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Chapter 4

Takashi continues to fly without looking back, noticeably beginning to get very tired, carrying a still unconscious Olivia. He notices that he’s already flying over the city and begins descending. He inadvertently crash-lands on the street, rolling over, and drops Olivia. “Uhhh, shit,” he moans. He gets up, holding his back, and walks over to Olivia. He starts shaking her, yelling for her to wake up. “Olivia? Olivia, wake up!” he yells. She starts to come to. He tells her that they have to go, now “Uhhh, what happened?” she asks, still tired and blurry. “You were tired after expending all of your energy and passed out. I grabbed you and flew away as fast as I could,” he explains. “Ok. What are we doing on the streets?” “Yeah, sorry about that. I was getting tired too and we came down too fast. Sorry,” he apologized. “It’s alright,” she chuckles, “uhhhh….” “You okay?” “Yeah, I’ll be fine,” she says as she gets up, though noticeably still very tired, “let’s go.”

They continue on walking through the city. “Wow, the city looks so different during the day,” says Olivia. A feeling of stillness and silence fills the air; they walk past a bunch of buildings and shops and notices that the signs are in Russian. They realize that they’re IN Russia and wonder what they were doing here; they also start to wonder what the soldiers are doing here. They continue walking, noticeably still tired from their ordeal with the soldiers, and come across a wide, open area with buildings all around. “Where are we?” she asks in confusion. “I don’t know,” he answers, confused himself, “this is getting stranger by the minute.” “Dammit!” Olivia exclaims, “why can’t we remember??” They walk around, trying very hard to remember what happened, but can’t. They start arguing and shooting theories; they notice a monument with a statue of two people, one raising his hand and appear to be pointing at something, the other sitting down holding the handle of a sword in front of him, with the one standing holding the blade of the sword with his right hand and holding a shield in his left. The front of the base seems to be depicting people sacrificing property with a text in Russian above it. “What the hell is this?” Olivia asks. “Well, it’s a statue,” answers Takashi jokingly, turning to her. “Thank you for that,” she replies sarcastically. She moves closer, staring at the statue; a strange feeling overwhelms her. “The Monument to Minin and Pozharsky commemorates the end of the Time of Troubles,” she suddenly recites, still staring at the statue. “What did you say?” “I remember…”

She then flashes back to three days ago when they were both just here. They were doing a tour of Moscow and just arrived at the Red Square where the Kremlin and the monument resided. They approached the monument with other tourists, taking pictures; the tour guide explained the monument to them, “This object you see before is called the Monument to Minin and Pozharsky. It commemorates Prince Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin who expelled the Polish army and put an end to the Time of Troubles in the year 1612.” She was wearing what seemed to be standard tour guide attire, a dark blue vest and blue shirt with long-sleeves neatly tucked in and dark blue skirt down to the knee; her long-sleeves rolled up a bit near her hands with her vest buttoned-up. No tear or wrinkle in sight indicated that she is organized, neat and takes her job seriously, but not too seriously as to make a fuss out of everything. Evident in the way she smiles as she explains and when answering questions posed by the tourists, ensuring everyone enjoys the journey—she enjoys her job even when some of them talks amongst themselves and doesn’t really listen. “This whole area is called the Red Square for those of you who did not know. Behind the monument is the famous St. Basil’s Cathedral and behind that is the Moscow Kremlin: it used to be the royal citadel, but now is the official home of the Russian President. This square is considered the central square of Moscow and all of Russia, connecting all of Moscow’s major streets with Russia’s major highways.” She had a central Russian dialect or accent, the standard accent in Russia.

Both Olivia and Takashi take a moment to take in the scenery, the buildings, and where they are. “This is so amazing,” Olivia said, “isn’t it, baby?” “Yeah, it is,” he replied. “Ooo, let’s take a picture in front of the monument. Come on.” “Okay, okay.” She prepared her camera and ran towards the monument while Takashi slowly walked behind her, smiling. The tour guide stopped them both and told them they have 20 minutes to explore the rest of the square and then they will meet back at the tour bus and move on. She nodded at her, smiling, telling her “ok” and continued running towards the monument. Reaching the monument, she looked back to see Takashi still slowly walking. She yelled to him to hurry up. The smile on her face, indicating happiness, yet behind it lays another story. She had just broken up with her boyfriend four months ago. His name was Lucas, Luke for short. A nice man, but like any other, only concerned with what others think of him. He never really loved or cared about Olivia; only saw her as a sexual prospect, an object to gratify him. I guess he’s not really a nice man then.

Takashi first met Olivia at the university accommodation and started hanging-out, sort of. Although they both are studying arts—psychology—they don’t see each other a lot outside of the accommodation. They were friends, although Luke prefers hanging out with the more popular crowd and doesn’t really talk to him. Nevertheless, Olivia didn’t abandon him. She still talked to him and hung out with him. Takashi had secretly liked her, but never actually had the courage to say it; he stayed friends with her. He never quite understood most people though; never understood their need to be accepted by others through lying and deceit. Or maybe that was just his twisted perception of reality. Anyway, he grew up in a quite wealthy upper middle-class family. They weren’t millionaires, but his father made more than enough to support him and the entire family. He never really cared about money though; and he wasn’t arrogant, despite being quite wealthy. He never flaunted his wealth or his knowledge. In fact, he was quite the opposite. He just wanted to be happy, never tried to stand out—too much—and rarely gave answers to questions he knew the answers to. He just wanted to be accepted for who he is, not for someone he’s not. Frequently bullied at school, he had very little friends. But he didn’t really care back then. The experience taught him a lesson though, and enforced those which he already knew: to never be arrogant, never judge people before you truly know them, never hurt others, and to always try to be yourself no matter what.

Takashi always follows his heart, doing what he loves and all that. Or at least, he tries. And he loves his family, no matter what and no matter how many countless fights or arguments they always get into; and he respects his father for always knowing what he wanted to do in his life and not regretting it to this day. His father is of Japanese descent, and his mother American, and is very wise from years of experience under his belt. He takes his responsibility as the head of the family seriously—too seriously sometimes—always working day in, day out to support his family, but always tries to find time to spend with his wife and children.

When Luke finally left Olivia, she came to Takashi, crying. They sat down and she hugged him, and told him everything: how he was an asshole and a jerk that never really cared. Takashi could just sit there and listen, telling her it was gonna be ok, gently stroking her back. She cried on his shoulder, “Oh, Takashi. You’re a good friend, and a very sweet guy,” she then looked at him and smiles, “why can’t all guys be like you?” He chuckles, “If all guys were like me, I don’t think the human race would be able to progress and/or survive.” She started laughing and stopped crying. She looked to him with a smile, her eyes still filled with tears, reflecting the lights. She was always happier being with him than Luke, even when they were still together. Takashi always made her smile…made her happy. But, she didn’t realize how he’s more perfect for her than Luke, until it was too late it seemed. Or perhaps she secretly always loved him too and was waiting for him to make the move. She asked him if she could stay the night with him; he was a bit uncomfortable, but allowed her to stay. He couldn’t have just told her to go away after what she had been through after all.

The following morning, he awoke to the smell of fried eggs, bacon and sausages. She had awoken ahead of him to make breakfast for them both. He stood up, still a bit sleepy, and walked, fumbling, to the table. She finished and put them all on two plates with toasted bread. “Olivia, you really don’t have to do all this,” he told her kindly. “Yes, I do,” she replied with a soft voice, looking down. She turned to him and grabbed his hand, “As a thank you for listening and letting me stay the night.” “Okay,” he said quietly, not knowing what else to say. She continued to look at him, still holding his hands. “What?” he asked. “I should’ve done this a long time ago,” she said, realizing that he was always the one. “Would you like to…go out with me?” she nervously asked him. He looked at her strangely; this is what he always wanted yet he was unable to speak. It was a bit uneasy for him considering that she had just broken up with her boyfriend after all. He was happy to finally have the chance to go out with her, but can’t help but wonder, if she was only using him as the rebound guy. “Please,” she suddenly spoke. He snapped out of his rumination and looked at her. “I’ve always cared about you,” she confesses to him, “even when I was with…him. And I still do. You were the one who was always there for me when he was gone, doing God knows what with his friends, haha.” She gave him a big hug before speaking quietly, “You were always the one who made me happy, made me smile. And you still do. I should’ve realized it sooner,” she released him, “I know you care about me too. I can see it in your eyes.” She smiled at him. “So, what do you say?” she asked again. “I…would love to,” he replied with a sincere smile, “but we’re having breakfast now.” He couldn’t have said that with a more naive face; it was probably the most naive face ever coupled with what probably was the most naive thing ever said in that situation. She laughs, “Well then after, you dummy,” she said with light-heartedness. “Hahaha, right.”

“Come on, slowpoke,” she said to him as he walked slowly towards her. “Ok, ok. Let’s just take the picture and get outta here,” he said. “Alright,” she said with a smile and enthusiasm. “Uhh, one problem: Who’s going to take the picture?” he asked her. “Oh, right. Uhmm, excuse me, mister! Could you please take our picture in front of the monument?” The man, wearing an overcoat and a hat, with his face slightly covered but was still visible, turned to her and spoke, “Of course, young lady,” with a German accent. “Oh, you’re accent. Are you from Germany?” Olivia asked as Takashi looked at him with untrusting stare. “Ah, yes. Guilty. But, my mother was American. We actually moved to the states after I finished junior high school; I did my high school and university there,” he replied before turning to Takashi, still looking at him with suspicion, and smiled. “Wow. That must’ve been hard for you,” she inquired. “Not really. At that time, I wanted to go see America, since that’s part of my heritage,” he explained. “Oh, ok. That’s good then.” “Thank you. Alright, shall we take the picture now?” “Oh, yes, yes. Come on, baby.” They both moved into position as the wind began to pick up speed. “Ok, smile now.” Snap! He took the picture and looked at it. The wind speed started to get higher and higher by then. The man held his hat while Takashi and Olivia covered themselves with their jacket. “Ok, wait one more.” Snap! He took the final picture and handed her camera back. “Thank you,” Olivia screamed as the sound of the wind got louder. “It was no problem,” he replied as he looked to the sky, “you kids better get out of here. It looks like there’s a storm coming.” “Yeah, you’re right,” Takashi screamed to him quickly as lightning flashes and thunder roars, “come on, Liv! Let’s go!” “Alright. Thank you, again!” “No problem!” he replied as they rushed back to the tour bus. The man then looked back to the sky as if he knew something. “It’s a big storm indeed,” he said quietly to himself.

Back at the present, Takashi shakes Olivia, who’s still staring at the statue, telling her to snap out of it. “Olivia, Olivia! Hey!” he says to her as she comes back, looking confused, “hey, what happened? You alright?” “Yeah, I...I’m fine,” she says, regaining herself. She then suddenly looks at Takashi with love and tears. “What?” he asks her, confused. “Baby?” she says before hugging him while crying, “oh, baby.” “Whoa, whoa,” he says as he pushes her away, “what are you doing?” “Hugging my boyfriend,” she says, pointing it out, “is that wrong?” “Excuse me?” he gets more bewildered. As if a guy like me could…be with a girl like her, he thought to himself. “I remember. Maybe I don’t remember everything, but I remember us...together. I love you.” She hugs him again. Takashi looks confused as ever, but yet, he feels slightly comfortable with her, like he knows her somehow, which he does but just can’t remember. It feels familiar just like back at the department tore where they were hiding—they cuddled each other as they slept. That felt familiar to him, as was the hug just now, even though he denied it back then. “Are we really...together?” he asks her as they hug, smiling. “Yes, I remember,” she releases him, “we were here before. This place: it’s called the Red Square.” “What were we doing here?” “We were doing a tour or something; I think we were on holiday. Well, are on holiday, I guess.” “Really?” he still can’t believe it. “Yeah, that’s why I remember this statue or monument. We took a photo in front of it.” “We did?” he asks her as she stares weirdly all of a sudden. “No, it’s just... I remember the guy who took our photo. He was nice, but there was something about him…” “Like what?” “I don’t know. I just have a weird feeling,” she then chuckles, “I remember you looking at him suspiciously, actually.” “Really? I did that? Uhhh, I really don’t remember.” “Try to remember,” she holds his hands, “at least, try to remember us. Please.” He looks at her and is suddenly overwhelmed with feelings. And so he tries to remember, for her; he trusts her for some reason. He tries hard with an intense look in his eyes. He suddenly stops and looks at Olivia. But at last, he does remember; it all comes flowing back like a video playback in his head. He remembers the day she came to his room; he sees her crying, hugging him, and talking to him. And he remembers the breakfast and he accepting her offer to go out with her. She walks up to him and says, “You remember, don’t you?” He raises her head, “Yes, I do.” “Oh, baby. I love you.” He lets out a happy chuckle. “I love you too.” They both finally accept their love for each other and share a long kiss as the sun sets on the horizon.
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