NARRATOR: "I can't find Shizune at first, but eventually she walks into the main part of the house, sipping a glass of ice water and dangling her glasses back and forth from her free hand. She whips them on as soon as she sees me."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "You didn't rescue Hideaki. That means you don't get the bonus points. If you were also being graded on style, I'd have to deduct points for a booooooring escape."
HISAO: (signing) "It looked like you wanted to talk to me, I didn't know I had to be stylish about it. You know, some say that the most stylish people are the ones that don't try too hard to look cool."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "You're really cool."
NARRATOR: "I wonder how is it that I can pick up on her sarcasm so easily, and how hard it might have been for her to learn the concept of sarcasm without being able to hear. I can't imagine it."
HISAO: (signing) "You seem like you're in a good mood."
NARRATOR: "Although I guess it isn't really a good mood. It's more that she seems very excited."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "I'm in a bad mood."
NARRATOR: "Setting her drink down, Shizune sits down on the couch."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "I liked her regular hairstyle so much more. It looked so pretty. It was refined and meticulous. Now she looks too sporty and tomboyish."
HISAO: (signing) "I wouldn't call Misha refined and meticulous. That sounds more like you. You should give it a chance. Grow your hair out and make it look like drills. Hm... actually, maybe this suits you just fine."
NARRATOR: "Shizune rubs the frame of her glasses roughly, looking annoyed at the implications behind what I just signed to her. That's fine, because I was totally implying that. She moves a little closer to me when I take a seat."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "I'm a tomboy?"
HISAO: (signing) "Well, no one would call you a tomboy. ...Based on appearances."
NARRATOR: "Shizune glares at me, unamused. I have to fight to keep a straight face."
HISAO: (signing) "Maybe you two should trade haircuts anyway."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "You sound like my father."
NARRATOR: "It's true. Shizune giggles noiselessly when she sees my displeasure at the realization. Jumping to her feet, she twirls an invisible sword in her left hand while standing up militarily straight and grimacing. A terrifyingly accurate impression."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "Anyway, I don't take advice from anyone who wears a blue sweater with brown pants. Where's your sense of color coordination? Dreadful. ...But changing my haircut, that might be fun. Wouldn't it be? I want to see how everyone would react."
HISAO: (signing) "You must really like playing with people. Sometimes, I think, a little too much."
NARRATOR: "No answer. The way she fiddles with her glasses, brow furrowed, tells me that it's because she can't."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "It's fun."
NARRATOR: "Then, with more confidence and while pulling herself closer to me:"
SHIZUNE: (signing) "It's fun to drag more and more people into my life."
HISAO: (signing) "Oh, I see."
NARRATOR: "I wonder if I'm included in that number. I want to ask, but am not even sure how I would. Shizune wags a finger preemptively, indicating that she won't be answering such a question anyway. She reaches for her glass, but doesn't seem to realize how far she's managed to inch away from it all this time. To prevent herself from tipping over clumsily, Shizune tries to grab on to me, and ends up pulling me on top of her."
NARRATOR: "As I lean over her, I can feel the heat coming off her body and realize how close we are. I can hear her soft breathing and the slight rustling of her clothes as she momentarily fidgets about. A blush starts to creep into her cheeks, but her eyes stare straight into mine, dark and unblinking. It's the same look from the first time I saw her, piercing and devoid of any clear emotions. Just waiting to see what will happen next, like the eyes of a cat. It makes me feel uncomfortable, being looked at in such a way. This is the first time I've been so close to her for an extended period of time, and the mood is different now. The situation now isn't the same as a passing touching of hands or her and Misha's usual games. Shizune's fingers weave together tentatively, but she makes no move to sign. The look in her eyes isn't just nothing, like I'd thought. It's more like expectation. I wonder if maybe I've been following the string of her expectations this entire time."
NARRATOR: "I feel her grabbing me by the shoulders and then gently, but firmly, pushing me off of her. I roll sideways onto the soft couch and pull myself into a sitting position less than a foot from her. The way I feel, she might as well have thrown me ten yards. When I think about it, this is perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks to sign language. Shizune said that the fact that you have to sign your words out with your hands means you have time to reflect on what you say before you say it. But on the other hand, it also means that what would normally just be an awkward silence becomes an insurmountable wall. I'd just blurt out something, anything, to try and dispel the tension I'm feeling right now if I could, but I can't. Ordinarily, I think that what would be normal would be to apologize, and maybe leave. But right now, I wonder if that is even applicable. I can't get past how guilty such an action would seem. Like I were just slinking away. Of course, it's not like I can just play it off like nothing happened, either. That would just be insulting to both of us. So, as much as I don't want to, I apologize quickly, so quickly I forget to sign it. Then I go back to my room."
NARRATOR: "Sighing, I let myself fall backwards into bed. I wish I could just go to sleep right now, but I feel wide awake. I sit up when I hear the door closing and open my eyes to see Shizune sitting in the chair in front of me."
NARRATOR: "She asks a question that goes right over my head, due to my surprise. It's not a feeling I'm good at concealing, and I don't think it's what she intended. Whatever she was saying, she backs off, and doesn't attempt to sign again for a while."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "This is the first time I've been in your room."
NARRATOR: "Shizune tents her fingers and puts on an exaggerated attempt to make herself look embarrassed and modest at the thought. I can't appreciate the joke, just the fact that she's here has me feeling a bit scattered."
HISAO: (signing) "Very funny. It isn't even my room. It's your guest room."
HISAO: (signing) "Besides, you and Misha barged into my room once before."
NARRATOR: "It seems as if she expects me to say more. I remember feeling very panicked when they burst into my room, afraid of what conclusions they would jump to seeing the wall of pills lining the place. I don't think that Shizune remembers, though."SHIZUNE: (signing) "It made you nervous."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "You still looked startled when I came in."
NARRATOR: "The way she says it so factually stings me."
HISAO: (signing) "A lot of things make me nervous. You're one of them."
HISAO: (signing) "Because you're overeager to always get people involved in... whatever you're doing. Whether it's joining the Student Council, or even taking a break. Whether they want to or not."
SHIZUNE: "... ... ... ..."
SHIZUNE: "... ..."
NARRATOR: "She signs almost at a crawl, her hands pausing mid-sentence far too much, causing the words to dissipate formlessly before I can even begin to try to understand them. I try not to let on that this is the case. It seems to work, but she looks a little sad, and I regret that I have nothing to say to snap her from the strangely wistful and distant expression she is wearing. All I can do is wait for her to come out of it."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "You are right. I want to drag everyone into my life. But, lately, I'm no longer sure if it's the right thing to do."
HISAO: (signing) "I enjoyed you taking me to your favorite restaurant the other night."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "It's not like that was my favorite restaurant... I have others I like. I might even be able to rank them by number."
HISAO: (signing) "Really..."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "This chair is so hard. I want to sit on the bed."
NARRATOR: "Motioning to her to go ahead, I wait for her to get off the chair and take her place when she does. Though I didn't intend for it to be, she finds it amusing."
SHIZUNE: (signing) "Close your eyes."
HISAO: (signing) "Why?"
SHIZUNE: (signing) "It's a surprise."
NARRATOR: "I decide to humor her and close them. I can feel her leaning over me, and suddenly, something soft and moist touches my lips. My body tenses up in surprise. Fortunately, not as awkward a reaction as I could have made. It was just a quick peck, and I almost think that's the end of it, but then she kisses me again, more deeply this time. Her hands slide onto my shoulders, up to my neck, and then back down again. Then across my shoulders and down my arms. I can feel the weight of her body on my legs, and the eroticism of the situation isn't lost on me. At this point, I'm ready to try and open my eyes just a crack, but as if expecting it, she puts her fingers on my eyelids."
NARRATOR: "Seconds later, something ties my hands together at the wrists, and I panic, not knowing what to make of this. My first thought is to ask Shizune what she's thinking. Even though she can't hear me, I'm sure she gets the gist of it. She won't let go of my hands, tracing her fingers over them, from the lines of my palms, over my knuckles, and to my wrists."
HISAO: "Hey, what are you doing? What's this?"
NARRATOR: "Or course, with my hands tied behind my back, I might as well be gagged. A part of me can't help but think that this is what she intended."
NARRATOR: "As if reading my thoughts, a mischievous expression lights up her face, but her blushing doesn't fade. In fact, it only deepens when our eyes meet. Embarrassed, she leans deeper into our partial embrace, hiding her face by burying it in my shoulder and neck. Her hair is soft and tickles me, and I let out a laugh knowing that she won't hear me; won't be offended."
NARRATOR: "Shizune's hands move downwards to the fly of my pants, covered by her skirt. Her hands disappear from view, only to jerk back on touching my erection. Shizune almost falls off me from nervousness. It's like she didn't expect it to be there. The sudden display of naivety is the starkest contrast yet to how forward she has been so far, and I find it amusing. Suddenly, she seems very immature again. A high-school girl playing the role of a more aggressive woman."
"She pokes at my penis curiously with her index finger, her face reddening as she runs the rest of her fingers down its underside. Her movements are soft and curious, and they belie the embarrassed look on her face."
NARRATOR: "It's likely Shizune is as nervous as I am, so I'm a bit relieved when she stops her exploratory prodding, but then I think about what's next to come. She might try and unbutton my shirt. Who knows what she would say, seeing the scar on my chest. I'm still self-conscious about it, and I can imagine the concern on her face on seeing it; the tenting of her fingers in thought. Luckily, in this position, she couldn't take off my sweater without ripping it off me. The fear fades from my mind. Now, I'm only experiencing a strange, uncomfortable mix of anticipation and nervousness."
NARRATOR: "A newfound lightness on my knees brings me back to reality, and I can see Shizune standing on the tips of her toes to slide her underwear down her thighs. When she sees me looking at her, she tries to cover my eyes with one hand. I wonder exactly when it was that I started being attracted to her. Not just attracted to her physically, but drawn to her. And, I wonder why. She's pretty, but then, also very combative. Not just that, but she seems to like being that way. The way she's acting now, however, and at other times, doesn't really fit that image. I'm starting to think that maybe her tying my hands might have been for more reasons than just the most obvious."
NARRATOR: "Still, that aggressiveness that she flashes around as comfortably as a business card is real. I don't know whether or not that kind of attitude could be considered dangerous. If it is, I wonder what kind of person that makes me. It was probably the first week I was here. A week doesn't sound so long when I think about it, but at the time it did. Even though I pretty much thought my days were numbered that week, it still seemed to go by so slowly. Even if she can't hear me, it puts me at ease. I started to realize that I didn't have that much to complain about. But there's still... Well, never mind."
NARRATOR: "She glances at me, for no reason other than that I'm talking. Because she can't understand what I'm saying, Shizune becomes increasingly flustered, but doesn't sign anything in reply."
NARRATOR: "Shizune sucks in her breath sharply as she lowers herself onto my penis, trying to keep herself upright as she teeters on top of me. The skirt of her dress covers both of our intimate parts, and traps our body heat under it like a tent. Under it, I feel unbearably hot, and Shizune's hand guiding me into her only adds to it."
NARRATOR: "The second that I penetrate her, Shizune winces, then nearly falls on top of me. The sudden sensation is mind-numbing, and I feel waves of pleasure radiate through me from both ends of my body. It feels as if my entire lower body is enveloped in the warmth and wetness of Shizune's body, able to feel her every twitch and shudder as she starts moving."
NARRATOR: "Shizune begins rocking her hips back and forth, at first slowly, but with her tempo increasing each time she pulls herself almost completely off of me only to plunge back down at the last second."
NARRATOR: "Being so close to her, I can see the sweat beading on her skin and the fog that forms on her glasses when they slide down her nose and too close to her mouth before she pushes them back up. Her fingertips press into my shoulders, holding on to them to steady herself, pushing against them to pull herself off of me, and then running down my arms and grasping for my wrists and hands as she pushes herself back down."
NARRATOR: "Maneuvering around like this is difficult at best. Shizune tries to brace herself against me while pushing herself up and down with her feet. I attempt to kiss her, but only manage to succeed in touching our foreheads together, at least not painfully. My thoughts wander briefly to whether or not the door is locked. If it were to open now, I'd probably have a heart attack, literally. And then there's the question of who would be opening the door. The sense of danger only serves to make Shizune's movements more torturous, and I wish she would speed up, but from this position, it may not even be possible."
NARRATOR: "I start moving my hips upwards in rhythm with her, trying to drive myself deeper into her. It doesn't matter to me that my movements are shaking the chair we're on, creating a loud knock as the wooden chair raps against the wooden floor."
NARRATOR: "Her breathing grows louder, and even sounds like suppressed moans escape her throat. Though it's obvious that she wants to hold them in, they're still loud enough that they would be audible to anyone standing outside the door. I stop thrusting into Shizune, partly because it's harder to keep up with her as she starts getting more and more into it and moving faster than I can manage to match while under her."
NARRATOR: "My heart races so quickly that I can almost hear the blood pounding in my temples, and more worryingly, I can feel a dull throb in my chest. I stop thinking about the pressure I feel between my thighs, if only for a moment. That moment, though, is enough. Combined with the tightness of her squeezing herself around me and the sensation of her skin rubbing against mine, I tense up and fire off inside Shizune. A fleeting feeling of power and flight."
NARRATOR: "Afterwards, I listen to the sound of my heartbeat slowing down until it reaches its normal rhythm. I listen to the sound of Shizune's breathing as it does the same. Her glasses are slightly askew, and this is the first time she isn't messing around with them in some way. I want to straighten them for her, but the second I try, I'm reminded that I can't. Shizune seems to have forgotten it as well. Instead of getting up, she presses herself against me in the chair to extend her reach. It's almost as if this is the only position she can think to untie my hands from. That is what I think as I feel her unbinding my wrists."
NARRATOR: "However, she doesn't get off me. Her fingers gently stroke against mine, occasionally bending inwards to run over my palms. It's funny, but I feel more connected to Shizune through this simple act than before. Shizune stays pressed against me like this for some time. It's a little uncomfortable, but it makes me feel happy, as if I could stay like this for hours."
Next Scene: Confrontation