“Thanks again for coming out tonight,” Kasumi said after her encore. The hundreds of fans screamed back at her.
If only her number one fan could have been there, too.
Kasumi pushed that thought aside as she smiled for the crowd. She had to be the cute Kasumin for the next few minutes. She had to be.
“Kasumin’s birthday live was a huge success because of all of you. Thank you all for supporting me!” The crowd cheered and Kasumi smiled. She was so happy that so many people came out to the event.
As soon as she got off the stage and had access to her phone, she started typing some notes for that event. What went well and what could have gone better. She put where her singing was off and where she ran out of breath in capital, bold letters. She would focus on trying to iron those out for the next live.
After that, she took a ride with her producer and the rest of the agency that attended back to their offices, where they started planning the next live of the tour. A couple of days wasn’t a long time to prepare to travel, but at least she was able to spend her birthday in Tokyo still. After talking for a little while longer about the logistics of their travel plans, Kasumi left and headed to the station.
She checked her phone on the train and scrolled through all of her unread messages. She read through a lot of encouragement and congratulations from the School Idol Club group chat and made sure to thank everyone.
Then she went to Karin’s direct messages with her. The last one she had received was from an hour before the live started, wishing her good luck. The previous one was from the morning, where she congratulated Kasumi on her birthday.
To be fair to Karin, she did say she would be busy for almost the entire time between lunch and dinner, and Kasumi’s live did occur during the afternoon. But she couldn’t take out just a few seconds to ask how the live went or say anything ? Kasumi sighed and shut her phone.
Now that she was thinking about it, they hadn’t really spent much time with each other over the past few weeks. She knew that Karin was looking into modeling clothes for a few upcoming fashion designers’ new collections. Kasumi was also busy with her latest album, rehearsals for her tour, and marketing herself on television and radio.
There were other times when things came up out of the blue, especially on Karin’s end. Just little things like a designer returning her agency’s calls or a shoot being pushed back because of someone else’s mistakes.
So of course they would have less time for each other. They both had their careers, after all.
But that didn’t make it any less annoying.
Kasumi sighed and gazed out the window, hoping that she’d be able to spend at least a little time with Karin that night.
Karin arrived at Kasumi’s apartment a few hours later, just before dinner time.
“So, how’d it go?” Karin asked at the door. She was dressed fashionably, as always, and walked in with a small bag before Kasumi could respond.
“It was pretty good. What’s in the bag?” Kasumi tried to look, but Karin raised it out of her reach.
“It’s a secret,” Karin said with a wink, emphasizing each syllable with a pause. Kasumi tried to reach for it, buit Karin used her superior height to her advantage.
“It’s my birthday, though. You’re being unfair.” Kasumi pouted, on the off-chance that Karin would fall for it just once. She didn’t.
“Oh, you’ll find out soon enough. Don’t worry about it.” Karin said before disappearing into Kasumi’s bedroom. When she came back, she plopped down on the couch and looked over at Kasumi. “So, only ‘pretty good?’” she asked.
“Well, I made a bunch of mistakes that I have to fix.” She recounted all the things she could have improved on, and Karin listened carefully. She even mentioned some things she did to conserve her breath when she was dancing. Kasumi took some mental notes before continuing. “Also, I’m not really getting that super popular after all this time. There were maybe five hundred in attendance.”
“That’s a big improvement from your last tour, though. Remember your debut when you were just a small idol? Performing in front of only fifty people.” Karin looked over at her and laughed. “Well I guess you’re still a small idol.” Kasumi scowled at the teasing.
“Still, if I want to catch up with Setsuna-senpai, I have a long way to go,” Kasumi said after Karin stopped giggling. Karin just nodded and pet Kasumi’s head softly. Kasumi clenched her fists as she thought of the things she had wanted to say since the train ride. “And… it didn’t help that you weren’t there to watch me.”
Karin said, “Well, I told you that I couldn’t.” Then she found it as another opportunity to tease. “Or do you still need babysitting? I thought you could handle yourself without me watching.”
“I’m serious, Karin.” Kasumi’s sad stare made Karin stop smiling. Kasumi almost never looked sad, more trending towards happy and cute, or angry and annoyed. Karin brought her hand down to Kasumi’s, and she caressed it while staring into her eyes.
“What’s up? You know it has to be like this sometimes.”
“It just sucks when you’re not there for the important stuff, you know?”
“Well it’s not like I can just give up on modeling. Besides, it’s not like you’ve made it to all my events either,” Karin said with what Kasumi perceived as a hint of annoyance in her voice. She glared back in return.
“It’s more than that recently. Like even before and after work, we barely spend time with each other. Like, even just a meal together would be nice!” Kasumi let out a long, loud sigh before blurting out the first words that came to her head. Words that would get through to Karin for sure. “Sometimes it doesn’t even feel like you’re my fan, when you’re supposed to be my number one fan!”
Karin was silent for a long time next to her. Then, through a grimace, she asked, “Do you really feel like that?”
Kasumi was stunned. She hadn’t seen Karin this way in a long time. A hint of anger, a tinge of sadness, and a lot of self-doubt colored her expression. Kasumi reached her hand out to comfort Karin, but pulled it back, unsure if she could close that distance.
“I’ve always been cheering you on, even if it’s not in person, or if I don’t say it. And I always thought you did the same for me. And we didn’t have to say that out loud, because that’s just how our relationship is.” Kasumi saw wetness appear in Karin’s eyes. “If… if this isn’t working out for you then… then maybe we should just-”
“No!” Kasumi yelled, stopping Karin from going any further. Kasumi couldn’t stand seeing any of her friends like that, let alone her lover. And hearing those words from Karin hurt more than she could bear.
Kasumi pulled Karin into a hug and held her tightly.
“I want to be with you, Karin.” After hearing that, Karin repeated that sentiment, then they separated just enough to lean back in and press their lips together. After they pulled away again, Kasumi intertwined her fingers with Karin. “I know you do, too. It’s just… sometimes I need a little reminder.”
Karin’s dejected mood seemed to turn around as her lips curved into a smile.
“If it’s a reminder you need,” Karin said before standing up, “give me one second.” Karin went back to Kasumi’s room. After a few minutes, she walked back into the living room while wearing an apron and holding the bag she had brought earlier. “Tadah!”
Kasumi saw Karin’s grin and smiled back. A meal would be nice, Kasumi thought. Then her eyes drifted down and saw her bare shoulders peeking out from the straps of the apron. Then her eyes went further. Karin’s hips jutting out from behind the thin cloth.
Oh, she was wearing an apron. Only an apron. If this wasn’t a reminder of their love, then Kasumi didn’t know what would be.
“You like your present?” Karin asked with a wink as she saw Kasumi’s jaw drop. When Kasumi didn’t answer, Karin continued, “My body aside, I did plan on cooking for you since I thought you’d be hungry.”
Karin walked over to the kitchen, talking about how she had been learning some new recipes so she could show off her new apron. Kasumi could hardly understand anything said as she stared at all the right (or wrong ) parts of Karin’s figure. As soon as Karin turned on the stove, Kasumi stood up, and walked over, and reached around Karin, and turned the stove back off.
Karin turned to her with questioning eyes.
“Maybe we can skip dinner,” Kasumi said.
“You’re not hungry?” Kasumi grabbed Karin’s hips from behind, eliciting a gasp. Then, she kissed her on her neck and back and felt when Karin shivered. She turned Karin around, and the two of them kissed again.
Then Kasumi brought her lips next to Karin’s ear and said a few words, then backed away just enough to enjoy seeing Karin’s flustered face.
“You look tasty enough to eat.”