An Artist's Intention

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A Moment to Unwind

I approached Yukio and tapped his shoulder. He shot his gaze up to me, smiling softly, but letting it drop soon after. I could tell none of this was sitting well with him. I wondered what was going through his mind, if he was going to be okay, and if he still had the drive to keep going. I felt terrible for him. Finding out all this information about your siblings from an outside party…I hoped he was going to be okay. There was nothing he deserved more than a second chance.

“Hey, Yukio,” I said. “I think we should call it a night. What say you?”

“Yea, yea, I think that would be for the best.” He stood up, but he began tilting from one side to the other, barely keeping his balance. I grabbed him by his sleeve and straightened him out. He seemed beside himself, his eyes not focusing on anything in particular.

“Yukio? Are you okay?”

“I will be,” he sighed. I wasn’t convinced.

“Are you sure?”

“…yea.” I could tell he was on the verging of crying again. I had to get him out of there. As much as I wanted to bring up all our newfound information, his emotions were pretty much shot at this point. To be honest, I wasn’t too much better.

I wasn’t going to admit it, but the whole instance with Lily was still processing in my mind. I had to put it to the side just to get through this meeting with Mia. Now that that was over, I knew that my biggest priority was getting Yukio to a safe location to be alone. He needed his rest and I needed to get off campus for a little while. I wasn’t going to stay in my room that night, not with Lily’s painting staring at him in the face the entire time.

There was only one place to go, and I couldn’t let my nerves get the better of me if that was the case. I could feel my face grow hot, blush rising in my cheeks. It was going to be the first time I ever asked a guy this question.


“Hm?” He turned to look at me. His eyes were glistening, but his full attention was mine. I began to notice that whenever he was genuinely interested in what another person had to say, he never broke eye contact. If he actively thinking while listening to someone, his eyes were focused on one thing, usually something unremarkable so he wasn’t distracted.

Why did I notice that about him?! Stop! He was still waiting for my question; I forgot I left him hanging there for several seconds while I debated whether or not asking the question was worth it.

Might as well. “Do…do you think…we could, um…I mean, I just don’t think my room is the best place for me right now…and I would hate to leave you alone for the night…but I doubt we could afford a hotel, and---.”

“Yes, Saige, we can stay at my place tonight,” he chuckled. His smile was back, bright and charming as always…stop thinking about it!

“I wasn’t asking that!” I immediately lied.

“Not directly, maybe,” he teased. “Do you want to share the bed or would you prefer I take the futon?”

“Wait, really? I mean, I can take the futon if you want me to.”

“What was that first part?”

“Nothing! I’ll take the bed!”

“I thought you just said---.”

“The bed sounds lovely!” Oh, god…his bed? What kind of sheets did he use? Were they thick? Warm? Would they…why did it matter?! Stop it!

“You don’t seem too fond of the idea,” he commented. “I can probably spare a few dollars to get a room at a hotel somewhere, if that would make you more comfortable. Besides, I owe you for everything you’ve done for me.”

“I haven’t really done anything much.”

“Really? Between sticking with me and then getting Miss Strider to help us out, I’d say you’ve done quite a bit. How about I buy you dinner while we’re at it?”

“I would hate to make you waste your money, Yukio.”

“It’s no waste at all. Come on, my treat.” Taking my hand, we left the art building. Could this be considered a date? Breakfast this morning, now dinner? He was spoiling me. Even so, I think the best thing either of us could use was a distraction. If it came in the form of a hot meal, then so be it. Then, we could go back to his place and relax. That…sounded pretty nice.

*** *** ***

The location he chose was exactly what I had in mind. I’m glad Yukio and I were on the same page when it came to treating ourselves. He ended up taking me to a typical, old-timey diner on the northern shore with rock n’ roll music playing on a surprisingly functional jukebox. Despite the late hour and the fact it was a school night, the amount of people inside did not surprise me. Mostly college students probably getting in their first meal of the day. The place didn’t look like it had passed a health inspection in years, but obviously that hadn’t stopped anyone yet.


Edited: 15.02.2019

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