Font size: - +
We drove down the campus roads until he were out of sight of the dorms. Oh, god, I hope Elliot didn’t hate me for that. I hoped above all else that he was okay. After a few seconds, we were driving on the road along the shoreline. We were off campus at that point. I glanced to my left and saw Yukio keeping his eyes on the road. I didn’t say anything, not that he would hear me anyway.
With not much else to do or any true reason to object, I sat back and watched the ocean. It was a beautiful day, in spite of everything, and it was relaxing to look at. I didn’t have long to do so, though, as we made a turn on another street that led into the island a bit. It was a somewhat wooded area, but we passed a few secluded houses.
After a few minutes, we pulled onto a path and Yukio began to slow down. The path was gravel, bumping me back and forth in the sidecar. It wasn’t long until we reached a simple white house with a front porch and blue roof. He pulled up in front of a garage and shut off the engine. He got up from his seat and placed his helmet into the compartment underneath. He extended his hand to me and I handed him my helmet as well.
When I stepped out of the sidecar, I was admittedly confused as to what I was supposed to do next. Was I allowed to go inside? Did he want me to come inside? Was that even his house? My questions were immediately answered when he saw I wasn’t following him and he motioned with his head for me to follow him.
“Please, come in,” he said kindly. I complied. Following right behind him, I watched him fumble with his keys for a few moments before opening the front door and stepping in. What I saw was a decorative space with paintings hanging all across the walls. They ranged in styles. There were realistic portraits, Monet-esque, some resembling Salvador Dali, but they were all creative and original creations. Among them were family photographs. I spotted Yukio in a few almost instantly.
Yukio took off his shoes at the door and I mimicked him. He led me down the hall, a short one, where a room to the left was a kitchen and the space ahead opened up to the living room. Rounding the corner, there was a dining table and a set of stairs just beyond that. I had no idea what to think. It was a lovely home, but I was alone with Yukio in his house. What was I supposed to do?
Again, he answered me without having to actually ask the question. He pulled out a chair from the table and offered it to me. I nodded and took a seat. Smiling, he removed his jacket and set it on the back of the couch.
“Do you want anything to drink? Tea, maybe?” he asked. Despite the circumstances, the question came all too naturally for him.
“Oh, um, just water would be fine. Thank you.”
“Sure.” He walked into the kitchen. As I listened to him move around and grab glasses, I observed my surroundings a bit more.
It really was a lovely home, but in that cottage-like way. It wasn’t small more than it was cozy. Everything inside was enough to make it a home without being excessive. The TV was a flat-screen with a gaming system sitting under it. Did Yukio play video games? I saw the stack of games off to the side. Most were story-driven games, a few fighters here and there, and one racer game. Above the TV was a painted family portrait. It seemed recent; Yukio appeared to be close to, if not the same, age he was now.
Then, my eyes glanced over to the other boy. That must have Haruka. He seemed so happy and full of life. I finally began to wonder what happened to him. Did he run off? Did Yukio really come to a different state just to find him? How were his parents taking it? There were so many questions, so many more questions, I was becoming overwhelmed. Beside him was a woman, just a few years older than Yukio, I think. She was beautiful. A sister, maybe?
Before long, Yukio returned with a glass of water. “Thank you.” I didn’t realize how thirsty I was when I took that first sip. I didn’t mean to come off as rude, but the glass was empty within seconds. I don’t think I even took my lips off of it. Yukio chuckled to himself, took the glass, and went to refill it. He brought it back, still smiling.
“Are you okay?” he inquired. I just stared at him. Not exactly sure how I was supposed to answer, I just shrugged.
“I’m sorry, but…I’m just trying to process what’s going on,” I explained to him. He nodded.
“I figured as much. Sorry you had to get mixed up in all of this.” He rested his arm on the table. I saw a wrap from where he was grazed. A little bit of blood was bleeding through. I felt absolutely terrible.
“How’s your arm?”
He glanced at it. “It’ll be fine. Don’t worry about it. It wasn’t your fault.”
“I could easily argue otherwise,” I mumbled into my drink. I don’t think he heard me. “Sorry I forced you to protect me.”
“Don’t be,” he said firmly. “Though, I must admit, I’m a bit confused myself. How did you follow us into the painting?” I just stared down at my water, my eyes filled with mixed emotions.