Tourists For a Day
[Sequel to A Hot (Spring) Evening]
While the option to stay at the inn all day was on the table, they decide to go sight-seeing instead. They have the whole day open after all.
After getting breakfast, they go to visit a local shrine first. Aoba really wants to wish for good luck in reconciling with her mother. Hifumi also wishes for things to go well for Aoba with her family. And in a similar vein for things to go well when she breaks the ‘news’ to her own.
They stop by the collection of charms for sale on their way out. Aoba isn’t normally a particularly superstitious person, but seeing if there’s anything that fits her current situation couldn’t hurt.
While Aoba’s looking, Hifumi ends up idly browsing the relationship ones. ‘Long and healthy’ … ‘Passionate’ … ‘Ever-lasting’ … ‘Betrothal’ … Hmmm, she thinks. It’s not the first time that last one has entered her mind. She knows it may be too early to bring it up, though.
Aoba finds one that says ‘Good family relations’, which is close enough. She gets that one, and they move on. Hifumi considers trying to sneak in the ‘Betrothal’ one, but she doesn’t want Aoba to catch her doing it.
Aoba takes Hifumi’s hand, and enjoys the warmth of it. There wasn’t any snow in the city right now, but there is out here. Not a lot, but a thin layer is covering most things. Gently they intertwine their fingers and walk towards the centre of the town to look around. They should find some souvenirs, look for any interesting sights, take some pictures, and eventually get some food.
Aoba also wants to walk by the river to see if there are any ducks to feed. Hifumi giggles at that suggestion.
“You really are like a kid at times,” she teases. Aoba pouts, which doesn’t make her seem any less so. “Don’t worry, it just makes you seem cuter,” Hifumi says, clearly amused. Aoba isn’t sure if that makes her feel any better.
The town doesn’t really have that much going for it, if they’re honest. There’s the hot springs, a few statues, the shopping district, and a park area that probably looks nice during Spring and Summer. So it seems like the main draw of the place is the hot springs, and the shopping. The shopping district is actually pretty good, and they see several nice-looking shops outside the main district as well. There might not be a lot of visitors this time of year, but most shops are still open. Maybe partly because of Valentine’s approaching. There’s still three weeks left, but…
Aoba suddenly wonders how Valentine’s works when you’re a couple. It would have to be homemade chocolates, right? But it’s not like you can make those in secret if you’re living together, which she really hopes they’ll be doing by then. Or maybe when you’re at that point, you have to buy the chocolates to make it any sort of surprise? This may be something worth looking up online.
Getting some nice pictures isn’t that hard. They’re mostly of each other, or the two of them together. Hifumi manages to snap a picture of Aoba having just bitten into a steamed bun. It reminds her a little of Sojiro, so she’ll treasure that one.
With little else to do, they end up gravitating towards the shopping. There’s a couple of places that sell yukata. It might be a little cold for those this time of year, but it might be nice to have a new one for summer. And they could wear them at the inn. The ones they brought aren’t exactly new.
They end up getting one each, though it takes a fair amount of looking and trying on to find ones they’re comfortable with. They also look at some other clothes, finding some neat shirts, and a hat. No changing room shenanigans this time.
As they’re looking around, Hifumi thinks about having a more formal kimono made. For… future purposes.
After feeling satisfied with getting stuff for themselves, and taking a quick snack break, they start looking for souvenirs to bring back. Aoba looks for some for her parents, and for Nenecchi. Otherwise it’s mostly about finding stuff for their friends and coworkers.
Once they’re done, they’re so loaded down with stuff they decide to go back to drop it off at the inn before walking around any further.
Aoba thinks about things as they walk. Nenecchi is the only one she has told about her and Hifumi dating. She had told her friend about a month after she had confessed to Hifumi. Well… the only one until she told her parents. But now that they know their friends at work have figured it out…
“Hifumi,” she says, and Hifumi glances over at her. “Do you think we should just officially tell the people at work about us on Monday?”
“I… I guess…” Hifumi replies hesitantly. “I don’t know.” While she has become comfortable talking to Aoba about as easily as she can talk to people over text messaging, she’s still not that good at talking to anyone else. Even Hajime and Yun. She has gotten better, but her main instinct is still to retreat.
“It’s just…” Aoba works to collect her thoughts. “I feel bad now that we know they know. As if we should have told them sooner.” Another thought occurs to her. “Maybe… maybe that’s also part of why… my mother is upset… that I didn’t tell her sooner…” Hifumi squeezes Aoba’s hand reassuringly.
“Maybe,” she says. “But it’s not like we can change that now.” They hadn’t intended to keep their relationship a secret. Not really. There just somehow has never seemed to be a good opportunity to bring it up. Aoba has been worried about what people, her parents especially, would think. She’s ashamed of those thoughts, but that hasn’t made them go away. Hifumi has never been great at opening up in general, and hasn’t felt right about pressuring Aoba to do so.
It’s something they probably should have discussed earlier. It’s just never actually happened until now.
“Perhaps we’re just bad at this,” Aoba says with a bit of levity, trying to lighten the mood, and thankfully Hifumi giggles. That makes her feel a little better herself.
“I suppose so,” Hifumi says. “It’s not like we’ve had any practice, after all.” Aoba giggles too, and leans gently against Hifumi for a moment.
They drop their stuff off at the inn, and head back out. Aoba gets to feed the ducks in the river, they do a lazy round to get the sights seen, take more pictures, and just generally take it easy in the fresh air.
By dinner-time they’re back at the inn, and figure it’s probably best to stay there for the rest of the day. It’s getting even colder as it’s approaching evening, and they can get a get in the outdoor bath before it gets dark.
There’s something undeniably different about getting into the warm water when the air outside is so crisp. A couple of other guests are already there when they arrive, some slightly older ladies. It’s a roomy bath though, so Aoba and Hifumi easily find their own corner. It feels especially wonderful for their feet. Neither of them are really used to walking around for a whole day.
They get the idea to rub each other’s feet, though Aoba is quickly banned from touching Hifumi’s feet when she can’t resist tickling her. Even though Aoba promises to be nice from now on, Hifumi doesn’t rescind the ban.
Back at the room they end up just flopping down next to each other on top of the futons. Aoba rolls halfway on top of Hifumi to get within kiss and cuddle range. Hifumi always tastes sweet.
“So, we have to go back again already tomorrow,” Aoba says, while Hifumi is running her fingers through Aoba’s hair.
“Yeah,” Hifumi says sadly. “Today went by really quickly.” She pulls Aoba down to snog her properly.
“Mhm… I had a lot of fun,” Aoba says between kisses.
“Me too,” Hifumi replies with a smile. “We should do this more often.” They both know they can’t really afford that. “Now sit up.”
Aoba reluctantly does so, and they get their brushes. Best to get that out of the way. She likes doing Hifumi’s hair, but she really wanted to keep going there. That’s twice now she’s seen Hifumi nude in two days, and not gotten to do anything. Okay, it was her own fault for falling asleep yesterday, but even so.
“Could you go get us something to drink tonight?” Hifumi asks once they’re both done. “I’d like some pineapple juice.”
“Sure,” Aoba says, and gives Hifumi a quick kiss before getting up. As soon as Aoba shuts the door, Hifumi goes into her bag. She has indeed brought the lewd underwear Aoba bought her, and figures now is as good a time as any to reward her by wearing it. It may have just been a joke gift to embarrass her, but why not at least try it once?
By the time Aoba returns, Hifumi has managed to get her yukata back on.
“I have a surprise for you,” she says once Aoba has closed the door and put down the drinks.
“Oh?” Aoba looks over curiously, and Hifumi undoes her yukata to reveal what she’s wearing underneath. Aoba’s eyes go wide, and she turns red. A very satisfying reaction.
“W-what do you think?” Hifumi asks. It is still rather embarrassing to wear.
“U-um… er… I… y-you look way hotter in that than I expected…” Aoba stutters forth, and gulps. Hifumi isn’t entirely certain if that’s a compliment, but she is nonetheless enjoying having this effect on Aoba. She beckons her girlfriend over.
“Well? Are you just going to stand there?” she asks. Aoba snaps out of her daze, and starts undoing her own yukata as she walks over. She doesn’t have to be asked twice.