Chapter | 13
The next morning I woke up tucked gently into Haku’s side. I tried not to wake him, but I doubt he would feel me moving since his arm must have gone numb from me lying on it the whole night.
I just about pried myself away from him when he grabbed both my shoulder and pushed me back into the pillows, throwing his upper body over me to double as a cage- a very sexy cage that I did not mind being in.
He kissed me gently before leaning on his elbow to look down on me. I was about to use some cheesy line when someone burst into the room. Hooray.
“Haku!” Luna yelled as she and her hair stormed into the room, stopping dead in her tracks when she saw the two of us in bed. It wasn’t like there was anything going on, neither had anything started last night, but the look on her face told me she had assumed the worst.
“Morning, Luna,” Haku sighed, as if he wasn’t even going to bother telling her the truth, and that, in turn, didn’t bother me in the least. She needed to get in into her head that Haku really did love me, and I him. Luna on the other hand, looked seriously pissed, and I mean ‘about to hit someone’ pissed. This only led me to wonder why she was so mad. I, deciding to play along with Haku, pulled the covers up until it covered the top half of my body. With Haku half-naked next to me, a pretty clear picture was painted. She turned around so that she didn’t have to look at us, but by the way she clenched her hands into fists it obvious that not looking wasn’t helping.
“Yubaba’s back, she wants to see you” Luna said, her voice strained.
Haku groaned, but got up none the less. I instantly felt cold, almost freezing. He grabbed his shirt and pulled it over his head before walking out of the room, trying desperately to tame his hair.
Then it was just Luna and I. Since Luna wasn’t my favourite person in the world I decided to get up and find something to wear. I didn’t know who was washing the things in our room, but whenever I needed something to wear I would find it neatly folded somewhere in the room. This time it was my uniform that I found hanging behind the messy desk.
“I don’t mean to be rude, but I’ve got to get dressed,” I said, taking the uniform into my arms and carrying it to the bed. Luna didn’t say anything, but I heard her leaving when the door shut, almost a bit too hard.
I was in my uniform much faster than the times before, most likely because it didn’t seem that complicated to me anymore. After I was done, I braided my hair into a French plat and hurried down stairs to see if I could help with anything
The bathhouse was bursting with energy with all the workers back on hand; voice echoing through the halls, woman bustling around, and scrubbing noises everywhere.
I was looking for someone to help when I came across Mina. She seemed to be having some trouble with the mop buckets so I took one from her before she could fall over.
“Chihiro!” she said with a smile and tried to make a little bow while balancing three buckets in her arms.
“Hello, Mina,” I replied while I shifted the bucket from my one hand to the other unconsciously. I followed the little girl to where she was supposed to fill the buckets with clean water.
“I heard you will be attending the ball tonight with Master Haku,” Mina said while taking my bucket from me and filling it up to the brim before handing it back.
“Oh, um, yeah,” I said, handing her the next bucket. She worked swiftly and before long we were back in the bathhouse, searching less determinedly for our next job. Unfortunately out next odd job included some more buckets, except this time they were accompanied by cloths and scrubbers. Yes, it was time to scrub the baths. I didn’t even understand why since they would be covered up to second as tabled for the night. It was a tough job, and both Mina and I were aching when the job was finally done.
“Okay, I’m done. Tell Haku to find a different date. I just want to lie down and die,” I said with exaggerated exhaustion. Mina started laughing, but immediately stopped when she thought saw someone standing in the entrance.
“Chihiro, come with me please,” a voice said. I turned around to see who it was, but the person wasn’t someone I knew. I got up and waved good-bye to Mina before hesitantly following Mr Creepy down the aisle.
Mr Creepy ended up being not as creepy as I thought; he was just one of Yubaba’s henchmen who had been sent to call me to her office. I had barely stepped into the room when someone through them self at me. Unfortunately for the person, he didn’t know that after being attacked a few times, one tended to work on various natural reaction to unexpected movements. This left Boh clutching his stomach for a few moments.
“Ouch!” he exclaimed once he had his breath back.
“Boh!” I exclaimed “What’re you doing here?”
I helped him to the couch, giving him a moment of silence until he regained his breath. Still unable to speak, Boh pointed to a bag hanging next to Yubaba’s desk. It was a long bag, about my size in height, but not very wide.
I walked over to the bag and found there was a zip on the one side. Slowly zipping it down I saw something blue in it. The dress. My dress. Zeniba had actually been able to make it this quickly.
“How long before the ball starts?” I asked Boh as I zipped the bag back up and gathered it into my arms.
“Um, about 3 hours. They’re lighting the lanterns early today, as to prolong the festivities” he said, lying back with his feet on the couch. I was about to go up to my room when he stopped me and pointed to a little bag, or more of a vanity, next to where the dress had originally hung.
“Zeniba sends that to, she says you might want it” Boh said before pulling his hand over his face and falling asleep, as if it was the middle of the night.
I picked up the little bag and went upstairs.
After gently lying the dress on the bed, I opened the extra bag that Zeniba had sent. Inside was what seemed to be a more primitive form of make-up, but luckily I was able to identify the basics such as eye-shadow and a little brush, some facial powder, a piece of coal that’s probably the great grandmother of the modern eye-liner, a few hair pins, and a beautiful golden hair clip in the form of and angel’s wing. There were some other things inside as well, but I could barely figure out what it was, never mind how to use it.
Once everything I needed was lying neatly on the bed, I went down stairs to take a much needed, and much appreciated bath. By now I had come to realize that Yubaba had another personal bathroom so I didn’t have to keep asking permission. Apparently me being polite irritates her, since she’s not use to it.
An hour and a half later I was back in Haku’s room, my hair, body and soul clean and dry to the bone. There really was nothing like a good bath. Wrapping my towel tighter around my body, I pulled the dress out of its bag and laid it out on the bed. It was exactly how I imagined it and I didn’t plan on wasting time before putting it on. There might have been a few odd noises as I wriggled my body into the dress, but once on, it fit like a glove.
Careful of avowing the hem of the dress, I moved to stand in front of the mirror. The dress was blue, but a light blue that complemented my hair and eyes perfectly. The entire dress was also covered in blue jewels, but now over the top sparkly, just plain. Around my waist was a gold metal belt that ended in two wings crossing over each other around my front. The back of the dress cut down to the belt, exposing my entire back. The neckline of the dress reached up to my collarbones in a perfect line across my shoulders. The long, tight sleeves finished the dress’s elegant look.
After thoroughly examining myself on the mirror, I sat down at the desk and placed a mirror I had found in the bathroom in front of me. Then it was make-up time. It was a bit harder to use the old make-up, but after a few test-runs I had successfully dolled myself up. My hair was another story. Since I had given up all hope of ever having normal hair, I had never tried doing something pretty with it.
I walked over to the door and pulled it open.
“Boh!” I yelled down the stairs. After I was met by silence I tried again. There was a faint rustling sound from down stairs and after a while a sleeping Boh appeared at the bottom of the stairs.
“Yes?” he asked, rubbing his eyes to get them to open wider.
“Could you please go fetch Linn for me?” I asked, opening the door just wide enough for my head to stick out. He made a sound somewhere between a moan, a yawn, and yes before slouching out to go find her.
Apparently Boh wasn’t half as asleep as I had initially thought, because barely fifteen minutes had passed before I heard someone coming up the stairs. Just in case it wasn’t the desired person, I pulled a blanket from the bed and wrapped it around my body to hide my dress. Luckily, when the door opened, it was Lin that stepped into the room. I let the blanket fall to the ground before turning to the thank Lin.
Only I never got the chance. She was looking at me with such a strange expression that all I could do was ask what she was looking at.
“You! You looking amazing Chihiro!” she exclaimed, her one hand raised up to her mouth. “Is this what humans wear to a ball? It’s so strange, but elegant at the same time,” she continued as she came to me, walking in a circle to see the entire dress.
“Um, thank you, Lin,” I said sheepishly. No one had ever told me I looked good, well no one other than Haku anyway, but he didn’t count since he was obliged to tell me I look good.
“I’m guessing you didn’t call me here to tell you what obviously know,” Linn said after her third circle. “So, what can I help with?”
I sat back down in front of the mirror and pointed to my hair before revealing the pins and hair clip. “Thanks” I said as Lin faced me towards the mirror before starting to tug gently at my hair.
It was half an hour before the ball started when Linn finished my hair. She had tried a few things with it, but in the end simply made a low messy bun, securing the golden clip above it. The entire time I had watched her hands working; she really knew what she was doing. After she was done, Lin stepped away to give me some space for examination.
“It looks great, Linn, really,” I said as I stood up and hugged her.
“Okay, now where do I go from here?” I asked once we were both down in Yubaba’s office. As if to answer my question a loud sound echoed through the bath house.
“Guess it’s time to go downstairs,” Linn said.
We rode down in the elevator together before I got off on the landing above the main floor. I said goodbye to Linn as the elevator closed behind me. I walked over to the railing, placed my hands on them and examined the floor below. What I saw left me speechless.