The baseball flew through the air at top speeds. The young man smirked as he tightened his grip on the bat, the ball seemed to be moving in slow motion for him. He planted his left foot forward and he brought all his power into a swing, the ball hit the bat and spun for a bit before it flew off into the sky. People started cheering, the young man dropped the bat and took off, he made it to first base where he turned sharply and darted for second. Once he rounded second he dashed off with nearly twice the speed and took third, before he finally spun and ran directly to the home plate. The young man came to a stop after he ran past the base, he smiled and stretched his arms above his head.
The young man’s name is Ishikawa Taro. The oldest son in the Ishikawa family at the age of 22. By every means, he is extremely attractive, tall, short black hair and warm chestnut eyes, and clean-shaven. Normally he wore a white button-up shirt with the sleeves rolled up and with brown or tan pants. The date is March 15th, 1945, and he lives in Osaka with his family. He’s a pretty good baseball player, who hopes to join a league, if that doesn’t take off he wants to pursue a career in film making.
A horn from a car went off, he looked over and saw his friend in a convertible automobile with a bunch of girls in the back. “Taro! Hey Taro!” His friend called, Taro smiled and gave a slight chuckle as he rubbed the back of his head. He walked over to the fence separating the field and the car, “Hey man how’s it going?!”
“Do you want to come with us to the beach today Taro?” A woman asked in the back,
“Yeah, come join us!” Another girl asked. Due to Taro’s good looks, he was quite popular with women, and every day he would get compliments and asked to do favors for them no matter how old they were. Taro out of the goodness of his heart would always help out a woman in need, but would always leave if things got to...intimate.
“No, I’m fine.” Taro said with a smile, “You lot go on and have fun without me.”
“Aw come on Taro!” His friend said, “I’ve got a car full of babes just dying to see you without your shirt on!” The girls just giggled, Taro blushed and he scratched his temple with his finger.
“Nah, no thanks Ryuji. I have plans tonight.”
“Plans?! What plans?! Come hang out with us!”
“No, today is a special day.” He said with a smile, “I promise some other time, and I’ll bring someone with me.”
“Hey, come on.” Ryuji said, “I never see you with girls, this’ll be fun.”
“Sorry, but no.” He smiled, “I’m actually getting married.”
“WHAT?!?!?!!!” The girls in the car all gasped, one started crying. Taro gave an apologetic chuckle and nodded.
“Yeah, I’m getting married.”
“To who?! I’ve never seen you with a girl!”
“Her name is Rena.” He smiled, “Come over some time and you can meet her.”
“How could you not have told me you were getting married?!”
“Must’ve slipped my mind!” Taro said as he rubbed the back of his head and shrugged, he looked at the girls in the car, “Sorry to disappoint you ladies!” He then looked at his watch, “Anyways, she gets off work right about now, I’ll be seeing you later!” He waved and turned to walk off to his own car.
“BYE TARO!!!!” The girls all said in unison,
“HEY TARO!!!! MAKE SURE YOUR FIRST KISS WITH HER IS FROM ME OKAY!!!!!” Ryuji yelled after Taro.
“I’ll do my best!” Taro said to him as he waved goodbye. Taro smiled and waved goodbye to the people he was playing baseball with before he got in his car and started to drive off.
In the center of Osaka in a Newspaper Office, a young girl sat at her desk going through her notes. She smiled and nodded as she compiled everything together, she kept her hair nice and tidy and wore it beneath her cap. She often wore things like shirts and vests to work, and by all Japanese economic standards, she was attractive. She picked everything up and ran over to an office, she knocked on the door, “Chief, may I come in?” She asked, int the center of the room behind a desk sat a large man with a cigar, he was reading over the newspaper. He growled,
“Damn Americans...” He looked up at her, “What do you want?”
“Oh! I just wanted to show you everything I have!” She walked in, “These are the interviews you asked for!” The man groaned and set down the newspaper and he looked at what the girl had.
“Ishikawa Taro huh?”
“I asked you for someone in sports! Not some neighborhood kid.”
“Oh! But he is in sports! Look!” She showed him some notes, “He plays baseball, and one day wants to join a professional team.”
“I see,” he looked through more of it, “And what’s this?” He said looking at a per, the girl jumped a bit and she snatched the paper from him,
“It’s nothing! Just some side notes!”
“Give me that!” He grabbed the paper from her, “Miss Serizawa, journalism is a serious career.” He showed her the paper, it had hearts and small love notes on it, “I asked you for an article on a sports player, NOT your boyfriend.” She then sighed, “Look, Rena, I know you want to give him some publicity of some kind, but this is real life. I mean look outside,” he turned and showed her the window, “There’s a war going on out there, starving people, and many more. I gave you sports because I thought you could handle it. I mean for god’s sake you are the best damn journalist I have ever had!” He turned to her, “This seems like a new low for you.”
“Well, I just...” she sighed, “Listen chief, I wanted to write a story about someone in real life. He lives in the neighborhood and almost everyone knows him! Plus think of it this way, say we publish this interview on him, he could be a real hero. He could get things like scholarships, and give Japan sort of a person to look up too in our time of need.” She leaned forward and put his hands on his desk, “Please publish it! We can even leave out the fact that he’s my boyfriend!”
He sighed and looked out the window, he looked back to her and then he crumpled the paper in his hands and threw it into the trash. “Fine, I’ll publish it.” She smiled and stood up straight, “But you need to promise me to never mix your personal life with your work life again, okay?”
“Yes! I promise!”
“Alright,” he removed his cigar and blew a puff of smoke, “Is there anything else you need?”
“No chief.” She smiled, “I’m actually getting off here pretty soon.”
“I see,” he said, “Well, have a good day. Also, I might need some pictures of Taro in action.”
“Alright! I am sure I can get some!” She bowed to him, “Goodbye!” She smiled and left the office. He sighed,
“God help me.”
She walked through the office to her desk. A man with his desk across the aisle from hers looks up at her, he had long brown hair and a small cigar in his mouth, “Say, Rena, where are you off too?” He asked, she smiled and looked over at him,
“I’m heading home...or...at least wherever my boyfriend wants to take me.”
“A boyfriend?” He asked a bit shocked, “How come you didn’t tell me?”
“You never asked,” she said, “Besides, it’s best not to mix my personal life with my work life.”
“I see, well give him my best.”
“I will,” She said picking up her purse, “Bye Kenshiro!” She waved and walked off. She left the building and saw Taro in his car parked across from her. She smiled, she held her head up high and walked over to him.
“Hey girl!” He said, “You got a boyfriend?”
“Well, what if I do?”
“Well, if you did, I think he would tell you to get in the car.”
“I see,” she said, “Well since I don’t I suppose I can get a ride home with you.” She then walked and got into the passenger seat. “you’ll never guess what happened today!” She said as she buckled in her seatbelt,
“You got fired?” He asked as he started the car, she gave a soft laugh and she removed her cap and let down her long hair.
“No,” she smiled, “Even better. You know that interview I did on you? The Chief said he’s going to publish it!”
“That’s amazing! I’m proud of you!” He said as he started to drive off. She sighed and laid back in her seat finally being able to relax.
“Today was awfully exhausting...Chief had me go all over town just to find a ramen shop that had turned out to be closed for the past ten years.”
“Well, if you’re tired maybe we shouldn’t get married.”
She growled and gave his shin a gentle kick with his foot, “Don’t say that! We’ve waited for so long to finally do this!”
“Yeah,” he said with a laugh, he smiled, “Gosh how time flies,” he said, “It felt like only yesterday when I asked you out. You were so embarrassed, I had never seen anyone turn that shade of red before.”
“Y-You were the exact same color!” She said folding her arms as her cheeks turned a shade of red.
“Yeah,” he said, “I guess I was. That was so many years ago.” He smiled, “I even remember how I did it, and where we were. We were both walking home from school, we went to two different schools, and lived in two different directions, so we would pass each other every day. I guess I always kind of liked you back then despite having never talked to you.”
“I liked you too,” she said with a blush, “I had never really met another guy as cute as you. I wanted to talk to you for so long, but something was just holding me back.”
“Yeah, it’s why I talked to you first.” He smiled, “Gosh, that was three years ago.” They started to approach Rena’s house,
“Yeah...” She looked around, “Taro...”
“Yeah, what’s up?”
“Do you want to...” she paused, “Stop the car? So we can kiss...?” He blushed heavily,
“I...uh...” he swallowed, “Y-Yeah...sure.” He then slowed down and stopped on the side of the road next to a grassy hill. He made it into a spot with shade from a tree nearby. He then turned off the car, he swallowed nervously. Taro and Rena rarely kissed, and when they did it was on special occasions, like birthdays, holidays, or special dates. He looked over at her, she placed her hand on the space on the seat between them and she leaned into him. He reached out his hand and placed it on the side of her face as he pulled her in for a kiss. He moved his other hand and put it on her shoulder. The two then pulled away from each other, she then smiled.
“I love you, Taro.”
“I love you too.”
“I don’t want to go home quite yet...can we stay here a little longer?”
“Yeah, sure. Why?”
“In a few hours you’re going to be my husband...” she said, “I want to get used to kissing you...” He swallowed and nodded,
“Okay.” The two then went back to kissing. Taro and Rena had been together for three years. They mostly kept it a secret between the two of them and even so rarely talked about one another to family. Taro had promised Rena that the moment she turned 19 they would get married, and as such he had asked her family for her hand in marriage, the decision was up to Rena and Rena, of course, said yes. The couple's favorite thing to do together was go dancing on the weekends until they could dance no longer. Every other week Taro would surprise her with either a gift or a new idea for a date. Every third week of the month they would go on a special date, often times picnics or even a romantic dinner, or maybe even a movie. In all economical standards, they were a perfect couple.
He pulled away from her and looked her in the eyes, “What...?” She asked softly,
“Nothing...you’re just beautiful.” She gave a smile, “Alright, let me make you a promise, no matter what happens, no matter the cause, no matter the situation, I will always come back to you.”
“Okay. I guess I’ll have to wait for you in the living room, maybe one day with cookies, or another day with a baby.”
“Baby...?” He blinked twice, he inhaled sharply and quickly jumped, “W-WAIT A MINUTE!!! ARE YOU??? WAIT!!! WHAT?!?!?! WE HAVEN’T EVEN-” She just started laughing.
“No, I’m not pregnant. I’m still a virgin.” She smiled, “I just meant...one day in the future is all.” Taro exhaled heavily,
“Whew...that’s a relief.”
“And you still better be one too!”
“Y-Yeah! I am!”
She smiled, “Good.”
“Do you...want to go back to kissing?”
“No,” she said, “I’m actually quite hungry.” She smirked and pointed forwards, “So take me home at once! I must be fed and ready for tonight!”
He just laughed, “Whatever you say, your majesty.” He started the car and they drove off to Rena’s home. They pulled up in front of the house, Rena’s family was rather rich and as such had a large house. Outside was Rena’s younger brother Toyo, he smiled and waved to them. Rena smiled as Taro parked, she got out of the car and walked over and scooped up her little brother.
“Rena! You’re home!”
“Yeah, I wanted to make it home in time for me to get ready!”
“Awesome!” She set him down and he turned and ran inside, she smiled and walked back to Taro.
“Anyways, I guess I will be seeing you later tonight then.”
“Yeah,” he said, he turned and looked around at the land around the house on the bottom of the hill. He sighed, Osaka had been bombed yesterday and the day before. The 13th was the original date planned for the wedding, but due to the bombings, they had to push it back. “Are we sure we’re going to be alright?” Rena sighed and folded her arms,
“I don’t know...” she said, “We might have to move.”
“Yeah,” he said, “Even if we did it wouldn’t matter, we would probably be moving shortly after that. It feels as though nowhere is safe in Japan.”
“Yeah...” she sighed, “Please hold your chin up, I am sure we will be just fine.”
“And if we aren’t?” He asked, “I have a bad feeling about this...I feel as if we haven’t seen the worst of it.”
“We will be fine,” she took his hand, “Remember that promise you made to me just now? No matter what happens you are going to keep coming back to me.” He nodded,
“Yeah.” He sighed and looked to her, he then smiled, “Anyways! See you tonight?”
“For sure!” She kissed his forehead and walked into her house. Taro smiled,
“Man, what a woman.” He said as he leaned on the car door with his elbow, he blinked when he noticed a slight bulge in his pants. He swallowed and quickly slapped his hands on his crotch before starting the car and driving home. Once he got home he got out of the car and walked up to his house. He smiled and slid open the door, “I’m home!” He called,
“Ah! Welcome home!” Taro’s mother walked from around the corner to greet him. “My, don’t you look handsome!” Taro’s mother looked old, but really she was close to being 42, she had some silver hair here and there. He, along with his teenage sister Miyami, had been living with their mother. Their father died shortly after Miyami was born due to heart problems. Taro loved his mother endlessly, he would honestly die for her if he needed too. That is if she could even die, back in the day his mom actually used to be quite the martial artist, and even in her old age she still is. He figured she would easily outlive him and dance on his grave LONG after he was dead and gone.
“Hi, mom.” He smiled, and removed his shoes,
“What took you so long to get home? Baseball practice normally isn’t this long.”
He smiled, “I was with Rena.” He said as he put his shoes together and stepped into the house. Taro’s mother was the one person he told Rena about, every moment he shared with Rena he also shared with his mother.
“That’s right, you’re getting married,” She smiled, “I completely forgot.” she sighed, “It seemed like only yesterday you were my little boy, and now look at you. You’re a grown man and getting married.”
He smiled and rubbed the back of his head, “Yeah.”
“I wish your father could be here to see it.”
“Trust me, he is. If not physically then at least in the jar we put his ashes in.” He said with a laugh, Taro then gasped for air as his mother planted her fist in his gut. He fell to his knees and rested his head on the floor.
“It’s rude to talk about the dead you know.”
“Yeah...got it...forgive me for my sins.”
“Hey!” A voice called from behind him, it was Miyami. She was rather cute, and always had guys lined up from Osaka to Tokyo, and clear down to Okinawa. Everyone wanted to be with her. She looked down at Taro, “What happened to Taro?”
“Just some pre-marriage jitters.” Their mother said. Their mother, Kimiko, had a rather strange sense of humor. You could never tell if she was joking or not, and when she was it wasn’t very funny or it was just dark and depressing.
“Oh yeah! You’re getting married! I forgot!” She smiled and grabbed a candy out of her pocket and handed it to him, “Here you go! Good luck candy!”
“Th-Thank you...” He said reaching out and grabbing the candy.
“You should get ready Taro, as should we Miyami.” Their mother said Miyami smiled.
“Okay!” The two then turned and walked down the hall, Taro grit his teeth and he slowly got to his feet.
“Man...she’s strong!” He coughed before he finally straightened himself out, he looked at the candy in his hand. It was butterscotch, his favorite. His sister loved him quite a bit, and whenever he did favors for her she would always give him a butterscotch candy. He smiled and took the wrapper off and put the candy in his mouth, “Delicious.” He smiled and walked into his bedroom and started to get himself prepared.
The day passed and became the afternoon. Taro was in his room, fully dressed in his nice clothes, he looked at himself in the mirror and wasn’t quite sure what to do with his hair. Should he sleek it back? Spike it up? Comb it to the side maybe? Soon Kimiko called from the other room, “Taro! Everyone is here!”
“Uh...yeah!” He called, looking at himself, “Just a second!” He tried different things with his hair, over and over, and over again. He then swallowed and decided just to leave it as it was naturally, which wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t how one would do their hair for a wedding. He walked over to his bedroom door, he took a deep breath and he looked back into his room. He had the largest room in the house, it faced the ocean, across the way was Hiroshima. The bay was nice but cluttered with large boats of war. He had a sliding door with windows that showed that view. On the wall to his left was the front of the bedroom, a radio sat atop a shelf, there was some baseball posters, as well as some photographs of the family, to the right was a walk-in closet, it was half empty to make room for Rena’s stuff. He looked back to the door, “Ladies and gents...the moment we have all been waiting for.” He whispered to himself. He slid the door and walked out into the house. In the main living room, the two families were gathered around the table, Rena was sitting at the end, and a man of God stood before her. He swallowed nervously when he looked at Rena’s family.
Her dad seemed to have a scowl stuck to his face, his hair was shaggy and he looked like he would rip off Taro’s arm and beat him with it if he ever hurt Rena. Rena’s mother, on the other hand, looked the complete opposite, she looked rather kind and approachable. She had brown hair and some squinted eyes and looked like a rather nice old lady who might invite you in for a glass of milk. He then looked to Rena and his face turned bright red, Rena looked absolutely stunning. He slowly walked over and sat next to him.
“Aha! Now that we are all here, let us begin!” The man of God spoke. He then started to drone on about love and union. Taro looked to Rena and she looked back to him. He subtly pointed to the man and mouthed the words, ‘This Guy’ and he then acted like he was falling asleep. Rena gave a soft giggle before she then looked back ahead. The wedding went on as usual. Taro and Rena exchanged words of affection, and even gave each other rings before they shared the kiss that tied them together. The after party, was the two families sitting around the table enjoying a nice dinner. Rena’s family presented Taro with a gift, since he liked baseball so much they gave him a new mit and new bat made of metal. In return Kimiko had gotten Rena a typewriter, of the newest model. It had taken quite a while to save up for. Dinner came and went, and soon Rena’s family went home.
The night came, Taro and Rena were in their room settling down. Taro was getting dressed for bed, and Rena had just taken a bath and was in a robe. She sat at a table in front of a mirror and brushed her hair. Taro let out a sigh of relief and he stretched and fell back onto his futon, “Man, what a day!”
“Yeah,” Rena said with a smile, “I was a bit nervous though, I thought your mom wouldn’t like me.”
“What are you talking about?” He asked rolling onto his side to face her, “My mom loves you!”
“Yeah, she’s a lot nicer than I thought.”
“Yep.” He smiled, “You know, I think your mom loves me a little too much.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, during dinner, when you went to go to the bathroom, she told me that when your dad dies, and when you and me don’t work out then I can go and marry her.”
Rena gave a slight laugh, “You wouldn’t last a day married to my mom.”
“Maybe, maybe not. Who knows?” He rolled onto his back and rested his arms behind his head, “I mean it can’t be that hard. It could even be an adventure.”
“Whatever you say.” She got up and walked over to Taro, she stood above him and looked down at him, Taro sat up.
“Are you okay?” He asked, Rena held out her arms before she fell forward landing on top of him. Taro let out a slight groan of discomfort. She gave a laugh and wrapped her arms around him.
“Ugh! I really can’t believe we are married!”
“Yeah, me too.” He said wrapping his arms around her,
“Today was perfect.”
“It really was.” She said, “I love you, Taro.”
“I love you too.”
“We’re married now,”
“Yeah, what of it?”
“...” she paused, “Do you want to have sex?” Taro’s face turned bright red.
“W-Well..I-I-” She pulled away from their hug and looked him in the eyes. He swallowed heavily, she smiled and the two started to kiss. The couple shared with each other probably their most tender, sensual and loving moment. They ended up laying under the covers facing each other, with his arms around her and her head rested beneath his chin. Taro moved his head down and kissed the top of her head.
“Taro...” she said softly,
“It was wonderful...”
“It really was...” He smiled and pulled her closer to him so their bodies touched. “Rena...no matter the outcome of the war...I’m always going to be here for you. I’m going to protect you and not let anything happen to you. You mean too much to me.”
Rena blushed and she looked up at him, “Do you...mean it?” He looked down at her and winked.
“Of course I do! Have I ever lied to you?”
She smiled, “No,” the two then kissed, Rena put both of her hands on the sides of his face. “I love you.”
“I love you too.”
“Do you want to turn out the light?”
“Yeah,” he turned and reached next to them turning out the oil lamp and the room went dark. He turned back to her and held her in his arms, and the two drifted off to sleep.