Chapter 13: Mistletoe
Yuri watched the days fade into weeks, and even months. Soon the clouds blew snow down to the city. It didn't take long for everything to turn to a brown mush, though some spots sparkled and shined beautifully in the light of the moon. He was outstandingly happy, and felt his life couldn't get any better. Yuri truly never wanted it to end. But he knew things would change eventually, just not in the way he expected. The bond between him, Kazumi, Hikari, and Chiyo had them all pulled together stronger than a magnet. It shouldn't have taken him by surprise when Kazumi invited them all over for a sleepover, then again a lot of things shocked him.
"It'll be totally all right and everything, Yuri and Hikari will sleep in a different room so Dad won't be suspicious or anything, and me and Chiyo can chill in my room. I even have a bunch of ghost stories I've been dying to share!" Kazumi's eyes lit up the entire room as she described out her plan.
"I'm up for it if you guys are." Hikari grinned.
"Of course!" Chiyo chimed in. Yuri, on the other hand, had his mind still reeling on the idea of an entire night with Kazumi. Sure, Hikari and Chiyo would be there, so they wouldn't be alone or anything. Though Hikari would hint at him constantly, slowly pressing him and her together.
"Yuri?" Kazumi's voice broke his thoughts. He smiled, trying not to look as awkward as he felt.
"Sweet!" Her eyes shimmered with a light that would only be envied by heaven itself. "Now the real question is, should we do this before or after Christmas?" She pondered. Christmas? What was that?
"I think we should do it after, it's way too busy as it is anyway." Hikari pointed out.
"I agree, that gift shopping won't get itself done." Chiyo sighed.
"Good point, my family's having this huge get together anyway. All in favor of a sleepover after the holiday?"
"I." They all said. Kazumi clapped her hands together.
"Now! As for what we're going to do, you guys won't believe how many ghost stories I found the other day..." She started to say, but was cut off by a more stern, yet sweet voice.
"Attention students! I just wanted to share a word with you all before school ends. As I'm sure you all know by now, today is the start of the holiday!" A couple students cheered at this, and Martha continued. "Something to remember, during this jolly time of year, is that no matter how many gifts you may receive, or kisses under the mistletoe..." A few people sniggered. "This year, I encourage each and every one of you to give something from the heart to another. Whether it be expensive, or a homemade gizmo, any gift can go a long way. After all, one who receives plenty, but gives naught shall linger with an iron heart." The class was completely silent now, none dared to interrupt or say anything to Ms. Grimmrock, or, Martha.
"On a brighter note, I brought lollipops exclusively for today, one for each of you. Come, grab one!" She took out a jar of suckers, and passed it around the room. Yuri picked out a round, red pop, peeled off the wrapper, and plucked it in his mouth. A sweet taste filled his mouth, engulfing him in a wondrous flavor. Hikari nibbled at a purple one, eating around the edges.
"You eat lollipops weird." Kazumi noted, eyebrow raised.
"It's not that odd, I've seen more peculiar ways," Chiyo said quietly. Hikari grinned, pointing a finger at Chiyo.
"See? I'm not the only weird one." Chiyo went a faint shade of pink, and giggled. Just then, the bell rang, and flurries of people crowded the hallway, all anxious to get out of the building. Yuri took his time gathering his things into his backpack, Hikari bouncing at his heels.
"Ready to go yet?" Hikari paced around him.
"Just give me a minute."
"Yuuuuriiiiiiii..." He whined. Yuri swung his backpack around his shoulder, rolling his eyes.
"All right, let's go crybaby."
"I'm not a crybaby!"
"You can be."
"What?! No way." The two boys exited the school, as their conversation took a turn.
"So, sleepover with Kazumi. Should be fun,isn't that right?" Hikari eyed Yuri with a smirk.
"Wh-what's that supposed to mean?!" Yuri felt his face go hotter than the sun. It always did this anytime Hikari brought up Kazumi, and he did that a lot. Hikari rolled
"You know exactly what I mean! Why are you so jittery about dating her anyway? Do you... I mean, I'd have no problem with it, but do you like guys or..."
"Er, no, why would that be a problem if I did?"
"Honestly, I don't know why people think it's such a big problem. Society is weird, I guess. Hey, we're getting off topic. Kazumi, sleepover, talk." Yuri looked down at the ground.
"I've never felt like this about someone else before, but that doesn't mean we have to date." He started awkwardly.
"You can still try."
"What if I change while she's right there? Not everyone is as accepting as you chose to be, Hikari!" He bit his lip.
"Yeah, I know, but..." Hikari's words trailed off, and he sighed. "Look, I know it's going to be difficult, but you won't know anything unless you try, so go get her! Just tell her how you feel."
"That's too far already."
"What? Hmm, then how about we try to get you two under some mistletoe?"
"Mistletoe?" Yuri repeated.
"Yeah, it's this sort of plant, and when two people are under it, they kiss. Simple really, it's Christmas tradition in its own way."
There it was again, that word. Christmas. That was the second time Yuri had heard it be mentioned, so he figured now was the time to find out just what it was.
"What is a Christmas, Hikari?"
"You didn't celebrate Christmas? Man, it's my favourite time of year. Originally, it was all religion based, but now a lot of people celebrate it by just giving gifts to each other on Christmas Day, which is on the 25th. Usually all your family gets together and everything to celebrate, too."
"From what I've heard it sounds amazing."
"It's not as glorious as it sounds, trust me. This year I think Mom and Dad will be here, so we can all be together!" Hikari laughed.
"Aren't they normally there?" Yuri asked. Hikari shrugged.
"Not always, but it's awesome when they are." Yuri nodded, and continued trudging through the now familiar snowy streets to Hikari's house. He felt a slight excitement tingle through his body. Who knew that holidays could hold this many things to look forward to, and so many things he had yet to see.