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Rainy Days And Mondays

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Nishikino Maki groaned and stretched. She’d fallen asleep on the couch again, lines wedged into her arm. Stayed up until dawn only finding the wrong keys for the mood of the piece she was composing. Dark outside. Maki had no time sense. She heard rain, speed and force varying, never settling into a rhythm. Maki felt that.

Humming to herself, but in a minor key, Maki pressed a hand against the window, raindrops sliding behind the glass, hidden from view. Cold glass against her palms and fingertips. Maki pushed her left hand against the window too, counting the drops between, watching slow, barely dripping drops gather.

“Gloomy today, huh?” Sighing was too juvenile so Maki just kept the minor hum going. But that tune wasn’t going to musically turn into a complex suite she could hand to the Artistic Director of the Queens Symphony Orchestra. Maybe letting the weather leak in, turning music into a mood barometer would help.

Maki glanced down. Hearts all over purple flannel pajama pants. At least she’d managed to change into sleep clothes last night.

“Piano.” Maki ordered herself, shaking her eyes open, bangs falling wild. But her feet were reluctant in their panther slippers. And the rain still refused to patter in any pattern. And Maki felt like the only warmth in a chilled house. Maki knew the cold damp would sink in and she’d get creaky if she stood too long. Or she would shimmer into a gray shadow, pass through the window, and join the rain. With all the stubbornness a Nishikino could summon, Maki pushed herself away from the window. She could warm her fingers up on the piano’s keys.

Pausing before the music room door, Maki glanced back. Still so dark. Cold seeping inside, solitude, isolation, dark. Maki shivered. She had one hope for a cure.

Pushing the music room door open, the grand piano gleamed at the far end of the room, in front of a gracefully curved bay window.

Dia glanced up from the long low table prominent in the center of the room. She was sweeping dark black letters across a snow white page with a samurai’s surety. Ruby bounced to her feet, the jacket she was embroidering dropping to the table.

“Mama! Mom told us not to wake you. But we missed you at breakfast.” Ruby’s hug proved Maki had more substance than a cloud shadow.

Ruby might have gotten as tall as Nico recently but she was still Maki’s tiny baby girl, “Thanks for being so thoughtful.”

Dia finished her word, placed her brush down on the stand carefully, and spoke in a serious tone, “Rainy days are ideal for quiet activities. It was not a strain.”

They had let Umi babysit Dia far too much. Next she’d be saying ‘Shameless” at the slightest hint of affection between her parents. That thought had Maki suddenly giggling.

“Rainy days are gloooooomy.” Maki announced in a silly voice that reminded her of Rin, then swept to the piano to play something grand and dramatic. And on cue, the center of this universe arrived, Yazawa Nico pushing through the door, a platter heavy with blueberry cinnamon scones, a Nico original recipe that perfumed the air with tempting aroma.

“Nico’s got the cure for rainy day blues.” A huge smile as Nico kissed each of her girls, Dia on the top of her head, Ruby on the cheek, and Maki soundly on the lips.

Nico is the cure, Maki realized as she bit into a scone dropped into her hand by Nico.

“Mama?” Dia had turned to face the piano.

“Yes, bun?”

Dia still blushed at her childhood nickname. “Play something Mom can sing.”

Nico froze at the surprising show of affection from the more reserved of her daughters, then dropped the fashion magazines she was sorting through to bounce over to hug Dia.

“Ooohh…” Ruby clapped, excited, “And a duet.”

Outside the window, it still rained, dark still hid the sun, but any gloom had evaporated like morning mist.

Nico Ni smile magic. Always works. Always warmed.

And Maki knew the song to play.