I was about to finish washing the dishes when my phone rang over the table. I quickly ran and answered the call. It was from Ma.
Me: hello? This is Len speaking.
Mom: Hi, lenny sweetie. How are you and Miku doing?
Me: We're so far good Ma. She knows how to cook ('though it's just frying) but I doubt if we can survive the Christmas eve festive enough. You know, the two of us here + You there = lonely.
Mom: oh, I'm sorry son if I have to make you feel that way.
Me: No, it's fine. What I mean is, it is too awkward to cook a lot (if we can) but only the two of us will eat them.
Mom: That would make a formal date! How sweet!
Me: huh? What are you saying Ma?
Mom: Haha! Rin told me that you are being larry over Miku dear. She's good! I met her once and I think she's good. That's what I think about her. Let that be these day your chance to meet your twin's best friend. It is your chance to see what made Rin very fond of her. If you understand Miku, you understand your twin too. What do you think?
Me: A-ah aha, hah. Why are you saying that Ma? Nothing's wrong between Rin and I! Ha- ha- ha.
Mom: oh Len, stop kidding me. I'm your mom. I'm not blinded by the fact that you two separated worlds when you grew older and you missed your relationship with your sister like the old times.
Me: Fine, so be it. Seems like she got a new twin, aye?
Mom: not that I mean that Lenny.
Me: Alright. I know. How's grandpa?
Mom: oh dear, he's a little well but he's not as good as new yet. Rin talks a lot with him every now and then, also Meiko and Oliver. Granny keeps on telling he knew Mr. Hoshine after seeing the news flash about the professor's funeral.
Me: really? What does he say about Mr. Hoshine? You knew that Mr. Hoshine is my professor, right, ma?
Mom: oh. No. I only knew he is Miku's father. Wait, I'll call your sis. [Rin! Len wants to talk with you about granny.]
Rin: hello, Len?
Me: hi, Rin. What about that? What concerns grandpa to Mr. Hoshine?
Rin: why are you so curious anyway?
Me: he's my professor.
Rin: I know. What makes that special?
Me: JUST SAY IT-
Rin: Fine! Well, granny says he worked with Mr. Hoshine when he's a government employee. You knew that granny is a government researcher right? He said that Mr. Hoshine has no child so he kept on asking who is Miku since she briefly appeared on the news.
Rin: he said Miku looks familiar. He just can't remember where and when he had seen her.
( "Len, come here! What are you doing?" Miku yelled from upstairs.)
Me: so, want to talk with Miku?
Rin: I'm a little busy at the moment. Just tell her my "Hi! I miss you!"
Me: okay, bye sis. Ah. Erm, take care.
I ended the call and ran upstairs. I saw Miku staring at the TV again. Her arms are crossed against her chest as she stood before the television. She turned towards me and signaled me to come over her place. I was still on Ma's apron and I wasn't bothered at all. I moved and stood beside her. It was a cooking show about what dish to serve for the Christmas eve. I looked over her; her eyes are reflecting the lights from the television. Before I can avert my eyes from her, she looked at me- at the speed of light! Her lips are parted, maybe about to say something but was equally surprised as I am.
I thought it was the end of the world. I thought that my internal organs will scatter on the ground any moment. Yes, she caught me staring at her. But that's my negative thinking in this situation. Never that I imagined that in the next thousand years, I will hear her say these words she told me ;
"Is there something wrong with my face?"
I felt like my blood was drained in relief. She's being nice and kind today. Is it a miracle? Is it magic? What is this sudden change? I was gaping like an idiot in front of her; my brain can't process a thing to say, at least say something good.
"No! No- none, of course! I- I wa- was just... just trying to ah, guess what you're thinking. I thought you'll kill me." I whispered the sentence and shifted my gaze back to the television. I can't hold it.. I wish, I badly wish that she'll not give me more reasons to miss her. Let this one be the last.
I can see the lights and colors from the TV screen but I can't recognize a figure. I felt like the time stopped. I can hear the sound from the show but it is barely a muffled sound that I'll never understand. I clenched my fist as I started to feel numb. Something is bothering me. There's something deep inside my chest and I can feel that it is no good for me. The shadow of loneliness is lurking in the depths of my heart. If it's just a song, I'll dedicate it to Miku. She's the reason why I am feeling this way, why I am lonely in a sudden. If she'll be gone forever... what will I do then? Is it another broken dream? Is another failure in my social life?
If only I can make her stay...
I snapped back in reality. I was in the same cream room with a queen-size bed and a piano. The same room I own. I looked over my side to see her staring at me, confusion swirling all over her face. I displayed a small forced smile and fixed my gaze on the ground.
"I am asking you if you want me to help me cook that dish?" She said and tapped my shoulder. I sadly nodded in agreement, avoiding any possible interaction I can make with her. I don't want to talk. A gradual mood swing it would be but I don't want to talk with her. I want to fight the urge to be her friend, if I know in the end... she'll leave me and my twin. Without any excuse, I left her alone in my room and myself in silence. I ran downstairs, tossed the apron over the dining table, ran to the living room and slouched on the sofa. There's nothing else to do in this house other than to listen at the lullaby of the downpour.
I was definitely fighting over my doubt if I'll nudge a cold shoulder to Miku or not. She'll be gone so what's the purpose of being close to her? That's the point! She'll be gone so treasure the moment! But after that, what? I'll be left hanging on the same page of the book while everyone will have moved on her disappearance? - no, it's called appreciating the present and not worrying on the future.
Future, you say?
What I do in present will result in future. With that, it is a clear matter of fact that I'll just miss her and will not have her as a friend anymore.
Why don't I just cherish the moment? That's crap! Just another reason to miss her.
I closed my eyes, shunning all the thoughts I may have. I don't have to argue with it anymore. My rule will be 'DONT GET ATTACHED'. As clear as a crystal, I'll treat her coldly as I can. It will be good for both of us. She said she doesn't want Rin to miss her- me too... I don't want to miss her.
I fixed my stare at the white ceiling. I suddenly remembered how was Gakupo or Kaito's vacation going so far. I brought out my phone composing a text to the guys. My fingers tapped against the screen choosing the letters to build a perfect word to ask how are they doing. I quickly tapped the send-button and the message was sent. I always forget to thank technology for always making life convenient. Instant messaging has just made it possible not to miss a news from a distant friend as long as he got a number. If only Miku can send me a text message even she's in other life. That will be good right? Or creepy? So much about her!
[Kaito] A message appeared on the screen. It was from Kaito.
" Lenny brat! I miss you! Seriously, I'm good here. The weather is getting better. I hope I always have a cotton ball plugged in my nostrils because the coldness hurts. Lol! How are you?"
Even in a text message, I can feel Kaito's silliness. I smiled an ear to ear smile after reading and quickly replied,
"Doing good. Stuck here indoors with Miku... :("
"What!? What's with the sad face? Aren't you supposed to be happy?" He instantly replied almost as if he's holding his phone all the time. Shall I tell him why I was sad? Or shall not because he may tease to the bones?
"Nothing serious, just bored." I lied. Of course, it was not boring to be with her so far. I just hate the fact that she confuses the hell out of my emotion.
"But I didn't think you'll spend vacation home alone with Ms. Hoshine! Love is in the air! "
"Stop being girly. You aren't funny, Kaito. " I replied and left my phone on the table. I knew if! He is not really reliable with serious talks! But as soon as I did stop texting Kaito, my phone blinked revealing a message from Gakupo. This guy has a perfect timing. He talks way too serious compared to Kaito... or maybe they are opposite for sometime?
"Hey, Len! What's on? I'm good. This town was so peaceful. I hope you're doing good bro."
"Nah, not really. I'm being defeated by boredom in 3...2...1...K.O!"
"Lol! You got me there! Anw, Kaito said yore with Miku? Hoshine? How true? How's that possible?"
"Rin. Rin. Rin is to blame. Now I'm totally bored. Bye bro. Don't want to talk about this woman."
"Here goes the menopause king... oops! Did I say it? Bye Len. Have great day!"
Once again, I put phone over the coffee table peacefully. It's just... more or less than I met Miku but why am I thinking about her this way? Moreover, why am I feeling like I was bound to feel this? To do this as if I I'm was drawn on my fate to meet her? If ever the past life was true, have we met before? If it was and she's going to live longer there... I want to go back and stay in the past.
I closed my eyes again and cherish the moment of slacking on the couch. The rain's seemingly marching sound faded and turned out to be a soft lullaby. I can feel the slumber to succumb me. I'm not tired, I just don't want to do anything- that includes thinking of Miku. So if the sleep's going to take me over... go on.
I opened my eyes after hearing a familiar cold voice. My gaze fixed on the surroundings around me and my brain recognized the same white seats circling the coffee table. My attention was caught by the walking figure that entered the kitchen- Miku. Soft noises echoed there as if she opened the fridge and shut it then opened it again.
"Why?" I asked, standing from my seat and dumbly made my way to the kitchen. I saw her bent down towards the fridge, her eyes fixed inside as the cold heavy air crawled out slowly down to her feet. Her long turquoise hair that is not on its usual pigtails, is cascading down from her shoulders.
"What's on, Miku?" I lazily asked, interest over this unknown matter. She stared at me for a moment and maybe, realized my generalized slacking-mood. Her sea-like orbs stabbed me like cold daggers and I hate the feeling that it is cold. Yes, I'm hoping that it is somewhat warm or whenever she looks at me, I'll be able to sing Taylor Swift's 'Sparks Fly'. Girlish, isn't it? But that's a way too better than this cold treatment. I watched her sigh as she pulled out of the stare because I returned her the same cold looks. Her fingers trailed over the beeswax polished table and walked towards my direction. Before she could have reached me, I turn on my heel and made my way back to the living room. However, her curious and careful voice spoke the words, well, I never thought she would care to ask.
"What's the problem, Len?" Her voice sounds like they are pained or what. I'll be glad if she's hurt seeing me like a frozen creature due to my sudden coldness to her. I want to tell her, 'You. You are my problem,' but that's so much, I guess. I can't be so rude towards my twin's best friend, not to mention that maybe Rin loves Miku than I. Now, I sound like an awful jealous pet. And so, it won't make a difference if I tell her.
"Nothing, Miku. I just...don't feel to talk now." I lied and jumped back on the couch, putting my feet crossed on each other over the table.
I'm a liar.
"I always want to talk with you, Miku. I want to talk to you like I am Rin and not myself. To talk to you till dawn while watching some TV show or some movie is just one of the possible things we can do. But I just can't interact with you. We are friends out of formality. I don't even think you consider me as one. I just can't rant you how I feel to be with you. I just can't make you say what are your problems so by telling it will lessen the burden you carry. I can't stop you avoiding me then suddenly be warm. You can't be a princess with a split personality- the icy and warm one, because it strangles me to death. You're too unpredictable that sometimes I see myself tricked by my 'don't get attached rule.'" Nevertheless, I can't voice out an honest thought.
I watched the tealette to climb a step from the staircase; her long hair is swishing at her sudden turn. "I'll just..." her seemingly fragile voice trailed. "I'll just want to ask if you can bake a cake for tonight...or any pastry. But it seems like you don't care so, fine." She whispered the last sentence yet I heard it clearly. I watched her to disappear from my vicinity; her voice faded out in my head.
I bit my lower lip and looked at the window instead. The rain is almost gone as the sky brighten slowly. It is as if after crying, everything is going to be fine. The light rain is like a sprinkler in a garden during summer, crying small crystals of water. I stared and tried to count the few raindrops I see from the small gap that the curtains has not covered, even it is impossible. I just count regardless of the fact that I am out of the beat.
I stared and tried to count how many rain drops. As impossible as it seems, I count until I utter very slow...
I repeated the same number all over again. It felt like something is in there, whatever something may mean. I don't know.
"If you add 20 and eight, it is 28!"
My eyes blinked rapidly with the sudden recall. That was Meiko. I knew it! It happened when we are in the town of Readele, the place where grandpa is staying.
It was summer that time, Meiko and I went biking around the town. Oliver was to young to come with us, so we went by ourselves. I was just 12 back then, carefree, careless. Meiko dragged me to a path where grandpa always prohibits us to wander.
The path was covered by tall trees and the lush foliage added thrill in the air. My brunette cousin paved her way through the path and I was this dumb- following and yelling that the place is no good. Absolutely creepy and isolated. The trees where whistling along our bumpy travel. My cousin was not terrified of the place. In fact, she was counting aloud, counting all trees we pass by.
We were like biking to nowhere for about half an hour when the sky darkened. Coincidentally, we stopped by an abandoned single-unit house at the corner of the so-called forest. It was perfectly concealed for I never thought there will be a house through the woods.
The house was fenced by bulb wires as a sign displayed: KEEP OUT; 28 HVP.
HEAVEN KNOWS, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT DOES IT MEAN. HOWEVER, MY MEAN COUSIN SUGGESTED THAT WE SHOULD SNEAK INSIDE.
"I'm here for more than a decade, I'm years older than you Lenny. Heh, but I've never seen this..." As she put down her bike,we heard a gun shot within a hundred meter radius. That explains everything. No hesitation, we stormed out of the place like mad people.
When we got home, Meiko and I argued about what the signage told. She pushed that 28 HVP means 28 trees to house voyage phantom. Her imagination sucks, what an ugly meaning. Nevertheless, I didn't believe it.
I was summoned back in reality when I saw the sun peeped out. It was almost noon time but the birds have just began with their morning incantations. The neighborhood started to mow their lawns and to clean their lots right after the hurricane calmed.
Doing my job, I hurried to my room to ask Miku for help but what I saw was a serene girl drowsing on the bed. It's not like everyday you'll see a pretty creature sleeping on your bed so I'll just leave her there and do things on my own.
Sweat dropped from my forehead as I picked the last trash I saw. Unfortunately, it was my broken and tattered umbrella. The remnants of my beloved umbrella. I dragged the black plastic bag in front of the yard because I'm positive that the garbage truck will pick it since they haven't last Sunday.
When I went back in my room, my curious gaze landed on Miku, who, is still sleeping. Why does she sleeps a lot?
I begin with a simple question... But a lot more fire in my head.
What illness brought her to a predicted end?
I found my place to sit beside her while she was sleeping soundly. I was cooling myself down from the work I've done at the lawn. Who would have thought that by just staring at this lady can hush my protesting muscles...yet, she can also make my hormones go wild.
Oh crap. What am I thinking!?
My hand reached her face, quickly brushing away the few teal fringe scattering on her forehead. Then went down to caress her cheeks cannily, but she instantly reacted with my touch.
Wary, I jumped out of the bed before she may open her eyes and see me admiring her. What will she think of me? A pervert, perhaps.
Seriously, even she caught me, a pervert is not my label. I'm too classy, huh!
Heck, Miku. I think I...you.
Later that evening, due to some uncontrollable happenstance, both of us were wearing red. She's on a red sweater and denim jeans, while I'm on a red shirt and white pants.
Hilarious, I thought. Ask me why? No clue. This might be the destiny, but who am I kidding?
It was eight in the evening and the sky was pitch black. Despite the darkness, the neighborhood was glittering with their Christmas lights decorated at their gardens. The lights reminded me that we should be happy and warm...at least.
We are both on ruffled aprons, doing our chef like tasks in the kitchen. I am cutting the fruits into pieces while she is doing her magic for an Italian pasta's sauce. Mom is good in pastas, so I guarantee that Miku is good too.
After she finished making the sauce, she turned to me. I asked her to put the cream and kept the salad in the fridge. The camera was set somewhere to record our cold cooking sessions because Rin bugged my phone with her flood messages.
Because we are way too busy, we didn't notice that it is already 10 in the evening. The pasta is done, the fruit salad was cold. Currently, we are trying to make a cake. Not a fruit cake. Just an ordinary cake. Well you see, I have this random appetite to eat a cake in this dinner date- I mean, dinner. My apologies.
"So...what's next?" She asked.
I have prior knowledge with what we are doing- for sure, Rin had told her.
"Just mix that well. Leave this to me," I said coldly without looking at her.
"You know, you would not make a good teacher with that attitude." She said and mixed roughly, the clattering echoed.
"What for," I retorted, pushing the fact that she will be gone. She will be gone and I will not be a teacher to her.
"So that I will learn how to make a good one," she frankly said and slammed the bowl of frosting she made.
"And...?" Seriously, I sound like a teasing bully here.
"And I can make a cake for you when I am a ghost." She replied in a duh-tone and turned away. But as she took a step, she doesn't noticed the carton of cream I left on the ground. She tumbled, the same way she did the first time we met.
I was waiting for her to stand up but she didn't move.
"Are you alright?" I asked as I coat the cake with frosting. Wincing, she pushed herself up and walked away. Queer as it is, she just stomped upstairs.
No, Len. Don't give her a second look. Don't check her in your room if she is really fine. Don't follow her.
I won. I won against myself! I continued in coating the cake with this yellow frosting, banana. The cake was in the middle of the dining table, encircled by the pasta and some appetizers. Hah, looks like someone is celebrating birthday.
But my birthday is close too...that sounds reasonable.
Removing the apron, I made my way to the living room and plopped on the couch. My nerves and muscles are protesting against the soft couch, yeah. It has been a busy day. Standing for hours, cooking, cleaning the house, the lawn...everything. Who thought that Mom is doing hard chores like these everyday?
My thumbs clicked on several apps that soon, I found boring. Unconsciously, I clicked the gallery but then, I just scan the videos. A video recorded earlier.
It was dull and plain. A video of two people preparing for the Christmas eve supper. I'm seriously cutting the fresh fruits while Miku is calmly mixing in the sauce pan. Then the next scene was... I, putting the grahams in layer, and she...
She was watching me? My eyes bulged out as I felt my whole face heat up. She was just standing in the corner, arms crossed while smiling sincerely. A sincere smile that I loved, yet hated, to see.
Hah! Who am I kidding?
Don't give yourself many many many reasons to miss her, Len. How many times do you have to remind yourself?
My phone gently dropped on the table, my arms crossed behind my head. The cold air is lingering against my cheek and neck, freezing every tired nerves of my body. How can I celebrate this holiday in a festive spirit if I feel so down? It's like, the world spun and I was placed below. Sullen.
Again, surrendering in the battlefield of thoughts, I closed my eyes and drifted into the dreamland. I love sleeping, don't you think?
Dashing through the snow, in a one horse open sleigh-
Len! Wake up! Len!
Laughing all the way!
Kagamine Len! Wake up!
I opened my eyes from a weird dream. The sweat tripped down from my forehead as I sat erect from being laid down. Noticing the presence beside me, I turned my head and saw the television on. There was a choir singing Jingle Bells from the show.
So... The voices were from the t.v.
Tic, tac, tic, tac...
The lazy sound of the grandfather clock to engulf my ears as the sight of time mesmerized me. The second hand of the click is roaming, approaching to strike 12.
I dashed to the dining room and saw Miku seated on a chair that neither Rin nor I sit. She was quietly waiting, her head hung low. The food in front of her was left untouched, as two tall candles were lit up. I took the seat in front of her and greeted her casually;
"Hey," she looked at me, those turquoise eyes revealed pools of numbness. She closed her eyes momentarily, giving me a breathtaking sight of her serene beauty. I watched her lips to part slowly and her quiet voice...stunned me.
"Merry Christmas... Len."
The way she said my name told me that she was doubtful in saying it. Despite she looked unsure of my name, here I am, gawking with a simple greeting. No exact emotion but, hey!
I am surprised.
She blinked shyly, a shade of crimson red appeared on her pale cheeks. She is blushing, isn't she?
She needs a reply, idiot! Talk! Talk! Idiot, talk!
I constantly tried to mutter a reply but my voice felt so coward to come out.
"Don't I deserve a Merry Christmas too? Rin will say that if she is here." She sighed in discontent.
"Oh, I uh, I ... Sorry. I am...just surprised, you know. Merry Christmas too. Ah, come on, lead the prayer. We... We can't l- let the the, food to um,"
"Fine. Shut up. I hate your stutter."
Well, I hushed and she began. It was a simple yet meaty prayer. Her prayer made me smile. Good thing, she's praying with eyes closed. After her prayer, our eyes locked in deepest silence. The effect of her stare was just unbelievable because I hadn't moved a finger.
Seriously, it is not like a stare you see in some romantic movie. Why? There's something wrong with those turquoise pools. Really wrong.
Dooodap! Dooodoodap! Doo, doo, dadaradap!
Our stares broke when my phone rang and I hate how moments are being ruined, le feels. Both of us fumblingly looked away as I struggled to find my phone in both of my pockets.
Ah! Yeah! Stupid! On the coffee table!
"Excuse me," I said and ran towards the living room, and upon reaching, is snatched thew phone from the first law of motion.
It was my sister.
Rin: merry Christmas, Len! I'm expecting a gift once I'm home!
Me: oh hey, I don't have savings, sorry. Merry Christmas too! Where's ma? Dad?
Rin: with granny, Meiko and Oliver. Where's Miku? I want to talk to her!
I tapped Miku's shoulder and gave her the phone. Sitting back on my seat, I put a scoop of noodles on my plate. I put some on hers too. Her eyes quietly watched my hands as I put the pasta, her nodded occasionally with quiet 'unh' as a response to Rin.
Miku smiled and chuckled in their conversation before she finally said her holiday greetings. At some point of their talk, her natural glee-filled face vanished when she stared at me, still talking with Rin.
"Really?" She asked. Now, her stare was stabbing my face in embarrassment for no particular reason. What if Rin is blurting out the weird me?
Not like you really cared with what others may say about you, Len.
Ah right, since when did I care about that?
Since you meet her.
I raised a brow to her. Suddenly, her sullen face lit up with the sweetest smile while looking at me. My world paused with that smile, with that amiable face.
"Merry Christmas, Rin!...yeah!...bye!" She returned my phone, the smile faded.
We both sat in silence. Everything was calmly resting over the bees wax polished table. The lights and shadows were dancing invisibly in this bright room. Ironic!
She was seated in front of him, her fringe almost covering her eyes. She is moving any utensil, so do I. The food was served but what are we waiting for?
"Let's-" I haven't finished my sentence when the lights turned off. The squeak from the neighborhood chorused together with the brownout.
She looked at me as if she found the courage in the darkness. Wow, that was dramatic. The lights and shadows are clearly gliding, casting animate illusions around.
Her eyes that reminded me of the sea, stared at my cerulean ones. We hold each other's eyes and silence as the flame flickered like an audience's applause. Her eyes, against the dim light, showed emotionless with the smallest hint of transparency. Without averting a look, I spoke.
"Merry Christmas, Miku."
Her eyes looked horrible as I said those words. Those weird irises, that freaking stare ripping her poker face.
The lights went back, my head snapped at the sudden illumination. When I looked back at her, she was already eating. Gracefully. Yes, that's how I describe her.
She has not showed too much emotion today but I had seen some new side of her,
"Tomorrow, I need your company. I left my phone in my house and that's very obvious." She said, her slender fingers clamped around a glass cup and lifted it to her lips. Before taking a sip of her drink, she looked at me beneath those long lashes. Her eyes looked normal now.
"Would you mind?" She added.
"No. I wouldn't mind at all,"