Font size: - +
As we pulled our hands apart, we both heard the front door open and someone step inside.
“Yukio, you home?” a female called.
“In here, Sayu!” he answered. Sayu? That must have been his sister. After a moment or so, an absolutely stunning woman walked into the room. She had the same hair as Yukio, but longer. Her eyes were a darker brown framed by thick lashes. She was tall, slender, looked exactly like someone from a magazine. What caught my eye, though, was her uniform.
I recognized it. A waitress uniform from a mainland restaurant called Port’s Choice. She looked absolutely exhausted, rubbing her eyes and yawning as she placed her purse down on the table. When she glanced over and saw me, she appeared confused. At least she wasn’t annoyed.
“Yuki, this a friend of yours?” she asked.
“Ah, yes. Sayu, this is my classmate, Saige. Saige, this is my older sister, Sayu. She actually attended Hoarfrost for three years before deciding to work fulltime.”
“Oh, cool,” I said. I extended my hand to her as I had with Yukio. “Pleasure to meet you.”
“Likewise,” she replied, shaking my hand. “Please, make yourself at home.” She turned to Yukio thereafter. “Yuki, I’m going to go lie down before my next shift. Do you think you can handle dinner tonight?”
“Absolutely,” he answered. “Would you be offended if I asked Saige to join me?” I nearly choke on my water as I took a sip. I was not expecting that. Did he really want to invite me over for dinner? Well, I guess I was already over, but to stay for dinner? Would Yukio be cooking? Part of me was a bit giddy at the prospect.
“I don’t mind. Just make sure you clean up after yourselves. And if she decides to stay over, you get the futon. Be a gentleman.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Stay over? Oh, god.
“Oh, um,” I interjected, “I don’t think I’ll be able to stay over. I should get back to my dorm before too late.”
“You sure? We got plenty of space.”
“I appreciate the offer, but maybe another time.”
Yukio decided to take control of the conversation at that moment. He must have noticed me getting somewhat uncomfortable. If there was one thing I could call his sister, it was direct, maybe even open.
“Say, Sayu, little fun fact: Saige is a junior at Hoarfrost University,” Yukio stated proudly. “Maybe you could give her a few pointers for her art classes.” Though the intentions were decent, the mood shifted instantly.
I didn’t know what it was, I didn’t know if it was the way Yukio said it, but Sayu’s expression froze into one of pure horror. She looked like she had seen a ghost. It took her several seconds to recompose herself, but she didn’t fake happiness or pleasantness. She just glared at me and scoffed.
“You’ll be fine,” she practically hissed. I recoiled a bit. What was that about? “You drink?” Sayu asked me.
“No…not really,” I answered sheepishly.
“We got wine, if you want any.” Sayu left to go to the kitchen, but my sight slid over to Yukio. His posture slumped as soon as Sayu mentioned the wine. He look exasperated, if not disheartened. He turned to me, smiled, and stood up.
“Excuse me for a moment, Saige.”
“Sure.” He left and entered the kitchen with his sister. Awkwardly, I sat and waited for him to return. I took the time to look around the room again, but, let’s be honest, nothing had changed within the several minutes I had spent talking with Yukio. However, when I reexamined the portrait with Yukio and his siblings, I could see something was indeed quite different. It was Sayu.
The beaming woman in the picture was a far unlike the woman I met just moments ago. She was still beautiful, had a more blunt personality than I thought she would, especially when in comparison to Yukio. But there was something off. Exhaustion aside, something about her seemed unsettled, on edge, even unhappy. The way she reacted when Yukio mentioned Hoarfrost was unusual, even for a dropout who may have hated school.
I heard murmuring coming from the other room., or at least muffled voices. I could still hear bits and pieces. My curiosity got the better of me after a moment or so. I stood up and approached the kitchen, staying just out of sight so I could listen in. Yukio sounded beside himself while trying to maintain a cool demeanor. I respected that extensively.
“Sayu, can you not do this. Not in front of a guest,” he begged.
“Why not? I don’t know her, she doesn’t know me.” I heard her take a drink of something followed by the sound of a heavy bottle being set down on a counter. “Why is she even here?”
“Sayu…she saw me.”