experience. I’m glad I had it.” Jin’s eyebrows rose as if telling to stop trying to convince him and she simply shrugged laying back down on the bed as he grabbed his towel from the rack in the room.
“I’m going to shower.”
“Better. You were smelling up the bed.”
“Maaaaake me.” She singsong-ed as she heard the door close.
Yeah. This was the life.