Nightly Rituals

Tana + Tatsumi

Chapter Six: Tana + Tatsumi:

-Tana-

It’s hard to describe my relationship with Seiichiro. We aren’t in love, but we are close. I don’t know what to call us. I don’t even think there is an “us”. To tell you the truth, I’m not exactly looking for a romantic relationship. The more I think about it, the more I realize something. I haven’t figured it out myself. For now, I just enjoy his company.

-Tana’s Summer-

We talk for most of our time together. When we go out to eat, Seiichiro never lets me pick up the tab.

“A lady shouldn’t have to pay in company,” he told me one evening when the waiter gave us our check. I raised an eyebrow.

“And why not?” I asked.

“It’s courteous.”

“What if two women are together? Who pays then?”

Seiichiro shrugged. “I guess they split it.”

“So why should I be any different?” I asked.

“You just are,” he said. He ended up picking up the tab that night. Honestly, I couldn’t figure him out. I gave up on talking about his parents, particularly his mother. Seiichiro usually changed the subject when I asked. He told me that Tsuzuki reminded him of her. Still, I can understand where Seiichiro is coming from. I too have a great failure I would like to forget.

“Tana?” I heard him ask as we walked back from the restaurant. I turned my head, startled.

“Yes?” I asked.

“Are you feeling okay?” Seiichiro asked. He tried to put his hand on my forehead, but I pushed him away.

“Uh, yeah, yeah,” I said. “I’m fine.” As I looked around, I began to remember what we were doing before. Seiichiro offered to walk me home.

“You don’t have to,” I said at the table.

“Nah, I don’t mind,” he insisted. “It’s not far from place anyway.”

“You sure with this?” I asked.

“Yes,” Seiichiro answered. He put up his head to stop me from talking. “It is fine.” For some reason, Seiichiro can be rather persuasive when he wants to be.

“Alright,” I said at last. I had been so lost in thought during our walk that I didn’t notice that we had arrived at my apartment. The look on his face told me he wasn’t convinced of my answer. I tried to wave him off.

“Really, I’m fine,” I insisted. Seiichiro didn’t bother to ask. I walked up to the lobby doors.

“Thank you for tonight,” I said.

“You’re welcome,” he replied. “I guess I’ll see you again tomorrow then?”

“Sure.”

“Good night.” At first, I stood at the door and listened for to him leave. My heart sank as he began walking away. I gripped the door handle as tightly as I could.

“Wait!” I shouted. I turned to see Seiichiro staring at me.

“What’s the matter?” he asked. I pressed my lips together.

“Please… stay…” I blurted out without a thought. I looked in his eyes. To be honest, I didn’t know what I was thinking when I said that. Once it came out, I could only wait and see what happened next. To my surprise, Seiichiro accepted my offer.

“Alright,” he replied. I tried to think of something to say, but I nodded without a word.

“Of course,” I said. I let him in before following behind.

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