Putting Theory into Practice
[Sequel to Seeking Advice]
Akari had asked to come over today, and Yui was pondering what she actually wanted to do when she arrived. Kyouko’s “lesson” in how to date someone had been… very Kyouko. Half of what had been said Yui would have preferred to not hear, but at least it was only half. Which probably meant Kyouko had genuinely been taking things seriously, at least by her own standard.
There had been good advice in there, or at least Yui assumed it was good advice. It’s not like she actually knew, she could only guess. But some of it made sense. And some of it was a bit advanced for her. Kyouko had gotten really into talking about kissing, to the point where Yui got worried she’d offer to help her practice. Thankfully it didn’t go that far. You should give your first kiss to the one you love, right? Either way, that felt like a ways off yet. There were other things that should come first, at least that’s what she believed. Even if she wasn’t exactly sure what those things were.
Now she was pondering what to make for Akari. Since she was coming over, it was only right that Yui made her something to eat. Both as a good host, and as a good… girlfriend. Even thinking about that word made her blush. Somehow Akari was able to actually say the word, which made Yui feel like a bad senpai.
Were there romantic foods? Probably. A movie she had watched with Kyouko once involved spaghetti, but first off that had led to kissing, and secondly she didn’t have any spaghetti.
Better to make something safe. She had everything she needed for curry. With a little more warning she could have planned something different, but this one was unlikely to disappoint.
About an hour and a half later Akari was finally at Yui’s door. After she had gotten the okay on coming over, she had wanted to prepare as much as possible. If only Akane still lived at home, maybe she could have helped out. Akari had sent her a text to maybe get some more tips, and she had gotten a reply that basically said three things: Give Yui time to prepare; dress cute; and Akari was allowed to borrow some of the perfume Akane had left behind. She hoped she hadn’t overdone it, as she had never used perfume before.
Gathering all of her courage, she rang the doorbell. Hopefully her clothes were cute enough. She was wearing what she thought was her best dress, one Akane had helped her pick out last time she visited.
When Yui opened the door, she stopped and stared. She had of course had a shower, and cleaned herself up nice, but she hadn’t thought to dress up much. A clean pair of trousers, and a nice sweater was as far as she got. And what was that sweet smell coming from Akari?
“Um… h-hi Yui-chan. Can I come in?” Akari asked when Yui wasn’t saying anything.
“Huh?” Yui snapped out of it. “Oh, yeah. O-of course,” she said, and stepped aside so Akari could come in, then closed the door behind her. “You look nice.” Yui smiled at Akari, who beamed back at her.
“Thank you!” Akari replied. That one compliment was enough to make all her effort feel worth it. “You don’t think it’s… too much?” she had to ask even so. Yui shook her head.
“Of course not,” she said, and they walked in towards the living area.
“Something smells good,” Akari said as she sniffed the air. It took Yui a moment to realise she meant the food, since the way Akari smelled was very much on her mind. Was Akari wearing perfume? Should Yui have worn perfume? Yui didn’t own any perfume, but maybe she should get some.
“I made us dinner. I hope you’re hungry,” Yui said. She had already set the table, and had everything ready. Kyouko had said something about setting a “romantic mood”, but Yui didn’t know what that meant. So it just looked like it normally did. “Please have a seat,” she said, and Akari sat down while Yui moved the food over to the table.
“Ooo, curry! Feels like it’s been a while since I’ve had your cooking, Yui-chan,” Akari said as Yui scooped it onto a plate for her. It had probably been at least a month. Time flew by so quickly.
“I guess so,” Yui said, and sat down herself. “Let’s eat.” She was hungrier than she thought, and immediately began eating. Akari smiled at Yui before she started herself. It was quite good, as always.
“It tastes good,” she told Yui, who couldn’t help but feel some relief at hearing that.
Once they were done with the first plate, Yui felt it was time to speak up.
“Um… Akari?” she said to get her attention. Akari had started to refill her plate.
“What is it, Yui-chan?” she asked. She had something she wanted to say as well, but she wanted to wait until they were fully done.
“Well… you see, I was thinking,” Yui started. She was feeling a little nervous about this. “N-now that we’re dating… maybe you could… I mean, if you want to… maybe just call me Yui?” she asked, causing Akari to stop reaching for the ladle.
“Um… w-what?” Akari said. She looked at Yui, and they both started blushing.
“It… it’s just, that’s a couples thing, right?” Yui said, a little unsure. “Calling each other only by our g-given names?” She had meant to sound more confident, but ended up making every line sound like a question. “Yui-chan is what I was when we… we were just friends, but now we’re… more. So… er…” Her blush was growing stronger and stronger. Dammit, she had been so determined to keep her cool.
“Oh, I… I g-guess that makes sense,” Akari said. She hadn’t even thought about that. Yui-chan was Yui-chan, but it made sense that things were different when they were dating. That was part of why she had sought advice, that she wanted things to be different. More… dating-y. And if this was one step towards that, then she should try. Be brave, Akari! “Okay, Yui-ch-” Ack, she nearly messed it up immediately. “Yu… Yui.” She felt so warm she had to grab her glass of water.
“G-good. Thank you,” was all Yui could think to say. There was a strange fluttering in her stomach.
They went quiet as they finished their meal, both needing a bit of recovery time from blushing so hard. The silence stayed as they were cleaning up afterwards, but once they were done, Akari felt ready to bring something up too.
“So, Y-Yui.” That still felt weird to say, but she was sure she’d get used to it. Akari could do it!
“Hm?” Yui replied. It felt weird to hear it too, but it made her happy at the same time.
“I-I have also been thinking about something,” Akari said shyly.
“About what?” Yui asked as she was drying her hands.
“Come sit down first,” Akari said, already heading for the couch. She gave Yui a determined look once she had sat down, and Yui got the feeling it was something very serious.
“O-okay,” Yui said, and made her way over. She sat down by Akari, though not too close. “What is it?” She was doing her best to suppress her nerves. Akari mustered all her courage before she continued.
“I realise this is a big step,” she started, causing Yui to swallow involuntarily. “But I think it’s time. Akari is ready.” Yui desperately wanted to ask ‘ready for what’, but held her tongue. Akari was clearly not done. “So… Yui… will you hold my hand?” Akari held out her hand towards Yui, who stared at it. It was shaking just a little bit.
Yui’s mind was buzzing. Part of her wondered if there was more to it, but she agreed that this was a pretty big step in and of itself. They had barely touched each other since the night she confessed, and now to start with such an intimate thing. Her mouth felt dry. It felt like a natural next step, but it was also a significant one. Their first physical confirmation of the new bond between them. This was important.
Akari was starting to interpret Yui’s lack of response as a bad thing, but then Yui carefully reached out and gently took her hand. It was soft, and felt warm. It squeezed hers slightly. The relief Akari felt was palpable. She hadn’t even noticed how tense she had gotten until it melted away. Her smile was so bright Yui would describe it as blinding. They had done it. Their first big step.
After marvelling at the feel of Yui’s hand for a minute, Akari decided to scoot closer. Yui blushed a little deeper as Akari closed in, but she didn’t move away. Soon enough they were side by side, just short of leaning against each other, and Akari placed her other hand on top of Yui’s. The perfume was really easy to smell this close. Akari had maybe used a bit much.
“Will… will you hold my hand when we go outside too?” she asked, and Yui blinked. She had completely forgotten that part, and it took her a moment to think to reply. While it sounded like a really embarrassing thing to do in public, this was one of the few things she was absolutely sure couples did. Akari was looking at her expectantly.
“Y… yes,” Yui answered. “I… we should do that.” Akari beamed happily.
“I… I love you, Yui,” she said, swept up in her happiness. She was so proud of herself for being brave, and taking initiative, that it took her a moment to realise that was the first time she had said that out loud. Yui had of course realised as soon as Akari said it, and was a little stunned. Though the way Akari was now turning red enough to match her hair brought a smile to Yui’s lips.
“I love you too, Akari.” Yui felt so happy that her embarrassment didn’t even register.
“Akaza-san and Funami-san? Really?” Ayano couldn’t hide her surprise.
“I know, that was my first reaction too!” Kyouko said. She had decided to tell Ayano all about it, since keeping it to herself was far too difficult.
“Well, I’m sure they’ll be a cute couple,” Ayano said with a smile. In truth, she was deeply relieved. She had noticed Yui’s misery during the first year of high school probably better than Kyouko had. And she was fairly certain she knew why, because she recognised the way Yui would look at Kyouko, even if Kyouko was oblivious to it.
It pained Ayano to see it, but she was not about to give up on Kyouko. Not after everything they’d been through in middle school, and how hard she had worked to confess in high school. She had given it her everything, and Kyouko had agreed to go out with her. Kyouko could be a bonehead at times, but Ayano couldn’t stop loving her regardless. Even when she stole pudding and ice cream.
Yet had it come down to it, had Yui decided to confess, and tried to sway Kyouko… Ayano was worried it wouldn’t have gone in her favour. Or that if it had, that could have meant the end of the friendship between Kyouko and Yui. Even if that friendship had become pretty rocky anyway.
Ayano had tried to stop looking at Yui whenever she went to have lunch with her and Kyouko. In a way she had gotten used to it. And she had also noticed when Yui started changing this year. She had noticed that Yui wasn’t looking at Kyouko the same any longer, but it had flown her by that Yui’s eyes had drifted to Akari instead. She had thought that maybe Yui was just getting over it. Ayano also had trouble noticing Akari sometimes, even when she was right there with them.
To learn that Yui had found someone else, and personally seeing how she had changed, made Ayano very relieved. She might still remain a little bit wary, but she was glad Kyouko had gotten her friend back for real. Imaging a rift like that happening between herself and Chitose was an unpleasant thought.
“They’ll be fine, especially with my help!” Kyouko declared in her usual confident manner, and it brought Ayano’s thoughts to a halt.
“Your help?” she had to ask.
“Yup! Yui sought my sage advice about what to do when dating someone. I’m her love senpai, after all,” Kyouko’s grin only deepened Ayano’s sense of dread.
“Wait, what? What did you tell her?” Ayano couldn’t help imagining the worst.
“Well, we covered the basics. You know: calling each by given name only, decent places to go, things to do,” Kyouko said. Ayano hoped that was everything, but Kyouko kept going. “I gave examples of affectionate things to say to one another. Some thoughtful behaviour. How to cuddle properly, and where your hands should go when hugging.” Kyouko was oblivious to her girlfriend’s darkening mood. “I was really thorough on the subject of kissing. You know how easy that is to get wrong. And I wanted to teach her more advanced techniques, but she didn’t want to hear about that. Weird, huh?”
“To-shi-nou Ky-ou-ko,” Ayano said slowly in a dangerous tone. Kyouko finally looked at Ayano’s face, and saw her smouldering gaze.
“W-wait, are you angry? Why? What did I do?” Kyouko asked, and started slowly backing away. Ayano only used her full name when she was upset these days, but Kyouko wasn’t sure what she had done this time.
“You should know!” Ayano yelled. How could Kyouko not know? “You can be such a jerk! I hate you!” She stormed off before she did something she was going to regret.
“Ayano! Wait! Tell me what I did!” Kyouko went after her. Was Ayano upset that Kyouko had helped Yui? She thought she had done a good thing, like a responsible love senpai. “Ayano!”
“Stop following me! Go think about what you’ve done!” Ayano yelled without slowing down.
“But I can’t do that if you don’t tell me!” Kyouko yelled back.
“Kyouko, you’re an idiot!” Ayano would have to come up with some suitable punishment.