Heart Wrenching Summer Festival
Wednesday afternoon; the team had returned to Enoshima High after a 6-3 victory against Sagamihara High School in the Quarter-finals, securing their place in the Semi-finals on Friday. Additionally, the team was back together now that everyone who had failed a midterm had passed their makeups. Everyone was feeling confident since they had made it this far, there was just one small hitch however...
Wednesday June 16th;
"Two more games, and we win Inter-High and secure our spot in the Nationals!" Yuki said enthusiastically as the team washed up in the women's shower room, most of them using cold water, since it was so hot that day
"I don't fancy playing in this heat though." said Miki in an exasperated voice "I swear, it's getting hotter and hotter."
"You're telling me." said Chloe "I didn't think Japan was this hot this time of year."
"It's worse down south." said Amuro "Especially in Okinawa."
"Aren't you a native from that prefecture?" Nagisa asked
"Uh-huh. I'm from Aguni Island to be precise. I moved to Kamakura by myself for my final year of middle school. Been here ever since."
"You're a long way from home, little girl." said Chloe
"'Little girl'? I'm a upperclassman."
"Where did Keiko go?" Aoi asked
"Yeah, didn't she come in with us?" Yuzuki asked
"Her phone rang, so she's still outside talking." said Yuki, just then Keiko walked in "Speak of the devil, we were just talking about you."
"Well girls, I just got off the phone with Ishiki-san." said Keiko
"And?" Suzuka inquired as she ran shampoo through her hair
"Nadeshiko's got another match coming up."
"That's great! Who's it against?" Miho asked
"We're going up against Egypt this time."
"Egypt? Didn't they get 5th place at that last World Cup?"
"That's nothing to laugh at. Egypt's not to be taken lightly. Trust me." said Chloe
"Played against them before?" Tsukasa asked
"Oh yeah, back when I was on Les Bleues. And we lost 2-4."
"Another thing." said Chloe "I'm guessing this will be the match that your mom re-debuts back in the soccer world?"
"Your mom's gonna play?!" Yuki asked
"Uh-huh. She's officially rejoined Nadeshiko Japan." said Keiko
"YES!" Tsukasa shouted "The great Nana rejoins the stage!"
"It'll make headlines for sure!" said Amuro
"Um, girls." Keiko interrupted "About this match, there's... a small hitch."
"Come again?" said Yuki
"The match... is on the same day as the Semi-finals."
There was a bit of a silence for a few minutes, until it was finally broken by Suzuka.
"Please tell me you're joking." said Suzuka
"I wish. This is actually a very important match, and this time I'm not allowed to refuse to play." said Keiko "It actually happens before the semi-finals."
"But you can't play two matches in one day!" said Suzuka "None of us can!"
"I know. This means that I can't play in the semi-finals with you guys."
"Great. Just great." said Asuka
"They tried to schedule for a later date, but the Egyptians wouldn't have it. But I can still play in the Finals on Saturday. I'm not out of the tournament."
"That's good to hear at least." said Suzuka
"Now that that's cleared, who's going to the summer festival tomorrow?" Yuki asked
Everyone answered with cheers.
Thursday June 17th, afternoon;
The afternoon following practice on Thursday, Keiko, Chloe, and the kids were getting ready to go to the summer festival.
"Kei-nee, that's too tight!" said Ryo as she and Keiko were changing in their room. Keiko, already in her yukata, was helping Ryo with hers
"Sorry, Ryo." said Keiko as she adjusted Ryo's obi "I'm no professional at this."
"I think my breasts are the problem." Ryo moaned
"You and me both. Chloe and Saki probably have the same problem. There, this is the best I can do." said Keiko as she finished
"Question: why aren't we wearing bras with our yukatas?" Ryo asked
"Because they're just going to be uncomfortable, especially in this heat. Now hold still and let me do your hair."
Keiko had just finished putting Ryo's hair in a bun by adding a pair of hair-sticks to it, when Chloe walked in wearing a yukata as well.
"How do I look? I borrowed it from your mother." said Chloe
"You look great." said Keiko
"And you two look absolutely beautiful." said Nana, who just appeared in the door "Reminds me of your Shichi-Go-San."
"Mama, please." said Keiko
"Now that won't do. You've done Ryo's hair but you haven't done your own." Nana then put Keiko's hair in a bun as well, and Keiko noticed something about the hair-sticks that had been put in place
"These hair-sticks." said Keiko when she looked herself in her mirror "Aren't these those 'special hair-sticks?' I haven't worn them since my last Shichi-Go-San when I was seven. You insisted I wore them as I recall."
"They're heirlooms that have been in my family since the Taishō era." Nana told her "I was going to 'officially' give them to you for your next birthday, but since you have a boyfriend now, I figured 'why wait?'"
"So they're quite old? They still look so new." said Chloe
"I guess we took good care of them." said Nana
Dressing done, the four of them went downstairs where the boys, Hiroki and Koichi, were waiting. Both of them wearing men's yukatas.
"About time." said Hiroki irritably "We were just about to leave withou...." Hiroki suddenly became speechless upon seeing the girls.
"Well, waddya know," said Chloe upon seeing Hiroki's face "We're gorgeous enough to render even a twelve year old speechless."
"Maybe I shouldn't come after all."
"I invited Saki-chan as well." said Ryo "Are you really gonna miss seeing her in a yukata?" Ryo had said the magic words
"I'll go, I'll go!"
"Onii-chan's easy to read." said Koichi
"Seriously." said Keiko
"Don't tease me." said Hiroki
Just then, the doorbell rang, and Yuki walked in.
"Ready to go?" Yuki asked
"Yuki, you look great." said Keiko
"And so do the rest of you."
"Sorry we can't go with you kids." said Kakeru "I have a meeting with the JFA, and your mother needs to finalize something with Nadeshiko Japan."
"Don't worry, Papa, we'll make sure they stay with the group." said Keiko
"Are we that untrustworthy?" Ryo mumbled
"Before you go take this." said Nana as she held out a brown envelope "¥50,000 to spend."
"Wh-what? We can't take this." said Keiko, but Nana gave her a look that told her to take it "I hate it when you do that." and Keiko took the envelope
"Have a great time, all of you." said Kakeru as the group left the house.
Later at the festival area;
"There they are." said Suzuka. She and Miki had arrived earlier to wait for Keiko's group "Over here!"
"Did you wait long?" Keiko asked
"No, we just got here ourselves." said Miki
"Are we missing a few people?" Chloe inquired
"Saki-san's not here yet. and neither is Saito-kun's group." said Suzuka
"Neither is Yamato-kun." said Miki, making Suzuka flinch
"You invited Yamato-senpai?" said Yuki
"Who's Yamato?" Hiroki and Ryo asked in unison
"A girl can hope, can't she?" said Suzuka
"Everyone!" said Saki as she ran up to them panting "Sorry I'm late. I had convince mom that I wasn't meeting any boys."
"Her mother doesn't like boys?" Suzuka inquired
"Nope." Keiko replied
"Saki-chan, you look great." said Ryo "Even Hiroki can't take his eyes off you."
"Ryo!" Hiroki exclaimed as both his and Saki's faces blushed
"This just leaves...." said Miki
"We're here." said Saito, who just turned up with Michiru and Sanae, all of them wearing yukatas as well. He was pushing Sanae's wheelchair while Michiru walked next to him.
"Good timing, Saito-kun." said Yuki
"Sanae, it's been so long. It's good to see you again." said Keiko, as she touched Sanae's hand
"Keiko, likewise." said Sanae "Who does the other voice I heard belong to?"
"That was Yuki."
"So you're Sanae?" said Yuki
"You really are blind." said Chloe
"That was Chloe." said Keiko "My siblings, Hiroki, Ryo and Koichi are the rest of the party." The three of them introduced themselves when called "Over here is Hiroki's girlfriend, Saki Takasugi."
"Hi." said Saki
"And the remaining two are our seniors, Suzuka Akitsuki, and Miki Hattori."
"Pleased to make your acquaintances." said Sanae "I'll remember your voices."
"Now that we've all been introduced, let's go in!" Michiru said enthusiastically, and she dragged her three fellow middle schoolers into the festival area, Koichi following close behind.
"Don't wander too far, kids." Suzuka called after them "Stay where we can see you."
"Curiosity: is Michiru wearing panties?" Keiko asked Saito in a whisper
"Unfortunately, no." Saito replied "Help me keep an eye on her."
The group then proceeded to enjoy the festival. Chloe went for the goldfish scooping immediately.
"I've always wanted to try this." said Chloe as she paid for her poi and bowl. Chloe then proceeded, but her poi broke quickly "Zut alors. [shucks.]" Chloe paid for another and tried again, but failed again "Merde. [Damn.]"
"How long do you think she'll be at it?" Yuki asked
"Until she runs out of money." said Keiko, displaying the money envelope Nana gave her "Give 'er ten minutes."
"Hehehe, shall we get some food?" Saito asked
"Takoyaki." said Sanae
"Comin' right up." said Keiko, but Saito intervened, saying he'd pay for it.
"Looks like everyone's having a good time." said Keiko as they sat down to at a table to eat their takoyaki
"Are they?" Sanae inquired, a takoyaki ball in her mouth
"Let's see," said Yuki "Ryo-chan and Koichi-kun are following Michiru-chan around, Saki-chan and Hiroki-kun have broken from the group to be alone, and the two seniors are at the shooting stall." Just then, Chloe rejoined them "And it looks like someone finally gave up on the fish."
"Why do those things have to be so fragile?" said Chloe
"Open up and say 'ah', Chloe-san." said Sanae, holding a takoyaki at her shoulder, but there was no one there.
"Uh, I'm way over here."
"Huh? Sorry. Being unable to walk is no problem, but being blind is a pain." said Sanae as Chloe moved to her and ate the takoyaki
"Takoyaki, delicious!" said Chloe excitedly
"You did say you'd rather stay how you are than go through risky surgery." said Keiko "But, didn't you say your mother was a doctor?"
"She's an Obstetrician and Gynecologist, not an Ophthalmologist." said Saito "I'd like to introduce you to her."
"I know what Obstetricians and Gynecologists are. You'd better not be getting any ideas."
"Perfect couple." said Sanae
"I'll say." said Yuki
"Can it." said Keiko
The five of them went around the festival after that. And an hour later, they tried the shooting gallery. Saito missed for the fourth time when Suzuka and Miki suddenly rejoined them.
"I'm telling you, it's because you're so cute." said Miki, trying to calm a clearly irritated Suzuka
"What happened?" Keiko inquired
"Not only is Yamato-kun nowhere to be found, it seems like he didn't come at all, but a bunch of boys we don't even know just tried to hit on Suzuka." Miki told them
"No surprise, senpai is cute."
"This coming from the most popular girl in school?" said Suzuka
"I'll go get you a drink to calm down." said Saito, and he left for a drink stall
Just then, not even a minute after Saito left, a girl ran up to them
"KEIKON! YUKIN!" the girl yelled excitedly, knocking both Keiko and Yuki to the ground "You're here too! After all this time, I though I'd never see you again."
"Who the heck are you?" Yuki asked as the girl released them
"You don't recognize me? Keikon, Yukin?"
"Wait, what did you just call us?" Keiko inquired
"You heard me." said the girl "Keikon and Yukin."
Keiko and Yuki looked at each other "There's only one person that ever called us by those nicknames." they said together in disbelief "MIDORI?!"
"Yes, it's me." said the girl called Midori proudly as the three of them got to their feet "Midori Kobayakawa is back in Japan."
"Excusez-moi. [Excuse me.]" said Chloe "Having a hard time keeping up here."
"Yeah, who is this girl?" Suzuka asked
"This is Midori Kobayakawa." said Yuki, who, like Keiko, looked on the verge of tears "She's a friend from middle school, same age as us. But she's been missing for three years."
"How are you here?" Keiko asked Midori "We saw the news... the plane crash... we thought you and Kaname were...."
"Well, we're not." said a slightly older boy who just turned up. It was Kaname "What's the matter? You look like you've seen a ghost."
"It can't be." said Keiko
"Explanation, ONEGAI!" said Suzuka
"This is Kaname and Midori Kobayakawa." said Yuki "They were with us in our first year of middle school, but moved to Germany that same summer. But on the way, the plane crashed. We thought they'd died."
"We were lucky." said Kaname
"After the crash, we spent a two months in a coma in a hospital in the middle of the Kazakhstan countryside." Midori told them "We were there ever since. They finally released us six months ago, but we only managed to come home to Kamakura just last week. Plus, we're enrolling into Enoshima High. Me as a first year, Onii-chan as a second year."
"I... don't... believe it...." Keiko said slowly, still in shock
"It does seem unbelievable." said Chloe
"I'll say." said Miki
"Saito's not gonna like this." said Sanae
"Quiz!" said Yuki "Only the real Kaname-senpai and Midori-chan would know the answer. What... is my birth name?"
"'Birth name'?" Suzuka and Miki said together
"It's Aziza Sharafi." said Kaname
"Aziza-chan!" said Midori
"That's them." said Yuki
"'Aziza Sharafi'?" Chloe inquired "Isn't that an Arab name?"
"Yes, and it's my birth name, I'm half Arab. My father was from Syria. Several years ago, my name was legally changed to what it is now after my old man left. Long story."
"You've said enough." said Sanae
"It really is you." Keiko said to Kaname
"That's right, Keiko." Kaname replied, putting his hands on her shoulders "I'm alive, and I'm back. We're together again." All of a sudden, Kaname kissed Keiko mouth to mouth, much to everyone's surprise, but Keiko pushed him away quickly "What is it, what's wrong?"
"You mean, what's wrong with you?" said Chloe
"Doing something like that?!" said Suzuka
"What? What just happened?" said Sanae as Keiko freed herself from Kaname's hands
"What? Is it wrong for me to kiss my own girlfriend?" Kaname asked
"Girlfriend?!" Miki exclaimed
"This is getting out of hand." said Sanae
"Onii-chan confessed to Keikon about a week before we left." Midoru told them "Keikon said 'yes'."
"Kaname-senpai was Kei-chan's first boyfriend." said Yuki
"'Was'?" Kaname inquired "Aren't I still."
"Kaname... you died." said Keiko
"I-I almost did, but I'm back now. We're together again." Keiko gave him a grave face "I mean, we are, aren't we?"
"Kaname-senpai?" said Saito, who had just returned with Suzuka's calming drink in hand
Kaname looked from Saito to Keiko several times and realized: Keiko and Saito were together now.
"Awkward." Yuki mumbled
"Kaname...?" said Saito "You're...?"
"Stay away." said Kaname before storming off
"Un drame romantique d'ados. Certainement un triangle amoureux. [Teenage romantic drama. Definitely a love triangle.]" said Chloe
"Tu peux le dire. [You can say that again.]" said Suzuka
"Okay... no idea what those two just said, but let me guess," said Midori "While Onii-chan and I were gone, Keikon and Saiton got together?"
"Hai." said Yuki
"But I thought.... When did he...?" said Saito
"Midori will explain, but first," Keiko said to Saito "Saito, I want you to promise me something, and I want you to promise me right now."
A half-hour later;
"I got it this time." said Michiru as she, Ryo and Koichi tried the goldfish scoop, but she failed again
"Give it up, Senpai." said Ryo
"I swear this is rigged." said Michiru as they left the stall
"What does 'rigged' mean?" Koichi asked
"It means sabotaged." said Hiroki, who reappeared with Saki, both of them with candy apples
"Where did you two get to?" Michiru asked
"Is it wrong for us to want to be alone?" Saki replied
"Doing anything naughty?"
"'Naughty'?" the couple replied, confused
"Don't teach them anything weird!" said Ryo
"There you are." said Suzuka, who, along with Yuki, had found them at last
"We've been looking all over for you five." said Yuki "We told you not to wander where we couldn't see you."
"Sorry." the five youngsters said
"Don't worry about it. The fireworks are gonna start soon, so let's go get a good viewing spot."
"Where's everyone else?" Michiru asked "Did something happen?"
"Let's just say, we ran into a couple acquaintances, and things got weird."
"That's and understatement." said Suzuka, just as Keiko, Miki, who was pushing Sanae's chair, Chloe, and Midori showed up
"Fireworks will start soon." said Keiko "We gonna go up to the shrine for a better view?"
"Wait, where's Saito-kun?" Yuki asked
"Onii-chan pulled him aside for a 'chat'." said Midori
"Who're you?" Ryo and Hiroki asked
"Midori Kobayakawa, an old friend of your sister's and Yukin's."
"'Green'?" said Michiru
"Mi-dor-i." Midori corrected her
"Those two have been gone for over twenty minutes." said Chloe
"Where could they have gone?" Suzuka asked
"Oh no!" said Keiko, suddenly realizing what had happened and took off
"Wait, Kei-chan, where you going?" said Yuki taking off after Keiko
"I got a bad feeling about this." said Chloe, taking off after them as well
"Miki, you Sanae and Midori stay with the kids." said Suzuka, running after them as well
Meanwhile, Saito and Kaname were in deep. Angry that Saito was with Keiko now. Kaname had dragged Saito to a secluded spot and started hitting him. But Saito, for some reason, refused to fight back.
"You have some nerve." said Kaname after he had hit Saito once more "Taking someone else's girl."
"Keiko-chan was hardly 'your girl' in the first place." Saito replied
"What's that supposed to mean?!" Kaname asked
"You left not even a week after she accepted your confession, then you were in a plane crash. You can hardly call her yours. We all thought you were dead."
"Hey, I almost did die, you little perverted freak! And her face was the last thing that went through my mind. I know I couldn't have expected her to wait, but you of all people? That broken down wreck, and that nude freak, sisters of yours ain't enough to satisfy you?" Saito looked like he was gonna punch Kaname back, but held himself back. "What, you ain't gonna retaliate?"
"I'm not gonna fight you over a girl." Saito replied
"Then say goodbye to your face!" said Kaname as he prepared to hit Saito again. But, out of nowhere, Keiko appeared and took the punch to the face herself. "Keiko?"
"Kei-chan!" Yuki cried as she, Chloe and Suzuka caught up with her, and Yuki knelt down beside her
"You stay back!" Suzuka said to Kaname in a threatening tone.
"Are you all right?" Yuki asked. Keiko reached inside her mouth and pulled out a molar. "He knocked out a tooth?!"
"It's just a baby's tooth I've been trying to get rid of for a week." Keiko replied reassuringly, then got up, tossed the molar aside, stood next to Saito, and addressed Kaname "Kaname, Saito hasn't been fighting back against you this whole time."
"I noticed." Kaname replied "Why hasn't he?"
"Because I made him promise not to!" said Keiko, catching Kaname off guard completely "Three years ago, I was young and naïve. I only said yes to you out of surprise and excitement. You never held any place in my heart!"
This really caught Kaname off guard, and at this moment, Yuki intervened
"It's time for you to go, Kaname-senpai."
"But...." Kaname started, but Chloe interrupted
"Leave!" She shouted, and Kaname, recognizing defeat, obliged
"You're a sorry excuse for a man." said Suzuka as Kaname walked past her and out of the area
"Keiko-chan, are you okay?" Saito asked, trying to examine Keiko's slightly bruised cheek
"I'm fine." Keiko replied, swatting away Saito's hand and putting some distance between them "You kept your promise."
"I am a man of my word."
Just then, the fireworks started.
"I guess we should've seen this coming." said Saito
"Maybe." Keiko replied "But knowing Kaname, he's not gonna give in so easily. Something like this must never, ever, happen again, and I'm gonna make sure of that."
"How?" Suzuka asked
"Something I probably should've done, a long time ago." said Keiko
"What do you mean?" Saito asked
"I'm saying... I'm breaking up with you, Saito."
This announcement caught everyone by surprise.
"B-Br-breaking up?" said Chloe
"Kei-chan, you can't really mean that." said Yuki
"Both of you stay out of this." said Keiko
"Keiko-chan," said Saito "I guess I kinda saw this coming, but... at least tell me why."
Keiko paused before answering "Saito look... I should never have started going out with you in the first place. At first, the only reason I accepted you was because I felt obligated, I felt responsible, after you helped to save Koichi."
"She's lying." Yuki thought
"After that, all you were to me was a boy-toy. Something to make me feel better." Keiko continued "I never had any affection for you in the first place."
"Some things shouldn't be said." Chloe whispered to Suzuka
"Something doesn't feel right." Suzuka thought to herself
"Keiko-chan," said Saito "I kinda felt it was like that for a while now."
"He's believing it?!" Yuki thought
"I'll accept that you're breaking up with me. But, I'm not giving up on you. I'll keep trying to win your affections."
Caught off guard by this, Keiko came to the verge of tears, called Saito an "Idiot", and ran off, with Yuki, Chloe and Suzuka following.
Yuki, Chloe and Suzuka soon lost track of Keiko. After Suzuka phoned Miki, telling her to make sure everyone got home safe, Yuki told them of the most likely place Keiko was to be: the Enoshima Girls Soccer Team locker room's showers.
"Thought we'd find you here." said Yuki as the three of them came into the shower room. Keiko had thrown her yukata aside and was sitting on her knees with her lower legs splayed in either direction, water running down her body.
"Yuki read you like a book." said Suzuka "Like she said, you're here in the showers."
"So she does have that habit." said Chloe
"Uh-huh." said Yuki, who then turned back to Keiko "You're really something, you know that." As Yuki sat down, she reached out to put a hand on Keiko's shoulder, and felt the water coming from the shower head "Kei-chan, this water is freezing!" Yuki reached for the knobs to turn the warm water on, but Keiko grabbed her wrist and stopped her "You're going to catch a cold, and you've got a big match tomorrow."
"Leave me alone." Keiko said glumly as she released Yuki's hand, who drew her hand back
"Kei-chan, girlfriend, sister, why did you say those things to Saito-kun?" Yuki asked
"Because it was the truth." Keiko answered
"Like hell it was. I understand you'd want to break up with him to keep Kaname-senpai at bay, but you didn't need to tell those lies to convince him."
"I wasn't lying. I meant every word."
"Yeah, right. Come on, Kei-chan, this isn't like you."
"And what makes you think you know me so well?!" Keiko asked irritably
"I've known you since Kindergarten, that's pretty much my whole life." Yuki told her "I know you Kei-chan. I could tell you things about yourself that would shock you."
"Really! Kei-chan, you're my best friend. We're practically sisters, in more ways than one. You've been there for me and helped me more times than I care to count. And I've been there for you when you needed me too. It's impossible for you to lie to me."
"I wasn't lying!" said Keiko, her voice rising "That's how I've always felt about Saito. I never liked him. I hate him!"
"No, you don't! Now you get back in contact with that boy, apologize to him, and get over this complex of yours!"
"What 'complex'? And why are so intent on us staying together? Isn't this your chance? You love him, don't you?"
"Yuki? In love with Saito?" Chloe asked Suzuka
"It really couldn't have been more obvious." Suzuka replied
"You two, shut it." Yuki told them, then turned back to Keiko "I won't deny, I do have deep feelings for him. But I already confessed to him last year and he rejected me. After that I shelved my feelings for him. Why? Because I'm not good enough for him! He only has eyes for you! And I know you love him too. I know you love him. So stop lying to yourself, and admit how you truly feel."
Keiko couldn't bear to hear these things. She turned off the shower, wrapped herself in her yukata, slipped on her getos, and bolted past the girls and out the door, and went straight home.
"Keiko, you're back." said Nana when Keiko walked in the door "Ryo, the boys and I just got back ourselves. My meeting with Nadeshiko Japan went smoothly as well." Keiko remained silent as she slipped off he getos and went right past Nana, who right away knew something was wrong "Keiko, what happened? Keiko?" Keiko ran right upstairs and Nana heard her bedroom door open and close. Just then, Chloe walked in. "Did something happen, Chloe-chan?"
"(sigh) Long story short, she and Saito broke up." Chloe told her
"Broke up!? How'd that happen?"
"Long story, I'll tell you later. But right now you should leave Keiko alone. She feels really bad right now, but knowing her, she's gonna try and shift her focus to your match tomorrow."