“RinRin, what are you giggling about?”
Ako nagged Rinko from the window seat on the highway bus they were taking. Rinko, herself, was seated facing the aisle. She might be a slight bit apologetic for turning her back on Ako for most of their ride, but the scene that was unfolding on the other side of the aisle was too precious for her to ignore.
“Oh, so you are watching too, Rinko?” came Lisa’s hushed whisper from the row behind them.
“Eh? Watching what?” Ako asked rather loudly. Rinko turned around to cover Ako’s mouth.
Sayo and Yukina looked over from across the aisle to see what was going on. Lisa stared out at the window; Rinko started pressing on her smartphone as though she were completely engaged with playing some mobile game. Yukina quickly lost interest and returned to what she was doing previously while Sayo’s gaze lingered just a moment longer with some skepticism before she too looked back at Yukina.
“Oh…” Ako muttered, this time more quietly, “RinRin and Lisa-nee are watching Yukina-san and Sayo-san…but why?”
Lisa’s smile curved upwards into a “lecherous” grin. “I mean, they are both lookers to start…”
Rinko gave a rare glare and shielded Ako from Lisa. “Imai-san!”
“I mean they look nice together. Look at how cute and fluffy they are. It warms my heart!”
Yukina and Sayo were sharing a set of earbuds. As they listened to the song, each tapped with their finger on their hand rest the rhythm of a separate melodic line, resulting in synced taps that caused them to beam goofily at each other.
“They look happy!” Ako concluded. “They’re like playing the drums together! Ako wants to join them!”
“No!” Rinko exclaimed, pulling Ako back into her seat. “It’s…umm…best not to disturb them as they are now.”
“Eh? But why?”
“What those two do together isn’t exactly suitable for an underaged audience. I would know because they keep forgetting to close the curtains…”
“Okay…okay…I will shut up…” Lisa raised her hands in surrender and plopped back onto her seat to leave Rinko and Ako alone. Ako wasn’t so happy about the turn of events though.
“Ako may still be underaged, but Ako isn’t a child! Ako is eighteen!”
“I know…it’s…not that. Umm…how should I put it? You see the way Yukina-san and Hikawa-san are right now…?”
Rinko’s voice trailed off as both Ako and she stole glances at the other side of the aisle again. This time, Yukina and Sayo’s hands weren’t on their hand rest but under it, subtly entwined. Sayo was angled towards Yukina, their knees touched. She was saying something to Yukina, her voice too low to discern what she was talking about, but both were smiling gently.
“They are holding hands and smiling?” Ako answered.
Rinko blushed at Ako’s directness. “Umm…yes…they are acting differently from usual…is…I guess…what I am trying to say. Do you know why?”
“Ako-chan…I don’t know if I’m saying this right, but…like…pretend we’re on the shore and the aisle that separates us from them is the ocean.”
“Okay?” Ako blinked, clearly confused. But she loved wild imaginations, so she wasn’t about to complain. The Aisle Ocean it was then, deep abyssal domain of the dark water spirits – unleash thy…thy…flailing tentacles? That didn’t sound right.
“Ako-chan? Ako-chan?” Rinko called to get Ako’s attention again. She nodded twice.
“Uh huh. I am listening!”
“So like…Yukina-san and Hikawa-san are like…on a ship…in the ocean. We can see them as the only thing in the vast waters, but…to them…we’re specks amongst a crowded cityscape. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
“A ship? Like a pirate ship? Or a luxury cruise?”
“More like a raft since who’d make bets that they’d get together…” Lisa’s unsolicited opinion garnered Rinko’s glare once more.
“That’s not the point, Ako-chan. The point is…”
“Then who’s the captain? I don’t think Yukina-san has a good sense of direction…” Ako interrupted. Lisa burst out laughing and, again, that caught Yukina and Sayo’s attention. Sayo was giving Lisa a hard, questioning stare now, and didn’t break eye contact until Yukina turned her around and spoke loudly enough for the rest of the band members to hear:
“Let them watch. We have nothing to hide.”
And with that, Yukina pulled Sayo’s head down to kiss her lips. Lisa looked impressed and might’ve said an admiring “wow”, Rinko’s face burned but she kept peeking out from between her own fingers, leaving only Ako watching unfazed.
“Ooooooooh…now I get what kind of ship you are talking about. Relationships. Of the romantic kind. I’ve always known about that ship and how you’ve captained it, RinRin.”
“Eh?” Rinko gasped. Ako dug through Rinko’s backpack and took out a notebook that contained designs of their stage outfits, and…well…the models of said outfits were always Yukina and Sayo, and Rinko might’ve drawn them in somewhat intimate positions in some of the sketches…
“No! A-Ako-chan! You…you aren’t supposed to see this…!!”
“What’s the big deal? At least I haven’t seen them having sex like Lisa-nee has…”
As Rinko tried futilely to shut Ako up while simultaneously combusting from her own embarrassment, Lisa just shook her head and mumbled something along the lines of “kids these days certainly grow up fast…”