Silly Lilies 4: Silly Symphony
[A/N: The Sillyverse is growing complicated.]
Ruby is almost ready to go, and Dia is fretting.
“Be home by nine, okay?” Dia says while her sister is finding her jacket and shoes.
“I don’t think I’m gonna stay that long, Dia,” Ruby replies. She doesn’t understand why Dia is making such a big fuss. She’s been to visit friends before several times. Okay, pretty much only Hanamaru, but just because she is going somewhere else for once…
“Do you have everything? Wallet, keys, phone?” Dia asks next. She keeps telling herself there’s nothing to worry about, but she still remains worried. Part of her wants so very much to tell Ruby she isn’t allowed to go, but that might just make Ruby upset. Even if it is for her own good.
“Yup! All in my purse,” Ruby says cheerfully. She is actually a little excited to see Riko’s house. She’s been to Chika’s family’s inn before, and since they’re right next to each other, at least she knows where it is. But in a way it’s almost like an adventure.
“Make sure you don’t lose your phone. And call me immediately if something happens. Or if she tries something,” Dia says, doing her very best to keep calm. Her very best isn’t very good right now.
“What do you mean ‘if she tries something’?” Ruby asks, genuinely confused. While Dia had explained several things to Ruby, she has to admit she doesn’t actually understand much of it.
“Er…” Dia freezes for a moment. “A-anything you don’t like, or don’t agree with. If something like that happens, call me. I’ll come pick you up right away.” Riko is a nice girl. Surely her motives for inviting Ruby over are entirely pure. Dia tells herself she can trust Riko. Riko’s not like Mari. So why is she still so anxious?
“Dia, please. I don’t know what you’re so worried about,” Ruby says. “I’ve visited friends before, it’s no big deal.” She is enjoying trying to act like the mature one for once.
“I’m not… worried,” Dia lies, then sighs. “Just… don’t hesitate to call me. For any reason. Okay?” She presents her best smile to Ruby.
“Okay, I promise,” Ruby says, and hugs her sister. “I’ll see you later!” She heads out the door. Dia ends up standing there for a while, sorely tempted to follow Ruby. Just in case. Eventually she walks back into the house. Time to keep vigil on her phone.
Arriving at Riko’s place, Ruby is filled with nervous excitement. She glances over towards the Takami inn, and wonders for a moment if Chika is home. Then she turns her attention back to Riko’s house. It’s not as big as the Kurosawa residence, but it looks nice. There’s even two floors! Okay, enough standing around. She walks up and rings the doorbell.
On her way over she thought a little about what might have made Dia act so weird. Even now the answer eludes her. Perhaps it has something to do with what they talked about the other day? She could ask Dia when she got back home, but she seems evasive on the subject, and her answers are hard to understand.
The door opens, and a woman Ruby can only assume is Riko’s mother stands there. She can certainly see the family resemblance.
“Ah, h-hello,” Ruby says, remembering she should introduce herself. “I’m K-Kurosawa Ruby, nice to meet you.” She bows courteously, and tries to not think about how much she wants to run away and hide. She’s a big girl. She’s prepared for this. “I-is Riko-san home?” she asks.
“Nice to meet you too, Kurosawa-san. Please, come in,” Riko’s mother says with a smile, and steps aside. Ruby gingerly walks inside, and starts taking off her shoes and jacket. “Riko’s up in her room, I’ll go get her. You can wait in the living room.” Riko’s mother heads up the stairs, and Ruby takes a deep breath. She’s doing good so far. This will be fine.
Meanwhile Riko is telling herself much the same in her room. You can do this, Riko. You’re a cool Tokyo girl, she thinks while looking in the mirror. It will be fine, nothing to be nervous about. Just two friends hanging out. When there’s a knock at the door, she jumps.
“Riko, your friend is here,” her mother says from outside.
“I’m coming,” Riko replies. She had heard the doorbell, and figured it was Ruby. Hence why she is so eager to psych herself up. You can do this, she tells herself again, and exits her room. They might go up there later, but the piano is downstairs. She had promised to play for Ruby, after all.
After getting down the stairs, she rounds the corner to the living room, and sees Ruby sitting there. She looks nervous, which oddly calms Riko’s nerves a little. As the older of the two of them, she feels it is probably her responsibility to make Ruby feel at ease. And she can’t help noticing how cute Ruby looks in her skirt, and light sweater. It makes Riko feel hopelessly plain by comparison.
“Hello, Ruby-chan,” she says as she walks closer, and Ruby looks up at her with clear relief. Someone she knows, and might hide behind if need be. She smiles brightly.
“Hello, Riko-san,” Ruby says. Riko takes a seat as close to Ruby as she dares. “You’re looking nice today,” Ruby comments, noticing how Riko’s outfit looks more stylish than what she usually sees her wearing. Truly the power of a city girl.
“You think so? I-I mean, this is just how I normally look,” Riko tries to quickly deflect, as she hadn’t actually wanted it to be that obvious. Ruby completely fails to notice the light pink tone appearing on Riko’s cheeks.
“Hm… no, you definitely look extra nice,” Ruby insists. Riko isn’t sure what to say next, but mercifully her mother comes into the room with drinks and something for them to eat. Some sandwiches Riko helped make earlier, and a couple of rice balls for each of them.
“Dinner is still a little ways off, so you can have these to tide you over,” her mother says. “Will you be staying with us for that, Kurosawa-san?” she kindly offers Ruby, who considers it.
“Um… i-if it’s not a bother, I would love to,” she answers shyly. It’s still a little scary to talk to an adult she doesn’t know.
“No bother at all. I’ll make room for you,” Riko’s mother says with a smile, and Ruby thanks her. “Okay, then I’m heading out shopping. You two can manage on your own for a bit, I expect,” she says to Riko.
“Sure, mum,” Riko replies, wondering if her mother means anything by that. Probably not. They’re just two friends hanging out, after all.
“Dia said I could stay until nine if I wanted,” Ruby tells Riko after her mother is out the door. “Though I don’t know why she thinks it will take that long.” Riko is also a little bewildered at what Dia might have meant, but she wouldn’t really mind if Ruby stayed that long. Or even if she stayed the night.
Ruby ponders Dia’s strange behaviour again, while Riko tries to think of what to say next.
“How was the trip here?” she decides to ask. “Did you find your way okay?” Not exactly the most interesting thing to bring up, but she is drawing a bit of a blank.
“Huh?” Ruby snaps out of her thoughts. “Oh! Yeah, I didn’t get lost at all,” she says with a hint of pride. “I remembered the way to the Takami inn, so it was easy.”
“Ah, right,” Riko says. Of course, Ruby had been to Chika’s place before. “Well, that’s good. I’m glad you didn’t have any trouble.” She watches Ruby bite into one of the sandwiches.
“Oh, this is good!” Ruby exclaims, and Riko can’t help but smile. There’s something soothing about watching Ruby eat so happily, and it takes her a moment to remember to grab something for herself.
Soon enough all that’s left is two rice balls, since neither of them were able to manage more than one. Riko sighs. She probably could have forced herself to eat the other one, and probably would have if Ruby had gone for hers, but she’s glad she didn’t have to.
“So what sort of song have you composed, Riko-san?” Ruby asks, and it takes Riko a moment to remember what she’s talking about. What her excuse for inviting Ruby over was.
“Oh, um… it’s… it’s a little hard to describe, b-but hopefully you can tell when you hear it,” she replies. It’s not like she can just admit her inspiration might have come from thinking about Ruby.
They head into the other room where the piano sits. In there Riko can play without being interrupted, and without interrupting or bothering anyone in the living room too much. Though before she had joined Aqours it had kinda just sat there unused since they moved.
They bring their glasses along, and Ruby takes a seat to listen to Riko play. Riko is doing her best to keep cool, but she can see her hands shaking a little after she sits down. It should be fine once she starts playing, so she sets up her note sheet.
After taking a breath, she places her fingers on the keys. Once she gets going, it really seems to flow effortlessly. The music spreads out across the room, the piece seeming sweet, and warm, yet also a touch melancholic. Ruby has never been audience to Riko playing like this before, and she’s transfixed. It seems almost like magic.
When it’s over, it takes Ruby a moment to realise, and to remember to clap.
“That was wonderful, Riko-san,” she says. Riko lets out a sigh of relief before turning around, and smiling at Ruby.
“Thank you, Ruby-chan,” she replies, and gets up. Now that she’s done, she realises her mouth feels dry, so she heads over to Ruby to get her glass.
“I had never imagined your playing would be like this. It seems so different from how the finished songs we perform are,” Ruby says with open amazement. Both the performance, and the experience of listening to a song without lyrics is new to her.
“Well, it’s not quite done yet, but I’m glad you liked it anyway,” Riko says with a smile, and takes a large gulp. Ruby grins widely, then something occurs to her.
“Hey, Riko-san? Is this a date?” she suddenly asks, and Riko chokes. Ruby pats her on the back until she stops coughing.
“Wha-wha-what? No! What, date? No no, of course not! Of course it’s- we’re just two friends! W-wh-why do you ask?” Riko rambles, her mind having short-circuited.
“Ah, I see,” Ruby says. She’s still no closer to solving this mystery then. “Well, Mari said she wanted to take me on a date the other day, so I asked Dia what a date was. But I didn’t really understand her answer, so I’ve been trying to figure it out.” She crosses her arms in a serious manner. “I thought maybe this was a date, but I guess that’s not it either, huh?” That’s disappointing.
“Um… yeah, haha… of course it’s not a date,” Riko replies sheepishly. “I mean, why would it be? Ahaha… did… did you go on a date with Mari?” she asks, unable to stop herself.
“No. Dia showed up, and she was really angry, so her and Mari ran off. She said something about indecency, but I don’t really get what that is either.” Maybe Ruby could press Dia for more answers, but it might be that she still won’t understand them.
Riko feels relief at Ruby not going on a date with Mari, but she’s also mortified at how she reacted. I blew it, she thinks to herself. She had panicked, and now there is no way she can take back what she has said. Her magazines hadn’t prepared her for this. I blew it.
The rest of the visit passes pleasantly enough. Riko’s mother comes back, and they all have dinner shortly afterwards. Ruby really enjoys the stew. It’s not something they really make in her home. Riko keeps being distracted by that one thought: I blew it.
She ends up showing Ruby her room. Her magazines are well hidden, so no worries there. For Ruby it truly is like an adventure, as the room is quite different from hers or Hanamaru’s. It seems a little more proper. More grown-up, almost. Riko knows that’s just because she was so thorough in tidying up, but she’s still pleased by Ruby’s reaction. Yet the thought won’t go away. I blew it. But she’s able to hold it together until Ruby leaves to go back home.
Then she slowly walks back upstairs, into her room, and sits down at the desk. She bangs her head against it, and groans. “I blew it.”
“Dia, you can let go of me now,” Ruby says. Her sister had come to hug her so quickly Ruby hadn’t even gotten her shoes off. For a while there Dia had been a beacon of normalcy in the weirdness that’s been happening for the past couple of weeks, but now she’s gone weird too. Perhaps it’s contagious.
“Are you sure you’re alright?” Dia asks. She had been so worried.
“This is Uchiura, Dia. Not Tokyo. I was only gone a few hours.” If Dia is going to be like this, perhaps it’s time for Ruby to become the big sister. Though that’s probably not how it works. Ruby hopes she isn’t also going to go weird herself.
“I guess you’re right,” Dia concedes, and reluctantly lets go. “And Riko-san didn’t… try anything?”
“What do you mean by that? You’re going to have to explain,” Ruby insists. Dia realises she might have just trapped herself.