NARRATOR: "It took a surprisingly short amount of time to get used to swallowing pills without water. That said, I suppose the same thing goes for getting used to living in a school for disabled students. Remembering Yamaku, I become all the more grateful for having the chance to get away, even if it's just for the shortest of times. I appreciate the chance to spend time alone with Lilly and Hanako, away from the bustle of school life, even considering the latest complications. I never thought I'd say it, but the idea of living away from the city in a nice, tranquil area is an inviting one. It's a thought that, barely a year ago, would have seemed simply ludicrous."
NARRATOR: "A flash of pink, no doubt Hanako's gown, peeks from around the corner. Realizing I must look a sight since I've only just woken up, I slap the remaining pills into my mouth and run a hand through my hair."
HANAKO: "Good morning, Hisao."
HISAO: "Ah, go— ack!"
NARRATOR: "I reply to her completely forgetting that I'm in the middle of swallowing a particularly large pill. Coughing and spluttering, I violently gag on it."
HANAKO: "Ah, Hisao!"
NARRATOR: "After sputtering loudly and tapping my chest a couple of times to force it down, I manage to recover."
HISAO: "I'm fine. Sorry, forgot I was swallowing."
HANAKO: "Sorry, I didn't mean to—"
NARRATOR: "I hold my hand up, gesturing for Hanako to stop."
HISAO: "I gagged. It's my fault. 'Morning, Hanako."
NARRATOR: "She pauses a moment before bowing in reply. Walking, no, staggering in behind Hanako is the familiar figure of Lilly, also dressed in her pajamas. With her eyes full of sleep and hair bedraggled, she's a sight to behold."
HISAO: "Hi, Lilly."
LILLY: "Good morning... Hisao."
NARRATOR: "For a while, a silence hangs in the air as neither of us knows what to do. Given what happened last night, we both have more than enough reason to be finding the situation awkward; just how are we meant to react to meeting each other after something like... that? The best course of action would probably be to talk to Lilly alone, to set things in order."
HISAO: "Um, I'll... start making breakfast."
NARRATOR: "Lilly evidently catches on to my train of thought."
LILLY: "I'll help. Hanako, could you set the table?"
NARRATOR: "She nods, her head disappearing into a cupboard as she quickly goes about her assigned task. I rub a little more sleep out of my eyes as I wander over to the fridge and take out some milk, and Lilly grabs various brightly colored boxes from some of the lower cupboards to my side. While we make the rather bland-looking meal, I whisper somewhat more quietly than usual. Knowing Lilly's hearing, she won't have any trouble catching what I say."
HISAO: "Are you okay, Lilly? After last night..."
NARRATOR: "She gives a delicate nod, her expression weak. Though her tiredness surely plays a part, she seems genuinely unsure about what's happened between us, and how to move ahead. I can't say I blame her, considering my feelings are the same."
LILLY: "I'm sorry, Hisao. I wasn't thinking straight yesterday. I never stopped to consider you or Hanako, and I even went as far as..."
NARRATOR: "She's winding herself up. With her hands and voice both tightening, I give her a gentle bump to try and lighten up the situation."
HISAO: "You don't have to apologize. I said I liked you as well, after all."
LILLY: "But I..."
NARRATOR: "As her composure begins to falter, it becomes obvious there's no alternative. Turning to Lilly, I gently embrace her tall frame. She offers no resistance at all, thankfully pulling back, just, from the edge of her emotions. Despite our reassuring embrace lasting only a matter of seconds, I notice Hanako wordlessly watching. The plate in her hand hovers inches above the table, her action halted midway by the sight. The clatter of utensils against plates is the only sound to be heard as we silently eat. Whereas before only two of us may have been unsure of ourselves, the entire situation has changed. After weeks of blissful friendship, whiling away the days with shared meals and chatter with little meaning, the relationship of Lilly and I, no, that of all of us, has irreversibly changed. I can't take this."
NARRATOR: "She solemnly nods, gently laying her spoon onto the plate in front of her. Neither of us knows exactly how we regard each other, let alone how Hanako would view us."
LILLY: "This might seem abrupt but... I've confessed to Hisao."
NARRATOR: "For a moment, Hanako looks almost confused; precisely the reaction I'd thought she would have. She eventually nods, her spoon still in her mouth as she does."
HANAKO: "Did you accept?"
HISAO: "I did."
NARRATOR: "She gives a smile so large, and so earnest, I find myself blushing. I think it's the brightest I've ever seen her expression look."
HANAKO: "Then I'm happy. I'm really, really happy."
LILLY: "I'm sorry for not telling you anything about it before. Things have been..."
NARRATOR: "Hanako shakes her head from side to side emphatically, apparently forgetting in her rush that Lilly couldn't possibly notice. She begins fiddling with her fingers, looking a little more nervous than she did before."
HANAKO: "To be honest, I began to think you might like each other a while ago. At first I didn't really know what to think about it... but I... I decided in the end that... if my friends are happy, then I'm happy. I was really glad to have another friend when we met Hisao, so you finding love through him is even better... right?"
NARRATOR: "A feeling of relief at her acceptance of our relationship falls over me like a wave. The same happens to Lilly, judging by her expression."
LILLY: "Thank you, Hanako. I really appreciate you being so understanding."
NARRATOR: "Lilly's voice still sounds slightly apologetic, or at least unsure. This doesn't escape Hanako, who appears lost in thought for a few moments before turning to me."
HANAKO: "Hisao, do you mind if me and Lilly go outside for a bit?"
HISAO: "Ah, no, feel free..."
NARRATOR: "Hanako gets up from her seat, taking Lilly's hand and almost dragging her from the table in her excitement. Considering Lilly's typically slow and steady pace, Hanako's haste makes her footing awkward and she almost loses her balance a couple of times. It's a pretty amusing sight, leaving me wordless as I watch them disappear out the door. It's only now that I realize the rain's stopped, being replaced by a sky seemingly all the more vivid and bright to make up for the morning's drab gray expanse. For Hanako, this must be a pretty big revelation. Lilly and I are really the only people she associates with, almost as if we were parents in her own's stead. I suppose that might well be the best way to describe the relationship we share. A father, mother and daughter, all playing around in our little make-believe family as if it could last forever. It might be a strange dynamic, and one that certainly can't last for long... but maybe, just for this one small moment, it's okay. As I stand from the table and go to join Lilly and Hanako in the fields outside, I nod to myself in affirmation. This one small moment of happiness, no matter how brief, will last with me, with all of us, forever."
Next Scene: Rhapsody in Blue