When I reached the house, I was welcomed by a BIG SURPRISE.
"Welcome home, COUZ!"
A pair of quite-not-long pale arms locked around my neck and tackled me back to the lawn. Lucky am I, I haven't entered my house and here am I, thrown out suddenly. Pain attacked my spine before I made a decision to open my eyes. A blonde hair glistened against the blue skies; a pair of golden eyes stared down at me with...excitement?
"Oliver!" I pushed him aside, he's been straddling me on my waist. Getting him off me, I sat.
"Merry Christmas, Len! The cake in the fridge was good! You made that?" My cousin chirped, quickly sitting beside me. He looked suppressed by the Christmas spirit and I couldn't join his glee.
"I thought you'll be here next week?" The leaf blades tucked on my trench coat, too bad. I hate it, I rarely put on trench coats because it's a hassle. I peeped a look to Oliver, his left eye was no longer bandaged.
"So your eye operation was successful! Good to see that," I smiled.
"You're not listening, are you? I told you that if it isn't by next week, it will be AFTER the hurricane. Yay, yay. People in love..." Oliver stood and pointed back at the door. "Meiko cooked lunch!"
Upon the claim, both of us raced straight to the kitchen, laughter filling our lungs. The smell of safe and mouth watering meal lured in my nostrils as we reached the dining table. I tilted my head towards the Stive and saw Meiko there, doing her kitchen arts. She's a tall, striking brunette; wearing mom's ruffled apron. Her short brown hair falls down sharply an inch above her shoulder- like Rin's.
Conclusion: she has grown mature since the last time I saw her.
"Hey Len!?" Oliver called. "Meiko and I inspected your room, and we found things...that a girl owns." He continued, looking whimsical.
"Don't be so polite when saying it, Oliver." Meiko snapped, "We found clothes of a woman in your closet! What does it mean!? Do you bring girls here or are you gay?" She blabbed bluntly and turned off the stove. Somehow, Rin must have mentioned her best friend to our cousins- which I hope she did, because if not, I don't want to explain anything.
"I'm not a gay. It's Miku's clothes, Miku Hoshine." I said, then Oliver came out of the stairs with his yellow guitar.
"Miku?" He repeated, doubtful. I wriggled my brows into a yes but that didn't stop his bubbly soul.
"Is she Rin's friend?"
"Best. Friend." I clarified, lifting the doubt out of his gloomy face. He sat on a parallel seat from me, and strummed some chords. On the other hand, our older cousin garnished the meal and delivered it on the table, one by one, dish per dish. All these foods served at us looked safe and delicious. Oh gracious heavens, I haven't eaten anything safe for almost a day! Meiko sat with us,scolding Oliver to stop playing guitar in front of the meal. The blond has not protested and instead he prayed. And so, we devoured these delicious meal.
"Ah, Len! You'll find this petty ridiculous! Before we actually arrive here, a man ruined Meiko's day!"-
" Oliver, please. Don't remind me. I'm over it," Meiko quickly said, rubbing her temples in distress.
"Shut up, Meiko. It was actually at the boundary of Readele and Azuria. A crowd was gathered in front of a CD store. Since our sissy here is a big fan of Gumi, we stopped to look for some album but a random guy in the store blurt out that music is nuisance. Oh, he said, 'music is nuisance, music is nuisa-' then Meiko punched him!" Yelled Oliver, sending punches in the air. "The next thing I know was we're running back to the car and I was waving a bye-bye to his companion." The blond shoved a spoonful of food in his mouth.
What he said isn't surprising. Meiko loved music- most of our family do, and she is boyish. Don't dare step within her patience's radius, or else... :)
"That's it!" Meiko slammed the table, startling me. Now I'm beginning to think that punching some stranger is just because he said music is nuisance- is irrational. It's not actually reasonable to hurt people when they object your liking, is it?
Another screech of hoarse yet annoyed laughter startled me, it was from Meiko who began to narrate the exact events. She roared, try to imagine that she had fangs, as she insulted this "guy" who tried to seduce her before she punched the guy in his stomach.
"Music was never a junk! You knew it Len! What will you say if someone told you that your piano is a trash? Or if singing is noise? If I meet him again-which I hoped will not happen for forever, it will be his end!?" She ended her disastrous story telling by leaving the table in peace. How did Oliver manage to eat while she's banging on the wooden table?
"You know what," yelled Oliver, a wicked grin flashed on his thin lips. He was actually speaking to Meiko, that mischievous smile told me so. "That is love?!" He screamed, making Meiko to turn back at us. Her face darkened with his... his... statement?
"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU SAYING? HE'S A TALKING PIECE OF FAGGOT THAT I'LL USE TO BURN THE FIREPLACE!" her voice made the house tremble in horror. "HE DOESNT EVEN FALL IN ANY OF MY IDEAL- LET IT BE 'MUSIC LOVING' ALONE!?" The immense dark aura circling the whole dining room began to fade when she gulped down a glass of cold water. "Calm down, calm down," her murmurs echoed like a curse as she we walked back to us. My phone started to ring, getting my cousin-of-a-beast's attention.
"Eh, Kaito?" I said, more like to myself. I was about to talk with him when Meiko snatched my phone away, pushing me down on my seat. Her move-or-die glare stopped my on going protests as she answered the call.
"Who the hell are you?" What a conversation starter! Kaito was short tempered just like her, I'm praying that Kaito will not hate me because a girl is being rude to him. He can't accept that some girls resist him.
"Ssshhh!... Hang on, Hitler!... Shut up... No, shut your nagging mouth... I just said it. We're having our lunch...call later or never if you please... I never cared. I don't care if he's your friend... Okay?!... Oh no, shut up?! Shut. Up. I SAID SHUT UP!" Yelled Meiko and ended the call, throwing my phone to me.
Kaito hated it most when girls yell at him. He was like, "don't you know who I am!? Now, swoon!". And to think that my cousin just did that, I don't know how I'll explain it to him. Kaito and Meiko (although never acquainted, never related) were murderers alike.
My phone suddenly vibrated and when I lifted it, it was a text from Kaito. However, my older cousin scolded me to finish my meal first before anything.
"Since when was it prohibited!?"
Yelled my uncontrollable mouth which in return, received a death glare from the brunette. 'Respect the food,' her lips quietly mimicked. It's a terrible experience so far. Being with your cousins during Christmas, my cousins particularly, is like attending a military school.
"Stop cursing me in your head, Len."
Realizing that I was scowling, Meiko snapped a finger in front of me. Cursing? I'm not cursing her.
"I don't curse!"
But she weakly slapped me. All emotions swirled inside of me with that mock slap, and I want to burst out like a paranoid jealous lover.
"Hey Len! Are you done!? I'm taking out the cake!" Oliver suddenly chirped as he abandoned his seat. I quickly yelled my objection knowing that Miku kept a slice of cake for herself. She badly wants to eat that.
"Why so greedy, you hog! It's like the last piece. Hand this to me, okay? Merry Christmas!" He winked and took out the pastry on a saucer. The urge to stop him is present; the need to allow him is also existing.
"No! Wait! Miku will kill me! She reserved that!" I said, successfully stopping him to cast a big bite on the delicacy. Oliver looked at me with a scrutinizing eye, as his lips slowly formed an 'O' in understanding. Luckily, his guards withdraw and return the cake peacefully.
The war was over.
A humming Oliver went back with a bowl of ice cream in his arms.
"Where on earth is that from!?" I yelled as I finished my food. I have no recollection that we have an ice cream stucked in the fridge. My jolly cousin smiled mischievously as he gobbled greedily on the dessert.
It's about three in the afternoon when Meiko decided to conduct a general cleaning in the house. The dirt was disgusting, I have no objection, but it felt weird to actually clean the house on Christmas day. Currently, she roamed around the living room with the vacuum cleaner. On the other hand, Oliver was playing his guitar in the dining room. And I, I am washing the dishes.
As I am about to finish drying the utensils, Oliver's soprano voice and strong British accent doomed the dining and kitchen with such melodious song. My foot stomped, creating a beat for his song. I told you, we are a family of music.
Such as caged moon with sunshine;
Such as wood made of water;
Such as colorless rainbow,
Is it fun, really?
Such as desert with snowfall,
Such as endless meteor shower,
Is it wonder, really?
If there was the way leads
To the secret mystic world...
Even if I can't go back home,
I will go...
Can I go to the city of God?
Look and walk.
And a weather was drawing
Growing a blue sky;
If there was my some roles
Prepared for the silence
I want to be like one
Of so many little birds...
(Can I go to the city of God? By Oliver ©)
My hands clapped insanely after he stopped strumming the guitar.
"Bravo! Bravo! That was great, Oliver! Why sing so good!? I'm feeling insecure now! My, my. Did you make such composition?"
Oliver smiled widely and chuckled shortly as he answered 'yes'.
"Keep up the good work!" I exclaimed and went back to my chore. A creepy undying smile was on my lips, the song has moved me, I guess. But my serene musing was distracted by my phone ringing in my pocket.
"Oliver! Come and answer the call! Hurry! Dig in my pocket!" The blonde hurried and answered the call.
I removed the rubber gloves while Oliver's face scowled, smiled and nodded. What a weird scene to watch! Then, he returned the phone to me and ran out of the kitchen. Guess what? He didn't tell me who the caller is, or what the call was about. It was like the phone call was for him, to start. So instead of despising him mentally...
"Len! Are you done?" Meiko called, peeking a look from the door stand. I showed a thumb.
"Is Oliver there! I'll ask him to buy something from the grocery-"
"He dashed out using the back door, Meiko?!" I interrupted, pulling the apron off me. So, Meiko gave me the list of goods Meiko wanted Oliver to buy. When I received the budget, I turned away and looked down on my phone to realize who the caller is.
No, this can't be-
Oliver went out.
How on this universe will their worlds meet?
"Meiko! Meiko!" I ran back to the brunette in the living room. Well, wrong turn, she's on the stairs. "Meiko!" I ran over to her and asked if I can do her request later but I was eventually turned down.
"No! Do that first and you shall go," this witch coldly said as if my feelings over the matter never existed.
"He hasn't seen Miku at all!" I exclaimed. Definitely, my anxiety is eating me. It's Miku and my cousin. The question is, will they ever meet? Oliver was new in this city. Miku was such an ice queen, I couldn't expect her to care for him if so.
"Len," Meiko's low cold voice called me. It was shivering and horrifying to be called as if you'll not last any second longer.
"Buy these things first. Be here after half an hour then follow Oliver. Is that clear?"
"I wish I know where they are," I mumbled and left while dialing Miku's number.
"Miku! Good. I'm sorry, why did you call?"
"To inform you that I'm on my way there and pick me up at the train station. I thought I said it clearly, a while ago?"
"No, no. My cousin answered the call and left without telling me who called and what is it about."
"Oh. I thought it was you since you're not speaking...as if I'll let you, anyway."
"Ha-ha, ha. Funny. Nya. So, Oliver will pick you up. He's a blonde with golden eyes ad in blue hoodie."
The call ended so I jogged to the nearest convenience store.
"Sir? Are you sure that you can carry all these?" The grocery staff asked me as he helped me to carry some paper bags that my arm can no longer hold. I have no idea that Meiko asked to buy a lot if random stuffs with half an hour time-limit! Obviously, I can't accomplish that!
"Sir! We can gave you a ride till Ataxia intersection," the delivery man inside the van said. It was about to leave, to transfer some goods to their stores. My face lit up with a smile as I quickly paved my way towards the deliver van. The crew hand me the remaining goods then we left.
"Where ate you living sir?" Asked the friendly delivery man.
"Near Ataxia, Sir. Just a street from Ataxia. Thank you for your kindness," I said and smiled to this middle aged man. The thin lines across his forehead was visible as he concentrated on the road. Dad has the same aged look, if I'm not mistaken. That's what stress does.
"Are you studying in the university?"
That out of the blue question made me answer hesitantly but still, I nodded. I remained quiet, hoping that he will not throw follow questions or any idle talk. You see, I don't know how to carry on simple chitchat.
"My friend's daughter is an engineering student in Latria University. I suppose you attend the same university. Do you know her?"
"Sorry. Who must be it?"
"Ah! Yeah! She's a classmate of mine." That lady was really attractive huh?
"What a coincidence."
"Nothing special," I quickly replied to avoid lame comments from this man that may lead me to a pair with her. Luka Megurine is pretty and kind, that's for sure, but I never had an eye to those who already have the majority of population to look at her. I'm not saying that Luka is a snob or what. She is amiable, to be honest. But nobody dislikes her and that's the way I see it. I couldn't go head over heels onto a person who is popular. So popular.
But someone else caught my eye. The feeling was like, just a glimpse of her, my world grows bright.
The cars on the road raced against us. The parallel white broken lines painted on the road made me nauseous so I averted my gaze and went back to a deep thought. The mart was quite near from our residency but I can't go home by foot with this many things with me.
The day went over swiftly. Miku and I spent half of the day together. Within that half day, I assumed that we are a married couple and Anne is the child. Nothing wrong, most people can get the wrong idea about the image of us together. The rest of the day was spent with my cousins. But I couldn't stop thinking about her.
How did she spend the day with those men-in-black?
Did they interrogate her or what?
Was she hurt?
Was she fine the while time?
What did they do to her?
But the call earlier tells me that she is fine...right?
The trees along the center isle casted shadows, one after another. The road was glistening with the faint blue sky as the sun set near the horizon. The clouds have some shade of gray. From a distance, I can see the pedestrian at Ataxia, the stoplight was blinking red, green and yellow.
Blinking orange to prepare my thoughts about Miku.
Blinking red to stop caring for her.
Flushing green lights so I can begin with my don't-get-attached rule.
I've been over thinking of her today, and it's not a good sign. Not at all.
The can turned to a intersection and slowed down, then stopped coincidentally in front of my house. I smiled ear to ear because this beat the carp out of my annoyance! The driver turned off the engine and helped me out of the van.
"Thank you sir!" My gratitude received a honk from the car and I watched him leave the Ataxia. When it was completely out of sight, I started to carry the grocery inside.
"Thirty minutes was over," Meiko announced. Her arms crossed over her chest and her brows raised in a skeptical manner.
"What's this? A military training?" I retorted and pushed the paper bags on the table and rushed out to fetch the ones I left. My cousin began to rant how important time is, and asked me what I did after exceeding her given time duration.
Seriously? Do I have to answer that?
"Len! I'm asking you what you've done with the half hour? That's half an hour waste!" She yelled from the kitchen counter while unpacking the goods.
"Of course, it is a waste." I muttered and slouched on the couch.
"Okay! I had a hard time finding all those stuffs!"
"Are you serious?"
Of course, Meiko. When Rin and I go out to shop, I'm just pushing the cart and my twin does the scavenger hunt. Her skills in hunting the things on the list is highly appreciated. And it includes finding fault on people. By people, I mean, me, myself.
Meiko drastically threw a banana to me. This. Is. A. Banana. I can't get mad even this hit my face. The barbaric cousin of mine was standing at the end of the couch. Her brown eyes were staring down at me with a suspiciously. I hate those looks. Am I not trustworthy?
"Ten fairies die when you waste a minute, Len." She coldly said, doing the same gesture of skepticism.
"What the deuce is it if fairies die? Hmm?" They are fictional. I might be stubborn but I'm not a kid who believes in fairy tales.
"A wish can't be granted, Len. A chance can't be forgiven." Meiko turned away.
A chance? A wish? Granted? Forgiven?
Her words are like puzzle pieces that I have to arrange so I can understand a picture. But, no. I'm not thinking functionally.
"Meiko!" I called. She can't leave me with vague thoughts. Curiosity kills the cat. She was there in front of the fridge, putting the leek, oranges and carrots inside.
"What is it, Len?" Her eyes was not averted.
"How come ten fairies die and who said that?"
"W-Well," she furrowed her brows in deep thought, and looked at me with a wide grin. As far as I know, that grin was used for pranks.
"I invented it. I really don't have a reasonable explanation about that? Just want to tell you that time is precious. It is precious therefore you should value the time given to you. At the end of the day, you'll realize that the time you had was never enough to finish everything." She said straightly without a pause.
I, was again, drowning into deep thoughts hearing those words. Time. Time and its importance? The time is not enough to finish everything today...
"Hey! Why so bothered by my seemingly genius joke-" she was abrupted by the ringing of the doorbell. Meiko quickly rushed to the main door and I listened to the noise as someone footsteps are barely heard.
"We're home!" That loud irritating high pitched scream of Oliver struck my eardrums back in reality and the was has resumed.
We are home. We... That means one thing.