FuruYanagi – White Canvas

Summary

Airin who worked as a painter, accidentally met Churi in the park. She made a simple sketch of Churi… a simple sketch that will bring a huge impact for her.

Churi who worked at her own animal shop, unexpected received a sketch of herself without knowing who did it because she received it from someone else.

Can fate bring them to meet each other? Will they (somehow) love each other?


 

“Airin, please wait here. Okay? I’m going to buy a cold drink for us.”

“Ice Chocolate for me. Thank you.”

Her friend simply nodded and then he walked towards a convenience store nearby.

Ahhh… today is amazingly hot! I hate summer. Airin used her hand to protect her face from the sun that so oppressive. It was the end of August, so the weather was quite hot.

She looked around, she was looking for a place to sit. She felt so lucky when her eyes captured an empty bench. She walked towards the bench and then she sat on it. Thankfully that there was a huge tree behind the bench so she was protected by the shade from the tree.

She took out her phone, playing a game to kill some time while waiting her friend. Not long after that, there was a girl who walking in front of her and sat on the bench next to her…. Airin stopped playing. Usually people will bring their dogs to play on the park, but she- Airin chuckled for a moment, after that she took out a notebook and a pencil from her bag. Unique and strange. She chuckled.

==================================================

“I’m so tired!” Airin threw her body onto the bed. I wanna sleep. She was about to close her eyes, but then she heard her phone was ringing. Aiisshh!!! She woke up lazily from her bed and then she took her smartphone from her bag. She read the mail.

Your exhibition will be held in 2 days, are all of your paintings already finished? I will go to your gallery tomorrow.

Okay’ Airin simply sent it to the sender and then she put her phone on the table near her bed. It was a mail from Yamada, the man who walked with her and bought a drink for her this afternoon.

Speaking of this afternoon, Airin suddenly remembered something. She took her phone again, she was looking for an image in it. She stared at a photo then… she smiled.

Yamada-tan, there is one unfinished painting. But don’t worry.. I will finish it tomorrow.

Right after she sent a mail for Yamada, she connected her phone to the computer and then she printed the photo. She walked outside her bedroom and brought the paper along with her. She entered another room and then she switched on the light.

She could see the canvases lying on the floor, the paint brushes and other coloring tools placed on the table, 2 paint boards near the wall, some papers laid on the floor, and her’s other painting tools in that room. Yes, that room is her ‘working place’.

Wow, it looks so messy. I forgot to tidy up them this morning. She scratched her head. She stepped slowly so she wouldn’t stepping on her stuff.

She grabbed a big white canvas and placed it on her painting board, she put a paper that printed before on the table nearby so she could see it easily. Okay, let’s work hard tonight. She tied her long hair and then start drawing with a smile across her beautiful face.

Airin seemed didn’t care about the clock that already showed ‘9 PM’ to her, she kept drawing. She even couldn’t understand it by herself about why she really want to paint it in the limited time like that. Only 2 days left for her exhibition day, yet she have to finish it tomorrow even though there are still lot of things that need to be prepared.

=================== Exhibition Day ===================

“Churi!! Let’s buy the ice creams!!! I almost died here. It’s too hot!”

Churi rolled her eyes. “You sat in front of my electric fan for a whole day, yet you still feels hot?!”

Rena shrugged. “Yeah.” She grabbed Churi’s hand and pulled her outside.

“B-but… my shop!!” Churi tried to resist her best friend.

“Don’t worry, my girlfriend will take care of your animal shop for a while.” She winked at her girlfriend.

Jurina chuckled. “No problem. Buy for me too, okay? OR!!… I will eat one of your birds.”

“NO!!” Churi yelled at Jurina. “O-okay.. I will buy it for you.” She stepped out from her shop after Jurina gave her an evil smirk. Urgh!

Churi followed Rena from behind. Yeah, it’s quite hot today. She wiped her sweat on her forehead. They were heading to the convenience store that not too far from her shop. Thankfully.. the store was not too crowded, so they they didn’t need to queue before paying their ice creams.

“Hey-hey, Churi. Look at that! Why is it so crowded in there?” Rena nudged Churi’s arm right after they went out from the store.

“Hm?” Churi turned her head to the left, she saw many people went in and out from one of the buildings there. “I don’t know, let’s just go-” It was too late, Rena already walked towards that building. “… home.” She sighed and then she followed Rena. Tsk.

“Sorry, what happened here?” Rena asked the security guard who stood in front of the building. She seemed really curious.

“Nothing bad happened, miss.” He chuckled. “There is an Art Exhibition inside. You can go in if you want, it’s free.”

“Really?!” Rena was about to step in to the building.

This is bad. Churi could see Rena’s eyes sparkling. “Rena, let’s just go back. Our ice creams will be melting soon!!” She tried to remind Rena about the ice cream, but actually it wasn’t the main reason. She has not bathed, how can I go to the Art Exhibition with animal scent in my body??!! So embarassing. 

“Ah, you’re right..” Rena pouted. “Jurina will be mad at me if she don’t get her ice cream soon.” She sighed.

“Yes! And maybe she will kill my bird too.” Finally, Churi could convince Rena to go home.

*Some hours later*

Rena and Jurina already went back to their home since an hour ago, so her shop seemed quiet enough.

Churi looked at the clock. 7 PM. Yeay! It’s time to close the shop and go home.. I’m so tired. She decided to take a shower first before she go home. In 20 minutes, she already ready to go home. She grabbed her bag, then she make sure that all of her birds were okay, afterwards she closed the shop, and then she walked away.

In the midway, she remembered that she was running out of shampoo and soap… she turned back and then walked to the convenience store nearby her animal shop. She was about to enter the store, but when she turned her head to the left.. she saw some people went out from the building near the store. Hm? The exhibition is still opened?!

She walked away from the store and went towards the building. “Sorry, is the exhibition still opened?”

“Ah! You’re the girl from this afternoon, right?” The security guard seemed remember her.“Yes, it still opened until an hour later.” He smile.

“Thank you, sir.” Churi bowed at him and then she entered the building after the guard gave her the flyer. Furukawa Airi. She read the name that writen on the flyer and then she saw the dates too. Oh! The exhibition was held since 3 days ago. 

Right after she entered the exhibition room, she couldn’t blink. She saw many beautiful and amazing paintings hanging on the wall. Wooww… Is this what called as art??!!! So cool.

It was the first time she entered the art exhibition in her life, because she never knew that art would be that awesome. It seemed Rena already succeeded to influence me, now I can understand why she always crazy in love with these things. She chuckled.

She walked around as she excited to see all paintings in there and took some photos. Thankfully.. there were not too many people inside because it was already nearly closed, so she could see the paintings comfortably. I can’t believe that all of these amazing paintings were only painted by one person! Genius!!

Finally, she reached the last painting.. it was hanged in the center of the room. But… the last painting made her heart hammering inside her chest. She has seen it before. I…I-It’s me…. H-how??!!

*FLASHBACK*

“Excuse me, onee-chan.”

Churi felt a pair of little hands grabbed her skirt, the owner of the hands was a cute kid. Churi smiled, “yes? Can I help you, kiddo?”

“Th-this…” The kid gave her a piece paper.

Churi took it from the kid, she saw it. She was totally surprised, it was the sketch of herself. Someone just draw it using the pencil, it was simple.. black and white. But it was still beautiful in her eyes. “Dd-did you draw this?”

The kid shook her head. “A beautiful onee-chan asked me to give it to you.” The kid grinned. “She gave me an ice cream too!!” She showed a plastic in her hand to Churi.

“Where’s that onee-chan now??”

The kid pointed at a bench next to her. “She was there! She was there!” The kid seemed surprised because the onee-chan already went away.

Churi saw a black car just went away from the park. Maybe it’s her car. She sighed, she really want to know who was it. “Thank you, kiddo.” She ruffled the kid’s hair. After that, the kid ran away to her mother.

*END OF FLASHBACK*

Churi opened her bag and then she took the notes paper from inside her bag. She saw the paper once again… it was her sketch, she sat on the park bench with Pino on her right shoulder, the parrot that she raised by herself.

She turned her head to the last painting that hanged in front of her. It was the same painting, but it was much-much-much bigger.. compared to the sketch in her hand. It was more beautiful because the painter coloring it. It’s looks so me!! ‘Me’ in this painting even looks more beautiful than myself in the real world. Rena must see this!! She will extremely jealous at me. She grinned.

“The Unnamed Girl”, Churi read the name of the painting.

“Do you like it? You keep staring it since 10 minutes ago.”

Churi gasped because she heard an unfamiliar voice, she turned back. “Y-yeah.. I like it. N-no… I love it!”

The stranger chuckled.

Churi frowned. “I’m sorry but… are you the visitor too?” She looked at the girl who stood in front of her. I didn’t know her.

“Ah, I’m sorry. I’m being so rude to not introduce myself first.” The stranger put out her hand for a handshake. “My name is Fu-”

“Airin!” The man’s voice interrupt the stranger. “Please come here, someone want to buy your painting and he want to get your signature too!!”

Airin turned her head. “Okay. I’m coming, Yamada-tan!!”

Churi stunned. Sh-she is…..

Airin smiled at Churi. “Wait a minute, okay?” Airin walked away, but she turned back again. “Well… you can’t just standing here. Sorry for being rude again. If you don’t mind, please wait me in the lobby.”

Churi couldn’t find her voice, she was too shock. She shocked because..  first, she finally meet the one who made her sketch.. second, the one who sketching her is a gorgeous woman!! All thing that Churi could do was nodded because Airin seemed waiting for her answer.

“Nice.” Airin smiled once again before she walked towards the man who called her before.

Churi watched Airin’s back. Am I in heaven now? After Airin lost from her sight, she took out her phone. She took a selca with the painting. She smirked as she sent it to Rena’s email. She walked to the lobby and then she sat on a chair while waiting Airin.

Churi looked at her watch, she almost bored because… it was already 15 minutes passed, yet Airin was yet to come. She sighed.

“I’m sorry, miss.” The security guard talked to her. “The exhibition is over and the building will be closed soon.”

Ahh… maybe she forgot that I’m waiting her. Churi stood up. “Ah, I’m sorry. I’m about to go.” She walked out from the building and went to the convenience store to buy the shampoo and the soap.

“Hey!! Hey!!!”

Churi turned back, she saw Airin ran towards her.

Airin stopped beside Churi. “I’m so sorry to make you wait. I didn’t expect that some people will buy my paintings, they keep want to talk with me.” She looked tired. “I don’t know your name so I just called you as ‘hey’. I called you many times but you didn’t notice it… ”

“It’s okay.” Churi smiled at Airin to wipe her guilt away. “I’m Takayanagi Akane. Nice to meet you.”

“I’m Furukawa Airi. Nice to meet you too.”

The moment they shake hands, Churi felt a kind of electricity came from her hand and then spread throughout her body.. her heart received ‘the electric’ well because her heartbeat started to move crazily again, just like when she saw the last painting.

“Do you want to go home together? I will drive you home.. it’s already too dark.”

Churi shook her head. She really want to receive Airin’s offer, but it was kinda weird to go home together with someone who just met with her in about an half hour ago. “No, thank you. I will go home by myself and I have to buy something first.”

Airin frowned. “Are you afraid of me? I’m not a bad girl, I won’t give you any harm.”

Churi gasped. “N-No… It’s not what I mean. I just… didn’t want to bother you, we just… meet.” She shrugged.

“Umm.. do you mean… we’re still strangers? Well… it’s true that I’m a stranger for you, but for me… you’re not completely a stranger. Why? Because I was painted you for the whole 2 days… I knew your face really well, only the name was missing.”

Churi blushed, she hope that the dark could cover her red cheeks well enough.. so Airin couldn’t see it. “You already knew my name.”

“Yeah, I’m really glad to know it.” Airin smiled. “Ah! You can go to the store, and I will take my car. I’ll drive you home and I won’t accept ‘no’ from you.” She said it before Churi could refuse her again.

Airin walked away to get her car even before Churi answered it. She couldn’t refuse Airin anymore because Airin was (too) persistent to drive her home. So Churi just entered the store and bought anything she needs. When she walked out from the store, she saw Airin already waited her in her black car.

“Come on, Takayanagi-san.”

Churi just helplessly nodded. “Okay.”

======================== **** =======================

Day by day passed without Churi realized it. It’s been 3 weeks since she met Airin for the very first time at the Art Exhibition and they always texting each other every day. Churi laughed almost every time she read Airin’s mail. She is a funny girl, I never expect it before.

—————————–
To: Furukawa-san

At that time, when you did my sketch in the park..
why didn’t you give it to me by yourself? You asked an innocent kid to do your sly trick. ←_←

—————————–
From: Furukawa-san

Because I was afraid of a strange girl who talked with a bird.
ε=ε=ε=ε=ε=┌(; ・_・)┘

—————————–
To: Furukawa-san

So why did you approach me first? You didn’t afraid of me anymore?

—————————–
From: Furukawa-san

Umm… I’m still afraid of you.

But…. I was more afraid if you ask me to pay you because I used you as my model, so I just tried to approach you nicely.
And it works! You didn’t ask some money to me!

(≧▽≦)y

—————————–
To: Furukawa-san

( ̄ε(# ̄)☆((O==( ̄▽ ̄)o

—————————–
From: Furukawa-san

Ouch.. that was hurt!! m(_ _)m

(シ_ _)シ Gomen ne.

It was a joke, Takayanagi-san.
I was approached you because somehow…. I already felt close to you.
There’s a weird connection between the painters and their paintings.

And when I painted you….. I realized that you’re so beautiful and it made me wanted to meet you again.

—————————–

Churi’s cheeks redden. She read the last mail twice to make sure that it wasn’t a mistake. I… I’m beautiful?! She’s beautiful, I’m not. 

“Oi, Churi!!”

Churi gasped because Jurina suddenly patted her shoulder from behind. “What?”

“Are you sick or something? Lately.. you often blushing and laughing without any solid reason.” Jurina put her hand on Churi’s forehead to check her body temperature. “You don’t have fever.”

Rena laughed. “Jurina.. don’t tease her. You were like that too when you met me back then… even until now.”

“W-Wait… no! I’m not.” Churi shook her head.

Jurina smirked. “Tell us… who it is. Is it a boy or a girl?”

“I don’t understand what do you guys mean.” Churi made herself busy with her birds so she could avoid those strange stare from her best friends.

I’m not falling in love, right? I mean… I just meet her!! Silly. Of course I’m not.. I even barely know her. The only thing I know about her are she’s a painter and she’s flawless.

“You are definitely falling in love, Churi!!” Rena laughed. “I’m sure that she/he makes your heartbeat uncontrolled and makes your body shivering because of ‘the unseen electric’.”

Shit!

======================== **** =======================

Airin got out from her car, she was holding her phone. She called someone.

“Where are you?”

I’m still working, why?

Airin looked at her watch. 6 PM. “Ah, you’re still in your shop.”

Yup.

“What time does your shop will be closed?”

Actually.. it’s up to me since this is my own shop, but usually I go home at 7 PM.

Airin heard that someone was calling Churi, she guessed that he’s Churi’s customer because she heard that he asked the price of a puppy to Churi. Airin didn’t talk until Churi finished her negotiation with the buyer.

Hi, sorry.

“Don’t worry, I’m fine. Am I bothering you now?” Airin talked to Churi through the phone while she walking towards something.

No, of course not.” Airin heard Churi’s chuckle.

“So.. can I drive you home again?” Airin heard that Churi want to say ‘no’, as always. Every time she offered some help, Churi will always refuse her. Airin stopped in front of a door, she open it. “I don’t accept ‘no’ from you.”

Churi flinched a bit. “Furukawa-san?!” She was surprised because Airin suddenly show up in front of her. She almost dropped her phone.

Airin grinned. “Yes, it’s me. Why? You said that I’m not bothering you.”

“Y-yes…. b-but… I didn’t expect that you will come here all of a sudden. You don’t have to-”

Airin sat on a chair. “I’ve told you that I won’t accept ‘no’. I will wait here until your job finished. An hour more, right?” She grinned.

Churi sighed but then she nodded. She want to talk with Airin, but there was another customer that came into her shop. The other customers kept entering her shop. Usually… she would say thanks to God because there were a lot of customers, but now… she pouted. She wanted to close her shop, but she couldn’t. It even there was a man who bought a snake, the transaction would take a longer time when it comes to a big animal like that.

Finally, she could take a deep breath at 7.30 PM. There was no customer left. She approached Airin. “I’m sorry.”

Airin giggled. “You don’t have to say sorry. You got a lot of customers tonight, you should be happy.” She ruffled Churi’s hair.

Churi frozen, she couldn’t move when Airin touched her head. It was the first time Airin did it to her and ‘the unseen electric’ became stronger. It caused a big impact to her heartbeat. “Y-yeahh…”

“Good.” Airin grinned. “Now, let’s have dinner before we go home. I’m hungry and I’m sure that you too.” She touched her growling stomach.

Churi chuckled after she heard the sound. “Okay. But wait a while, okay? I have to feed my birds.”

“Birds?”

“Yup. You said that you have a weird connection with your paintings… and I guess I have it too with my birds.” Churi grinned. “I love birds. I REALLY love them.”

Airin shocked because Churi showed her a kind of enthusiasm that she never seen before. “I see…” She chuckled. “Can I feed them too?”

“Of course!” Churi grabbed Airin’s hand and pulled her into another room.

Airin looked at her hand and…. Churi’s hand. I feel it again… my heart beating extremely fast, just like the racing car. I feel like this too when I was sketching her back then… I feel it again when I painted her.

“My friend always called me Churi.”

Churi’s words made Airin woke up from her deep thought. “Churi?? Bird??”

“Yeah.”

Airin saw Churi feeding her birds, there were 5 parrots in the big cage. Airin could see that Churi take care of them really well because the birds looked healthy enough. “Takayanagi-san….”

“Hm?”

“Can I called you Churi too?” Airin saw Churi’s blushed cheeks clearly. Airin smiled. “You can call me Airin from now on. I guess… we already close enough to become a friend.”

Yes, they met in the end of August and it was already in the second week of October. Airin was sure that it was already good enough to make a little move.

“Sure. Why not, Airin.” Churi gave Airin a warm smile.

“Thank you, Churi.” Airin smiled and then she asked Churi to give her an opportunity to feed the birds.

======================== **** =======================

November…..

It was like a blink of eye for Airin. It was just 2 weeks before her 7th Art Exhibition. She was so excited and tired in the same time. She has to paint some new paintings and it really took most of her time. It made her barely meet and talk with Churi, she spent her whole weeks in the house… to paint.

The worst part was… her Art Exhibition is in the same day with Churi’s birthday, November 29th. She want to paint something for Churi’s birthday gift as well.

Suddenly, her phone rang. Airin smiled as she saw who’s the caller. “Moshi moshi.”

Hi, Airin. How are you?

“You ask how am I? It’s funny.” Airin chuckled.

What’s so funny about it?

Airin could feel Churi was irritated. “I’m sorry, but it sounds like we didn’t meet for a long time.”

3 days without any single message! It’s long enough, I guess. Usually.. we always texting each other every single day and we even meet almost every day.

Airin smiled even though she heard Churi mad at her. “Umm… Are.. probably… you missed me?” She wanted to tease Churi. It works! She heard Churi coughed.

Me? Missed you?? Pfft.. Of course not. I just want to know what happen to you because I don’t see you for a whole week.

If Airin was there, she was sure that she could see Churi’s blushed face clearly. “Nothing bad happened, Churi.” She just remembered that she did not tell Churi about her exhibition. “Well… it’s okay if you don’t missed me. But I really missed you!! Do you want to come to my house? It’s not too far from your shop.”

Y-you mi-miss me?!

Somehow.. Airin likes to make Churi nervous. “Yeah… I missed you sooooo much! So, please come. I will send my address to you.” She pleaded.

W-well… o-okay.

Yes!

*An Hour Later*

The bell rang, Airin quickly ran towards the door. “Ohayou!” She grinned as she saw Churi in front of the door. “Come in.”

“Hi.” Churi smiled. “Wow. Your house is quite big.” She said it while she entered the house.

Airin scratched her head. “Yeah… it makes me feel so lonely sometime.” She closed the door. “You don’t bring your birds.” She giggled.

“Don’t tease me.” Churi slapped Airin’s arm. “What are you doing now?”

“Paint.” Airin shrugged. “Do you want to accompany me?”

Churi looked so excited because she never saw Airin paint something. She nodded.

“Come on then.” Airin grabbed Churi’s wrist and then she entwined her fingers to Churi’s.

*Thump!* It was surely made Churi’s heart reacted again. She followed Airin, they entered a big room. Churi immediately noticed that it was Airin’s working place because many canvases and paint tools were in there. She saw the new paintings hanged on the wall.

“I never let anyone enter this room because all paintings here are not published yet. But since it’s you… it’s okay.”

Churi felt so special when Airin said something like that. Airin often said something that made her feels special.. like.. ‘I never drive someone home before’ and like… ‘It is the first time I keep texting someone in every single hour without get bored’ and more. It made her flattered.

Churi walked around to see the paintings one by one. “Airin.. All of these are really beautiful.”

Airin saw Churi who walked towards every paintings. She carefully watched Churi’s back… she really want to hug Churi, but she tried to hold it. “Thanks.” Then… she saw Churi stopped at ‘The Unnamed Girl’.

Churi never get bored to see her painting, the painting that made her and Airin knew each other. That painting was so memorable to her and then.. she realized something. “Why is it here? You said that all of the paintings here are not published yet. But this…” She frowned.

Airin walked towards the painting and stood behind Churi. “Because I want to see it every day. It was the first painting that I really wanted to finish as soon as I could. I started to paint it in the same day I gave the sketch to you.”

*Thump!* Again…. She made Churi feels so special. “I’m flattered to hear that.”

Do you want to have it?” Airin asked it softly.

That kind of voice made Churi’s body shivered, but she tried to ignore it. “It’s definitely expensive. I can not afford it.”

“Baka!” Airin smacked Churi’s head. “I don’t say you have to paid it.” She walked towards her paint board to continue her current work. “Bring it along with you when you get out from my house later. I don’t accept your ‘no’.”

“A-Airin… I can’t recei-”

“Ssshh!” Airin put her index finger onto her own lips. “I don’t like any voice interrupt me when I’m working.”

Tsk. Churi never succeed in refusing Airin. She sighed and then she sat on a chair… she was watching Airin. It’s the first time I see her painting something. Her serious expression makes her looks so cool. It is my first to see her serious face as well, she always showing her playful side in front of me.

Churi didn’t let go of her eyes from Airin. Every moves that Airin did, made her heartbeat amazingly increased. I… I.. Maybe Rena is right… I love Airin. She smiled.

“Don’t look at me with those scary eyes and that creepy smile. I can’t work if you keep staring at me like that.” Airin said it without looked at Churi.

Churi quickly looked away. She didn’t realize that Airin could notice her. “I- I think I’ll just go home now. I come here to see you’re okay or not.. and you seems okay.” She stood up. She couldn’t hold it anymore, she thought that she will die soon if she couldn’t control heartbeat well. It always happened when Airin around her.

Airin put the paint brush on the table. “Don’t.”

“Eh?” Churi was surprised.

“Please don’t go home now.” Airin looked straight to Churi’s eyes. “I still miss you.”

“Don’t tease me.” Churi laughed, but then she realized that her fake laugh sounded weird.

“I’m not teasing you. Just… I have an Art Exhibition in 2 weeks, so I keep busy to prepare many things. I even won’t have time to go to meet you again later. Please stay longer here..” Airin didn’t want Churi went home that soon.

“O-okay..” She sat back on the chair. Somehow… she felt that Airin had a same feeling with her. They just have to wait until the right time.. wait until they were absolutely sure about it… wait until they were sure that they wouldn’t make a wrong decision.

============ Churi’s Birthday – Exhibition Day ============

OMG! I’m late for about 15 minutes!! Churi grabbed the flyer quickly, after that she entered the building. She was looking around.. looking for Airin. This place is very crowded. Since she couldn’t find Airin, she decided to send a message: ’I’m already here. Where are you?

Not long after she sent the message, she saw Airin stood in front of everyone. She gave a short speech and then she announced that the exhibition opened.

She’s really waiting for me. Churi sighed as she remembered their conversation on the phone 3 hours ago.

*FLASHBACK*

“Airin.. I’m so sorry. I can’t attend your event today. I already told you about this before, right?” Churi sounded very apologetic.

No! You have to come. I don’t accept any excuse from you!! It’s one of my big days, Churi.

“I want to celebrate my birthday with Rena and Jurina, we always celebrate our birthday together… it’s like our ritual.”

You can go with them in the afternoon until night. I just want you to come in the morning… I want to say something important to you.

“B-but…”

No ‘but’. I won’t start the exhibition without you!” Airin hung up the phone before Churi could start the argue again.

*END OF FLASHBACK*

Honestly.. there was no point she came there since she already looked all the paintings some days before in Airin’s house.

“You manage to come.”

Churi turned back to see the owner of the sweet voice, Airin. “Hi. I’m sorry for coming late.”

Airin smiled. “It’s okay, as long as you come.”

“So… what do you want to say?” Churi couldn’t understand what was in Airin’s thought. If Airin want to say something, she could simply tell her by phone or wait until tomorrow..

“Happy birthday!!” Airin grinned and then she gave Churi a hug.

*Thump!* As always… Churi had a problem with her heartbeat when Airin was around her. “T-thank you….” She tried to control herself. She waited Airin to say something, but nothing came out from Airin’s lips. “That’s it?!”

“Yeah. What else?” Airin chuckled.

Churi was happy because Airin congratulate her, but…. “So.. I come here in a rush just because of THAT?! Urgh! Rena and Jurina will kill me for sure.”

Airin saw Churi glared at her with a deathly look. “N-no… of course not.” She ended her joke quickly before Churi punched her face. “I have something else too.” After she said it, Churi’s expression became a bit calmer. “Come with me.”

Churi felt her wrist was grabbed by Airin, Airin pulled her out from the crowd.

They stopped in front of a door. “I have a birthday present for you. I really hope that by that… you will realize how important you for me.”

All Churi could do was nodded. I… I’m important for her?!

When Airin was about to open the door, she heard her father called her using the microphone. She stopped. “Airin, come to the stage honey.. I want to say something in front of everyone here.

Airin sighed. She patted Churi’s head. “I have to go, it’s my father.”

“Okay, I will wait.” Churi tried hard to hide her curiosity about her first birthday present from Airin. She followed Airin went back to the lobby where the stage was built. She saw Airin went up to the stage.

Airin felt her father hugged her and then she saw Yamada-tan went up to the stage as well. And… honestly… Airin had a bad feeling about that. She glanced at Churi, through Churi’s gaze.. she could tell that Churi had a same anxiety with her.

Yamada-tan stood beside Airin, both of them changed the smiles.

“Hi, everyone. I have a happy announcement here.” Airin’s father talked in front of the microphone. “I know that both of you, Yamada and my beautiful daughter.. Airin, have been dating since they were still in high school.”

What??!! Churi’s eyes grew wide with shock. Th-they…. Somehow, Churi knew what Airin’s father want to say next.

“It’s been a long time you become a couple, so I think it’s time to take a big step. Why do not you two just get married? Both of your parents already agreed with this.”

Churi heard everyone in that building cheering and clapping their hands…. except herself. She stunned. She felt that her tears was about to fall, she gave Airin a weak smile and then she turned around. She walked towards the exit door.

Airin facepalmed as she saw Churi left the lobby. This is the hell… damn!

======================== **** =======================

It’s been 2 days since her birthday, yet Churi didn’t receive a call or a message from Airin. That was my worst birthday ever! She sighed as she realized that the real world was not as beautiful as in the movie or in the fairytale where the prince will catch up the princess if a misunderstanding happened between them.

Churi kept convincing herself that it was only a misunderstood thing. She could clearly see through Airin’s eyes that Airin love her, they just didn’t say it…. yet.

The only thing that made Churi pissed was.. Why Airin didn’t tell me that she already had a boyfriend?!

Other than that, Churi probably could understand Airin position. In her mind, Airin was same with her, they were not sure yet about their feelings… Airin couldn’t break up with her boyfriend only for a girl who had just met her for 3 months.

Since the 3rd day, there was no tears dropped from Churi’s eyes. She even didn’t know why but… she was sure that sooner or later Airin will come to give an explanation.

Finally… after a week, Airin show up in front of Churi’s door. Churi didn’t say anything, she just let Airin to enter her small house. Both of them were sat facing each other in silence for some minutes.. avoiding each other eyes. They didn’t know how to start the conversation.

“So… what date?” Churi decided to start, she realized that Airin wouldn’t talk before she start it.

“Hm?” Airin frowned.

“Your wedding date..” Churi smiled. “I will come, don’t worry. You don’t have to force me like the last time.” She giggled.

Airin looked at Churi in a disbelief way. “You didn’t angry at me?”

Churi shrugged. “We are nothing more than friends. Why I have to angry at you because of that? I even planned to congratulate you.”

“Churi…. please don’t say something like that. We both know really well about our feelings even without we saying it, this is only a little obstacle for us. We’re not a kid anymore, I think we didn’t need to fight because of something like this… useless.”

“What feeling?”

Airin clenched her fist. “Churi, if you keep acting like that.. I will really get out of here. I already got a huge problem, I can’t stay with you if you just want to make my burden become heavier.”

Churi flinched. Suddenly, she realized that her lips saying something that totally different with her heart. Some days before, she could understand Airin position.. but now, after Airin show up in front of her.. why she became really angry and blind? “I’m sorry.” She closed her face with her palms. She was crying.

Airin stood and then she approached Churi. She knelt in front of Churi, and then she hugged Churi. Airin rubbed Churi’s back to make Churi calmer. “I’m the one who should say sorry to you. I’m sorry.” She put her chin on Churi’s shoulder. “I was too hesitant in making decisions, I put myself in a pinch. It’s my fault. I even didn’t tell the truth to you.”

“Why??” Churi looked at Airin with her teary eyes.

Airin wiped the tears away from Churi’s cheeks. “I was in love with him. But it changes after… I saw you for the first time in the park, I found a unique girl who talking with a bird.” They let out their soft chuckles. “At that time.. when I was sketching you, I didn’t feel anything.. but when I started to paint you….. something had changed. My love for him slowly decreased.”

“Pfftt… Airin, you really have a weird connection with your paintings.” Finally… Churi could find her smile but her tears still rolled down on her cheeks.

Airin cupped Churi’s cheek. “No, it was not the connection with the painting… it was my weird connection with you.” Airin shed her tears as well. “When I met you again at my Exhibition, again… my love for him amazingly decreased without I knew why.”

“Don’t tease me. You makes me flattered too much.”

“I’m not teasing you, baka.” Airin smiled while caressing Churi’s cheek. “And on the next day after that, my love for him was totally gone when we started texting each other.”

“Then why you didn’t tell about these to him and to me?” It was the biggest question for Churi.

“It’s my fault. I was afraid that you will leave me if I told you about him, because I had been getting too comfortable with you. I was afraid to tell it to him because I was not sure yet about us… All of these things were happened too fast, I even didn’t have any time to think.”

“Everyone always say that love is a complicated thing. I didn’t know what it means until I met you.” Churi smiled bitterly.

Airin gave a soft kiss to Churi’s cheek. “Please wait me, okay? I promise that I will settle these things.. I will come back to you again as fast as I could.”

Churi hates waiting, but it seemed she didn’t have other choice. She nodded helplessly. “But please don’t take it too long.”

Airin smiled. “Sure. This whole week I tried to convince them that I’m not in love with Yamada-tan anymore. I wish him and our families could understand it soon. We have been dating for 8 years, it’s so hard for him and our families to break our relationship.” She grabbed Churi’s hand, she kissed it and then she put it on her cheek. “Don’t worry.. everything will be fine.”

“I trust you.” She smiled for a moment, but then she pouted. “Where’s my birthday present?”

Airin chuckled. “I’m sorry… but I think it needs some modification. I will give it to you later.” She stuck out her tongue.

Churi smacked Airin’s head. She surely know how to tease me.

======================== **** =======================

February….

It’s been over 2 months since she met Airin. She couldn’t call or send a message to Airin because her phone number was not active. She guessed that Airin’s parents took the phone from her.

She passed the Christmas and New Year holidays alone because Jurina and Rena had their own date. Churi sighed. I’m alone… again. She even spent the Valentine’s day alone.

Churi stared at 2 paintings that hanged on her living room. The first painting was ‘The Unnamed Girl’.. The second painting was……….. It’s just a white canvas! Blank! Churi scratched her head.

‘The white canvas’ was her LATE birthday present, Airin sent it to her last month by post. “What kind of MODIFICATION?! It’s totally blank.” Churi grumbled by herself. She remembered again the notes that was sent with the painting:

—————————————————-
‘We can find love everywhere, even in our darkest time.
—————————————————-

Churi rolled her eyes. Did she want to play some philosophy games with me?

She startled as she heard the bell rang all of a sudden. She stood up and then she lazily opened the door. Her eyes widened and she closed her mouth with her hand as she saw who it was. “Airin?!”

“How are you, Churi?” Airin gave a warm smile to Churi even though it was a freezing day.

That was a smile and a voice that Churi longed the most. Churi didn’t think twice, she jumped onto Airin.. she hugged Airin tightly… she cried… she sobbed. “Wh-why… are you.. so… long??” She cried out loud while she saying it.

Airin wrapped her arms around Churi’s body. “I’m sorry… They are so hard to understand me. They are not like you, only you who can understand me well.” She rubbed Churi’s back. “Calm down, please. I’m here… I’m here… I won’t go anywhere again, Churi.”

After some minutes, Churi could calm down. She remembered that they were still standing outside. She let go of her arms. “Come in.” She sniffed.

Airin nodded. She went in after she wiped Churi’s tears away. She really missed that house because she was often drove Churi home. “Are you okay all of these time?” She asked Churi without letting go her hand from Churi’s waist.

Churi pulled Airin’s hand, they sat together on the couch. “Of course I’m not okay!!” She looked away to hide her blushed face. “H-how can I’m okay without you?!”

Airin chuckled. “Really? I’m afraid that you already found someone else.” She let go of her hand from Churi’s waist and went to Churi’s hair… she stroke her hair gently. “I missed you so much.”

Churi rested her head on Airin’s shoulder. “I missed you too.” She grabbed Airin’s other hand and held it. She want to give a little warm to that cold hand.

They sat in silence for some minutes.. sometimes, silence could be the best way to convey the feelings.

Airin noticed that the white canvas hanged on the wall. “Hey, are you already saw your present? Tell me what did you see.”

“I see nothing!” Churi replied it sarcastically. “Tell me what is it means.” She was playing with Airin’s fingers.

“Ahh, I see… you didn’t find it.”

“Find about what?” Churi lifted her head and looked at Airin. She was really curious about the meaning behind that white canvas. For a few seconds later, she saw Airin’s smirk. Churi sighed. Here we go again… she want to tease me.

“I don’t want to say it to you, but I can show it to you.” Airin winked.

“Then show it to me!!” Churi was getting impatient.

Airin’s lips approached Churi’s ear. “I can’t show it to you if we are not in love.” She whispered it.

Churi gasped when she heard THAT kind of voice again… the voice that made her body shivering. She looked away because she received THAT kind of gaze. “I.. Umm.. I..” Her hands was rubbing with each other.

Airin put her hand on Churi’s chin, she made Churi looked at her. She approached Churi’s face until their noses touched. “Do you love me, Takayanagi Akane?” She asked it softly.

Love….. Churi was waiting that word will come out from Airin’s lips. She was sure that Airin was waiting for her to say it as well. They never say it to each other before, it was still hidden in their heart. They were always afraid and not sure to say that magic word.

Churi stared at those tempting eyes. “I love you, Furukawa Airi. Do you love me back?” Airin smiled at her and she swear that it was the best smile in the world.

“I Love you too, Akane.” Airin captured Churi’s lips. She gave a deep kiss to those reddish lips.

It was the first time they tasted each other lips after a long time. The sensation will never forgotten, the memory would kept staying in their minds forever.

The kiss grew more passionate as Airin’s tongue touched Churi’s lips.. begging for entry. Churi smiled and then she granted Airin’s wish, she gave a full access for Airin’s tongue to lick every part of her mouth. Their tongue tangled to each other.

They stopped for a while to take some oxygen and then their lips glued to each other again. Churi put her hands around Airin’s neck as Airin hands grabbed Churi’s waist and pulled it closer to her body.

It’s my first time to kiss a girl and I think it’s not bad. I love it.” Airin whispered it against Churi’s lips.

Churi smirked. It’s time to take my revenge, “Sorry if I’m disappoint you, but this is not my first time.” It was Churi turn to tease Airin.

Airin pulled back her kiss. “What??!! Who was your first??!” She seemed so jealous.

Churi chuckled. “Tell me first about my LATE birthday present. We already admitted that we love each other.”

Airin approached Churi’s neck. “It’s not enough.” She kissed the milky neck and it caused Churi let out a soft moan. “Show me your love more.

Churi grabbed Airin’s hair gently and then she pulled Airin’s head away from her neck. “I won’t give what you want if you don’t tell me NOW.” She glared at Airin.

Airin stood up, “okay-okay. You don’t have to angry at at me.” She walked away.

“Where are you going?” Churi frowned.

“Look at that white canvas.” Airin lifted her hand an then she switched off the lamps as she saw Churi already turned her head to the canvas direction. “You still can find me in the darkness, Churi.”

Churi gasped as she saw the canvas.. I-It’s glowing in the dark!! I c-can’t believe this! She saw the painting carefully…….

Painting by Audrey Kawasaki

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“H-how can-”

“I painted it with special dye that can only be seen in the dark.” Airin sighed. “You seemed didn’t read my notes well.” She switched on the lamps again.

“I’m sorry..” She cupped Airin’s cheek. “My answer is yes, of course yes.”

Airin smiled. “So… are you my girlfriend now?”

“I think… yes.” Churi lifted her hand and then she switched off the lights again. She whispered.“Pervert. You made this so I will stare it in the dark with you, right?” She kissed Airin’s chin.

“N-no!” Airin blushed and thankfully it was dark so Churi wouldn’t be able to see her red cheeks. “I just want to give something unique and special and meaningful!!”

Churi giggled. “I’m kidding. Thank you it’s beautiful.. I love it.” She kissed Airin’s nose. “My first is Jurina… she is my ex.”

“WHAT???!!!” Airin couldn’t believe it. “I thought she was only your best friend!”

“Shut up and kiss me, my lovely girlfriend.” Churi played with Airin’s silky hair.

Airin clashed her lips against Churi’s again.. but this time it’s a wild one.

We meet in Summer.
We falling in love in Autumn.
We finally together in Winter.

======================= THE END ====================

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