Chapter 6--Comfort in a Best Friend
Soon, you and Hiro had to leave for the Lucky Cat Café, and Melanie had to return home. As her mom came by and picked her up from your house, you and Hiro waved to her as she left, and then you walked to the Cafe together.
For the entire time, you two were completely silent. At least, for a while. You couldn't help but notice how downcast Hiro looked as you walked alongside him, he being so lost in his train of thought, his eyes narrowed as he bit his lip in thought. You also fiddled with the strap on your backpack, feeling nothing but fury, anger, loathing flood through your own body. And it was all because of your mother, the only person left in your family, about to give herself up. You felt your hands curl up into fists in your anger.
Why did she have to be so weak?
Hiro's voice snapped you out of your reverie, though the look of anger still lingered on your face. You turned to face him.
"Hiro, I don't..."
"No, (Y/N). I was just thinking about something." Hiro took a deep breath, and you braced yourself, expecting the worst to come from him.
"It's about time I told you that my parents are also dead, so witnessing death twice in my life isn't a pretty thing," Hiro blurted out, covering his mouth at the last minute.
You stood in shock, eyes widening. A double death? You were so selfish thinking about how to deal with your own family that you never asked about Hiro's side. At that moment you were mentally torturing yourself, but you knew that if you waited any longer Hiro would probably start crying.
"Hey, it's okay, you don't have to cover your mouth," you whispered to him. "We'll find somewhere private to talk about this."
Suddenly, you got an idea where to go. There was this one place you went right after your father's funeral, and you almost forgot about it until just now, but now it just suited you two to just go there and spill each other's secrets again without being interrupted by Aunt Cass.
Taking Hiro's hand and lacing your fingers with his loosely, you lead him through the busy streets to a beach, not too far away from the SFIT park. You took off your sneakers and socks and rested your feet near the water, and Hiro did the same, smiling just a little bit as the water lapped over both of your feet, and you kept your hand in his, the both of you relaxing just a bit.
"So," you murmured. "Your parents...how did they leave you?"
Hiro gulped and squeezed your hand tighter. "They...well...they died in a car crash, like Melanie's little sister," he told you. "There was one night, our parents brought me and Tadashi to a party of some sort. I didn't understand what was going on so I stuck with Tadashi. Then after that we were heading back, and then a drunk driver crashed right into us, from the front. Probably his steering went off or something, I don't...I don't remember." Tears started to leak from his eyes. "All I could remember was the next day I woke up at Aunt Cass's place asking when mom and dad were coming back...and Tadashi was crying really badly. I never saw him cry like that before. Then...I think I remember we were all wearing black, and we were at our parents' funeral, and then when I realized my parents weren't coming back..." He was really starting to tear up now, and he didn't hold back either.
You remained completely silent the entire time, listening to Hiro tell his tale. But the instance when he became lost, you took his other hand and turned him to you, gently caressing his hands with your thumbs to calm him down somewhat. Then you pulled him into your arms, and you two remained standing in the water there, feeling the sun radiate through you, as you began to think.
So Hiro lost both of his parents when he was young. That's harsh for one so young to witness and understand death. But to fully understand what it means to lose someone close and then actually lose one of those people...that's harsh. No, brutal. No, scratch that, it's agonizing. More or less like being stabbed in the back twice by fate, and yet your assassin never cared. Death itself sounds so inhumane. If your mom gave in, that's just one more person gone, and one more person to be forever haunted by.
"Hey..." you whispered softly. "You told me once before, remember? Keep them alive in your heart. Only then would you fully be able to appreciate how lucky you are to be alive, and be influenced by them."
"But to have seen death twice, to see someone's life flash by and then end so abruptly...doesn't it occur to you that you might have seen your mom's final moments just now? It's different for you. For me, I didn't realize that too soon there would come a time when I would no longer see their smiling faces."
"My father was no different from the rest of your family," you reminded him. "I never imagined him to come home poisoned so heavily that night, and taken away the next morning."
Hiro didn't let you go for a very long time, which you didn't mind. The water felt refreshing, and the sun was still high up in the sky, and Hiro found your presence very reassuring. To be able to spill this secret was a tough one, since no one would believe that he had witnessed death twice, and wasn't willing to see another person leave his side.
"I can only hope that my mom had made the right choice to leave here and reunite with dad," you admitted finally, but then you stopped as you found yourself choking on your voice, tears threatening to spill. No no no. You were supposed to be the strong one for Hiro, not the other way around, but cried you did, the tears falling thick and fast on Hiro's hoodie. "But then I would have no one," you added softly.
"You could stay with us," Hiro reminded you. "We'll work things out."
You didn't want to leave Hiro's embrace, and he didn't want to leave yours either, but eventually, reluctantly, you two pulled apart. The atmosphere was just too peaceful with just the two of you left now, and you didn't want to leave yet, not just yet.
"We'd better get to the cafe before Aunt Cass starts worrying," you said halfheartedly.
"Oh, I got it," he said lightly, pulling out his phone and texting Aunt Cass.
"What are you doing?" you whispered.
"Telling Aunt Cass that you're going to skip work for now and work in another shift," he casually replied to you. "There."
"And what are we going to do here then?" you asked.
Hiro shuffled his feet in the water, making sloshing sounds in it. "I know this is going to sound awkward and all, since we've only met for a day, but you've been something really special to me. You've helped me get so many burdens off of my shoulders, and I feel I can trust you. Technically, I'm not supposed to do that since you are working for my aunt, but I guess I can make an exceptional case for you since you're...well...different. In a good way. I feel that I could tell you anything and not feel ashamed about it. You know what I mean?" He sighed and looked up at you sheepishly.
You nodded. "I can only say the same. I have never put so much faith in a person before, to trust that he or she would be able to hear me out about my dad's death without thinking of me as a freak. With you, I feel like I wouldn't be ridiculed by the things I say. Hiro, I fully trust you."
"So do I."
"And I hope you would always be here for me." Wait a second, did that just come out of your mouth? You quickly covered it, but then Hiro said something that surprised you.
"That's a promise I would keep."
Your eyes widened. "Really?"
Hiro nodded, and then took a deep breath. "You're my best friend, (Y/N). What else are best friends for?"
Wait. Did he just say you were now his best friend?
"Then I'll have to say the same. I will always be here for you."
Hiro laughed and gave you another hug, and you accepted it wholeheartedly, closing your eyes as you felt Hiro's presence all around you, from the surrounding waters near your feet to the gentle breezes that blew through your hair. Even Hiro felt all his doubts wash away as he held you in his arms. Funny how the night before he thought he couldn't help you. Within less than 24 hours, that was exactly what he did without realizing it.
"Hey, let's get to Aunt Cass's before she suspects things," you said, letting go of the embrace and taking Hiro's hand again. "Come on."
This made Hiro frown, but then he gave in. "Alright."
So the two of you ran out of the water, grabbed your backpacks and sneakers, put them on quickly, and ran off to the Cafe.