Kenna sighed; she did not want to be in Japan for Christmas. She wanted to be back in her hometown, with her friends, to have fun in the snow and gossip about all the boys they had crushes on. She yearned to be back home, to see the man her heart longed for.
Naoki was perfect. He was everything she wanted in a man and she wished he would see that she even existed. Every time they were at school all the girls fawned over him and she was always pushed into the back of the group. She yearned to talk to him, to get to know him but it would never happen if she was stuck in this place, to visit family that they hardly knew.
It was always awkward coming to see family that you hardly knew anything about. Days full of uncomfortable conversations, high expectations and constant questions. Where was she going to school? Was she going to college? She had to go to a university. What was she going to major in? Did she have a man in her life? It made her shake with annoyance; she looked up at her mother. “Mom, do we really have to go to auntie’s house? I don’t even remember any of them…it’s always so uncomfortable around them.”
Her mother rolled her eyes but smiled, “Oh come on sweetie, it is just something we all have to do once a year, it doesn’t matter if we want to do it or not.”
There was no response but instead Kenna ran behind her mother and hid. Her mother grew confused, “What is wrong? Why are you hiding Kenna?”
Kenna pushed her mother, “Mom, can you go in that shop? I see someone from my school and I don’t want him to see my mother with me at the mall!”
Her mother giggled, “Oh it is a boy is it?”
Kenna blushed, “Mom!”
She laughed again, “Alright, I’ll stay in this shop here, you just come get me when you’re done.”
Kenna nodded and pushed her mom until she was in the store, she then slowly turned around and peered through her brown hair and saw him. It was Naoki! He was looking at some clothes within a shop on the opposite side of the mall. What was she going to do? Should she go walk up to him? It had to be fate that he would show up in a completely different country and in the same town and the same mall, right? It would be an act against the Gods if she was just going to let this opportunity pass her by and not talk to him.
She walked towards him, her mind racing with emotions. What if he did not remember her? She tried to stop walking but her body moved by itself, as her mind swam in a pool of thoughts. If she was to go up to him and tell him hi what if he just didn’t remember her at all? They only had a couple conversations at school and it would be humiliating if he was to tell his friends at school that he saw her and she had come up to him. She did not want to come off as a stalker but she really wanted to talk to him and now was the ideal moment because there were no girls in the way of her chance to meet him now. So she took her chance, the only chance she would have to get to know him better.
She finally made her way into the same store as him but she cowered at the last minute. She grew shy and walked a couple steps away from him and pretended to look at some clothes that were on a rack in front of her. She looked through the sizes, trying to act as if she really was here just to shop.
What was she going to do now? She couldn’t risk sneaking out of the store and have him notice her. She wanted to talk to him but her insecurities took over her mind and she felt her heart beat in her chest; her palms sweat and the sick feeling in her stomach arise. She started to perspire and reached into her pocket to get her cell phone out to call her mom.
“Is that you Kenna?” A voice said, it was stern and masculine.
Kenna widened her eyes, quickly put her cellphone away and raised her gaze up to see Naoki. “You actually know who I am?” she asked but once the words left her mouth she regretted them and tried to catch herself from sounding like a fan girl, “I mean I didn’t even think about seeing you here. What are you doing here?”
Naoki smiled charmingly at her, allowing her to catch herself, “I am surprised to see you here too. I am actually pleasantly surprised. We don’t get to talk much at school. It’s funny that we happen to meet here because I have wanted to see you for some time now but every time I saw you at school you were always so far away that I could never get close enough to talk to you long enough.”
Kenna grew confused and the blush upon her cheeks heightened and she was forced to look away to give her body enough time to calm down. Of course the one time she was able to talk to the man she cared about her body would react in such a way. She didn’t want him to see her face bright red, not to mention knowing that she was blushing made her blush even more and that made her face sweat. She grew uneasy, not wanting to be in this situation anymore. She just wanted to calm and cool down, then get back into this conversation with Naoki.
“What did you want to talk about?” she managed to push out of her mouth, she continued to avert her gaze down towards the clothes upon the racks, moving them side to side acting as if she was examining them. She had to get her mind off the fact that she yearned to be intimate with him, to see his shining eyes and his soft silver hair become hers.
Christmas music now began to play throughout the mall, it blared loudly but serenely through the halls and stores and she grew nervous as she saw people begin to dance in a festive display.
“Would you like to dance?”
Kenna almost lost her balance as the question left his mouth. Was he really going out of his way to ask her to dance with him? Not to mention it was a slow dance, why would he want to be close to her? She felt like passing out from the amount of warmness entering her face. Her blush intensified as he asked this question and the longer she put off the answer the worse it was going to get so she just nodded, “Sure!” she said, trying to act as if she was not severely overwhelmed by him.
Naoki smiled and softly grabbed her hands and placed them around his neck and he softly moved his own hands around her waist. He moved his feet back and forth and they began to dance in a warm embrace. The tension around them grew and she felt as if she could not handle such an interaction with him. She buried her face in his shoulder, his body smelt like cinnamon and she felt her face cool and the blush beginning to drain from her cheeks.
“I’ve always wanted to talk to you more, Kenna. I know this might sound really strange but would you like to meet my family for Christmas? You don’t have to but…I have told them a lot about you.”
Kenna looked up at him, her blush returning and as she made no response she saw his face grow a rosy tint. He tried to catch himself, “I know, it’s weird but I, uh, well I’ve had a crush on you for quite some time now and seeing you here out of all the possible places we could have been seemed like fate to me. Like I was destined to finally tell you, so please don’t think less of me because of how I feel. If you don’t want to come that is perfectly fine, I know you are here for family as well.”
Kenna inched her face close to his, she wanted so badly to kiss him, to feel his soft lips on hers and to have that intense relationship with him. Her body ached and her heart sang, all she could do was stare at him, nod and speak, “I have felt the same way for a long time. It is…” she took a deep breath trying to calm down her nerves, “Very nerve-wracking to have such feelings for you but to have you return them feels like a delusion…”
Naoki raised his hand from her hip to her face, stroking it softly, “You have no idea how much my heart longed for you to say such a thing.” He smiled and leaned in close to her, making Kenna’s face blare red, was this going to happen? Was her first kiss going to be with the man she had loved from a far for so many years?