It was time for their next progress meeting, and Umiko was heading for the place where she was meeting Nene. Something had been on her mind regarding these meetings though. Weren’t they sort of like dates? They fed each other ice cream. That’s a date thing. Even using the same spoon. A slight hint of pink manifested on Umiko’s cheeks.
But she knew better than to make assumptions without further proof. Nene was a little younger, and perhaps it’s common for her to do that stuff as just a friendly thing. Perhaps she was oblivious to what she was doing. That was also a possibility. Nene might be a bit childish, but Umiko could admit she was a little charmed by this brash girl. It was easy to feel relaxed around her, especially because of how straight-forward she was.
She smiled slightly as she approached their meeting place, and saw Nene had arrived first this time. Perhaps Umiko should ambush her, but there wasn’t a lot of cover. Had Nene purposefully placed herself as much in the open as possible? Umiko figured she might as well just approach normally.
It’s a nice relaxed morning for Aoba and Hifumi. Actually it’s nearly noon, and they’re having a slightly early lunch because they’re soon heading out to walk under the cherry blossoms.
It has been two months since they moved together now. One month since they moved into a slightly bigger place. They quickly realised Hifumi’s old apartment wasn’t suited for two people living there full time.
[NSFW: Explicit Sexual Content]
[Follow-up to Meeting The Parents]
“Hey, I’m 19 now, you know!” Aoba says loudly as Hifumi, Hajime, and Yun laugh at her.
“Yet still not old enough to drink,” Hifumi teases, and boops her nose. Aoba pouts very grumpily. Hifumi’s not drinking tonight either though. She has plans for later.
“And you’ll always be younger than us,” Hajime says, earning a scowl from Aoba, which just causes her and Yun to laugh even more.
They have all gone out after work today in honour of Aoba’s birthday. There had been a small celebration at lunch-break too, like with Hifumi last week. Then the four of them decided an after-work outing was called for. Kou and Rin unfortunately couldn’t come. Aoba thinks she’s being teased too much, though.
[Sequel to Back to Reality]
Aoba hasn’t completely smoothed things over with her mother, but they are talking again. Her father had kept good on his promise, and the first thing Aoba did after coming home was apologising for not letting them know sooner.
While it’s not like they’re entirely back to normal, things are better. Aoba isn’t entirely sure if her mother is genuinely that disappointed because she is not settling down with a man, or if it was the whole ‘not letting them know sooner’ thing that was the biggest problem. She is aware of the very common ‘oh, she’ll grow out of it’ mindset among people regarding same-sex attraction, and maybe her mother had thought the same until Aoba had dropped this on them.
[Sequel to Tourists For a Day]
It had gotten pretty late before they fell asleep last night, so it’s taking a bit extra to wake up this morning. Neither of them are typical morning coffee drinkers, but this morning it feels necessary.
An early bath doesn’t really help either, since they just relax more. Though splashing themselves with the showers afterwards is marginally effective. At this rate they’ll both fall asleep on the train.
“This is your fault,” Hifumi says groggily as they’re eating breakfast.
“Look,” Aoba says while yawning. “I was feeling rather pent up, and you were so very delicious.” She did maybe go a bit overboard, but she’s not going to admit to that.
[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.
[Sequel to: Heading to the Inn]
Getting into the warm water is bliss. It’s absolutely pitch black now, and while the area around the outdoor bath is pretty well lit, they still decide to go for the indoor one. It’s not as big, but at least no one else is here right now. It’s not really prime time for tourists.
They can both feel aches they were barely aware of starting to melt away. Aoba enters after Hifumi, so Hifumi can get a good look at her as she walks in. Aoba sits down next to her, and sort of melts into the water. Her hand searches for and finds Hifumi’s, though not before ‘accidentally’ brushing against Hifumi’s bottom, eliciting a slight squeak.
[Sequel to Spending the Night]
They are planning to leave right after work today, and Hifumi has noticed that Aoba has seemed a little down all day. Though she can’t tell if it’s the ‘I wasn’t able to talk to them’ kind of down, or the ‘I talked to them’ kind. Maybe best to not bring that up until they’re on the train.
Work is a bit of a situation itself. It’s not like they’ve exactly been trying to hide that they’re dating. Hajime and Yun have probably realised. Just like they’re all sure that Toyama-san and Yagami-san have been together for at least as long as Hifumi has worked here. But Aoba and Hifumi haven’t brought it up, either. They’re not really sure how to, unless they get asked first. Or unless they have some big announcement…
[Part 1 of Not A Game, based on/sequel to Night at the Office]
Hifumi unlocks the door when they reach her place, and they both head inside, making sure to lock behind them.
“Sojiro, I’m home,” Hifumi says before taking off her shoes.
I can’t wait to get out of this suit, Aoba thinks. She has become quite the frequent visitor to Hifumi’s place in the past couple of months. She even has some stuff of her own here permanently. Officially moving in together would be the next logical step, but…
She lines up her shoes neatly alongside Hifumi’s and smiles.
“Do you want anything to eat before we go to bed?” Hifumi asks. She is loosening her collar and undoing the top button while heading into the kitchen. Aoba takes off her jacket and places it on a coat hanger.
Hifumi is working overtime tonight. Getting these designs modelled now will make sure she has free time this weekend. Which will be really nice considering some plans she wants to make.
A private message pops, and she clicks on it: “Hey, Hifumi-senpai. How is the work going?” It’s from Aoba, at the desk behind her. Hifumi smiles, and types a reply.
“I’m mostly done, though I feel like I am starting to see double.” She hits send, and looks back at her progress. It’s really not that much left. If she pushes herself a bit now, she might finish within the hour.
Another message pops. “It’s just us left in the office, you know.” There’s a winky-face at the end. Hifumi feels a blush creeping into her cheeks.
“What are you saying?” Hifumi types quickly and hits send. But instead of a text reply, she soon gets arms covered in purple suit-jacket sleeves draping over her shoulders.