Chapter 30 - Kurumi's birthday party
I waited at the train station. What a day today. I think the pills did work, though. I mean, I don't feel as terrible as in the morning. Still somewhat shaken, but it's better. I feel excited and nervous; what does Pablo have for me? Is it related to my birthday? I hope I don't feel disappointed...
I opened the bamboo gates and rang the doorbell. Pablo opened the door and showed a smile. "Welcome!"
"Hi. Why did you want me to come here?"
"You will see."
"You keep saying that!"
"Close your eyes and follow me."
"Huh?" I closed my eyelids. He gently picked my hand and strolled, opening another door. "I have something to show you."
We stopped somewhere. "You can open your eyes now."
So I did, and Pablo suddenly pulled me closer, placing his lips on mine. I shivered in surprise, returning the kiss, as he caressed my back. I put my hand on his cheek. I didn't know how long we kissed. But it was beautiful, and I wished it would last forever. Forever and one week... Infinity.
We pulled from each other to catch our breath. "This was... The best surprise ever!"
"There'll be more." Pablo grinned at me mysteriously. I admitted this became the best thing since my nightmarish flashback.
"Come to the living room," he said, holding my hand. "Come, come!"
Is this real? It is too beautiful to last... I hope it's not just in my head.
I walked up in the living room, seeing the decorations, and gasped.
"Happy birthday, Ku!" Pablo and Mizuki shouted. "We made you a smaller birthday party!"
"Oh my gosh!" I placed a hand on my mouth.
"Here is your gift." Pablo handed me a box wrapped in a night sky paper with a ribbon.
"And another one." I received another one from Mizuki.
"And this is from Mai."
Tears showed in my eyes. "Oh my gosh! You're amazing! I'm moved!"
"I thought this could make you happy, so I decided to organize a smaller party. I'm sorry if it's not good enough."
"It's much more than just good!" I assured Pablo, placing gifts on the table and asked for scissors. Mizuki returned from the kitchen with it.
I first opened the present from Mai. (Of course, before that, I carefully cut the paper).
"Oh, gosh! Aww!" a figure of a cat appeared inside. "It's so cute!"
I caressed the cat with my index finger, finding another two cats.
"Oh, holy sausages! It's adorable! Tell Mai I love them!"
Kurumi opened the present from Mizuki next and saw the sneakers. "Whoa! I needed some shoes! Thanks so much!" I picked them from a box. "Glitters."
I mumbled, and tears of happiness soaked my cheeks. I swept them with my hand. "This is amazing! Can I try them?"
"After you open the second gift." Mizuki lightly smiled.
I did what she said and firstly grabbed the fluffy white sweater. "Aww! It's so cute! I needed a sweater like that!" I found the skirt afterward. "I needed another skirt too! You can read minds!" as last, I discovered the light blue warm knee socks. "Aww! Can I try them?"
I quickly left for the toilet room and returned in the sneakers and clothes. Mizuki and Pablo clapped. "You look great!" both of them said, and I slightly blushed. "Okay, one more gift left!" I chirped.
"That one is from me."
I felt curious about what Pablo could give me, thus decided to open his gift as last.
I carefully cut the paper wrapped around the box. "Aww. It's very nicely wrapped! I don't want to tear down such nice looking papers!"
"It's just paper." Pablo shrugged, "Doesn't matter."
I cut the paper off the box and opened the box. "Aww!"
I picked up the girl demon plush first. I examined the detailed plushie up and down. "This is the best thing I've ever seen!"
I noticed the other plushie. "This one too! They resemble twins. Although, I feel I've seen them somewhere. Like if I saw someone looking like the two. I can't remember now..."
"Huh? That's strange. Aren't they demons?"
"Maybe someone cosplayed as them. I'm very thankful for these gifts!" I placed plushies on the table and gave Pablo a tight hug. I then kissed Pablo on the lips.
I didn't care whether Mizuki will see us or not. He kissed me back, and tears of happiness continued falling down my cheeks.
When we finished kissing, I buried my head in his shirt before pulling away from him.
"Since when did you two become a couple?" Mizuki asked in surprise.
I was too excited to answer her question. "I'm so moved! This is amazing! The idea and this party itself is a gift!"
Mizuki pushed the plate with a cupcake towards me with a smile. "We have some food, too."
"This too nice of you! I don't know how to thank you... the word 'thanks' isn't enough..."
"It is." disagreed Pablo, "We organized the party to cheer you up."
"You organized the party." corrected him Mizuki, "I only helped."
I stole one cupcake and began eating it. "This muffin is good too." I murmured with a full mouth.
"It's a cupcake, though."
"Isn't cupcake a muffin with some cream?" I objected. "Aren't you going to help me with the food? I'll fell bad if I'll eat everything myself.."
Pablo gladly joined me, and Mizuki didn't mind much. She hasn't eaten much, though, due to her pickiness.
"This sure is better than exams and being home alone!" If I wasn't happy the whole day, now I was. Another flashback appeared in my mind, though...
[Kurumi's POV/Flashback/THE PAST]:
Time flew, and it wasn't long till my birthday. I felt nervous; mom didn't seem to be planning anything. I asked her about it. "Mom? It's gonna be my birthday soon."
"When?" Mom asked calmly.
"You don't know when my birthday is?"
I asked quietly. Mom shrugged. "It's not that important."
I lowered my head. "On the fifteenth of December."
"Aha. Well, it's not that important, isn't it? We don't have to celebrate."
"But it's my birthday!" I said desperately. "My big day! Day of my birth!"
"Not very important. As you become an adult, you won't care when your birthday is. Get used to it."
"So... Won't I get any gifts? I wanted plastic horses and some d-d-drawing supplies."
I had to blinked to sweep the annoying tears off.
Mom only eyeballed me coldly. "That's a waste of money. Toys? Why? You can survive without them. As long as you have a toilet, bed, food, it's fine."
I gulped. "B-But mom! I'm g-gonna be bored without toys!"
"There are tons of different ways to entertain yourself. You don't need toys."
"Can I at least get a paintbrush or some candy?" I whispered.
"Candy? No. You will only ruin your teeth. And the toys aren't necessary. We didn't celebrate my birthday; thus, we won't make yours."
"You had your birthday already?"
"I did. And you didn't even care! I don't have to care either."
"No means no. We won't celebrate your birthday. Now stop wasting my time!"
"M-Mom. I'm sorry I-I forgot. P-please celebrate m-my-"
"I said, STOP WASTING MY TIME! GET OUT OF HERE!"
I ran out of the room to the cold dark hall, where the plaster was continually falling.
I was excited about my birthday; I only wished to get the artist set and a few plastic horses like Mei. And now mom won't buy me them? She never believes me anything! No toys, nothing I want, not even candy.
I sniffed and moved to the bedroom, where I cried into my pillow. I had no plushies. No stuffed animals, no dolls. Just the figure of a kitten. My mom carelessly threw my toys from kindergarten in the trash bin. I desired them back; nevertheless, it was too late. Thus, I barely had any toys, not even the one I received from dad. My memories of him disappeared. I couldn't smell his scent anymore, nor the smell of my mom before her behavior changed.
I cried and cried, thinking mom's behavior is my fault. I'm wasting mom's time. She won't celebrate my birthday. She won't celebrate my birthday. She won't celebrate...
Big tears soaked my pillow. I just wanted some affection and decided to ask Mei about it. Also, hug her, I've had no one else. The next day I told Mei about my problems.
"Mom won't celebrate my birthday." I cried in the park.
"What?" Mei asked me, shocked.
"It's not necessary; adults don't celebrate birthdays, so I don't have to celebrate mine either. I forgot a-about her birthday; now she w-won't celebrate mine."
Mei stared at me, speechless. I continued, "I won't get any gifts!
N-not even what I wished for! Not even my d-dream artist set! Mom doesn't listen to me! She doesn't care!"
"Kuru... We will find a solution."
"You can celebrate at our place."
"Y-your mom doesn't want me there! She hates me! I'm so sorry I bullied you! It's my fault! It is all my fault! It's my fault! I must be doing something wrong."
Mei handed me a candy. "It's okay, Kuru." She hugged me. I'll convince mom somehow."
"M-My house is ugly, my room's plaster is falling, plaster is falling everywhere, there are spiderwebs, mess, mom, doesn't clean. She doesn't care at all!"
"You can spend your birthday at our house. I'll make it somehow, I promise!"
"Y-You're so nice!" I hugged her. "Thanks a lot." It arrived as whispers.
"What's it, Mei?" Mom smiled at me.
"Can Kuru celebrate her birthday at our house?"
"She's sad. Her mom doesn't want to celebrate her birthday. She doesn't care."
Mom straightened up and looked at me. "What do you mean by doesn't care?"
"She doesn't care about her birthday or her dreamed toys."
"That sounds like something serious."
"Maybe I should send a social worker there."
"What? No!" I freaked out.
"It could be better for her. What mother behaves like that?"
"I think her mom just got angry! So she said what she said!"
Mom seemed unconvinced. "Please, don't send any social worker. Mom, please! She just needs support. Can't we just get her what she wishes? Make it easier for her? She doesn't have it easy at home."
"Yes! Please, mom, please! Don't send her to the orphanage!"
Mom wore a frown on her face. She had black hair and chestnut eyes, like any Japanese woman. She appeared thin and pretty for her age. "Unless it's too expensive. What does she wish for?"
"An artist set and the plastic horses we have."
"Can we get her...? Make her a surprise birthday party?"
"If you want to."
"Yes!" I cheered.
"I suppose we could."
I began jumping from happiness; my hair bounced up and down until I eventually calmed down and hugged mom. "Thanks, mom!"
On the fifteenth of December, everything seemed to be ready. The cake, the gifts Kurumi wanted, and some food. I couldn't wait to bring her inside.
"Let's go to our place, Kuru. I have something for you!"
"What?" My heart raced. Will I celebrate my birthday anyway?
"You'll see," Mei said mysteriously. I had a feeling it is for my birthday.
Mei's mom waited for me after school. She decided to take both Mei and me home. I watched people passing by the whole ride. Mrs. Satou turned on the radio and played some songs. I listened to them and continued watching the world outside the car.
As we arrived in front of Satou's house, I found my stomach in knots, unsure of what to expect. However, also excited. What could Mei have for me?
Mei impatiently opened the door, and Mrs. Satou followed us in. In the hall, Mei wrapped a scarf around my eyes and tied it up.
"Take it off, when I tell you!"
I had no idea where I'm going, only a hunch. It's the living room.
"Now, you can take it off!" Mei announced a couple of seconds later.
I took it off and blinked, covering eyes with my hand, because of the sudden light. As my eyes got used to it, I raised my head, peering around myself, and gasped. "Oh my god!"
I placed a hand on my mouth, and my eyes became watery. "Omigash... Omigash... T-Thank you!"
On the table, I saw some food and a cake. An actual cake! Plus something to drink... And something wrapped in a box! Two boxes!! I felt very touched.
"Happy birthday, Kuru!" Mei said in a cheerful tone. I blinked to get rid of these annoying tears.
"This is amazing! !" I hugged Mei. "Thank you! Thank you!"
I walked up to Mrs. Satou and quickly wrapped arms around her too.
"Open the gifts, Kuru."
I jumped from happiness.
"Can I?" I carefully gazed at Mrs. Satou, who nodded. I grabbed one box and tore down the paper.
I stared at the box I was holding, and a big tear fell from my eye. "My- My!"
In the box, I found a beautiful set of plastic horses—four of them.
"A-Amazing! Amazing!" I shouted.
"Open the second gift too!"
It revealed an artist set, the one I wished—pencils, brushes, eraser, pencil sharpener, and markers.
I continued thanking them. Mei encouraged me to eat a piece of cake. My favorite. How did Mei know?
I ate the whole piece. "This is delicious!"
I could see Mei is pleased as well. Mrs. Satou gifted us some lemonade. I unboxed the plastic horses with the help of Mei's mom, and together with Mei, we played. I also drew a few pictures with Mei's use, and we watched cartoons together.
However, after a few hours, I had to go. I thanked them again and happily left. Nevertheless, felt immediately unhappy at home. At home was nothing to be happy about. I just played with my new gifts. I figured I enjoy pretending to be someone else. Someone else who has a caring mom.