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Blessings

Wednesday April 9th;

Keiko was the first to wake up. After informing her parents that she wouldn't be coming back, she and Saito returned to their apartment. They were both nude, since when they came home they had intended to make love, but never got to it and fell asleep quickly. Still, Keiko was partially surprised. She pinched her cheek with her left hand, then noticed the diamond ring Saito gave her last night.

"It wasn't a dream." Keiko thought as she laid back down on Saito's bare chest "Saito and I are back together again, and we're going to be married." At that moment, Saito woke up. "Good morning." said Keiko

"Mornin'."  Saito grunted as Keiko stood over him on all fours "We never got to it last night, did we?"

"I don't think so. But it doesn't matter." Keiko kissed Saito "We'll have all the time in the world for such things, my beloved husband. Oh, that felt so good."

"You know we're not married yet."

"I know. But I still can't... believe...." Keiko straightened her back and looked around the room. There was trash everywhere! Mostly empty instant noodle bowls and convenience store bentos. "Um... I feel stupid for not noticing last night, but... Saito, this place is a mess!"

"Sorry. I never cleaned much while you weren't here." Saito said, his face flushing with embarrassment

"(sigh) What am I gonna do with you?"

Pulling only an over-sized shirt of Saito's over her bare body, Keiko set to cleaning up the place.

"You don't have to do that!" Saito exclaimed, pulling on his boxers "It's all my mess."

"It'll be faster with two people." Keiko replied, stuffing a pile of paper bowls in a garbage bag

"But if you don't hurry, you're going to be late."

"My first class isn't until noon." Keiko reminded him "And I'll tell the club captain I'll be late."

"Right then. Oh! You don't have a change of clothes!"

"My things are in Yuki's room. But I'll need to retrieve my school and soccer things from the house." Keiko tied up a full bag "But I think I'll just skip today."

"You can't do that! It would set a bad example!"

"It's only one day."

"Keiko!" Saito kissed Keiko, held her close, also placing a hand on her bare bottom "I'm not going anywhere."

"Ohhhh, I'm sorry. I just feel like... if I leave your side...."

"I'm not going anywhere." Saito repeated, which assured Keiko greatly

After putting on a pair of jorts Keiko left behind to cover her shame, she took two trash bags to the trash chute at the end of the hall.

"Well, well, well. Look who's back on this floor." said Suzuka, who was just coming down the stairs "Made up with Saito-kun then?"

"Uh-huh. A lot of things happened and...." Keiko unconsciously scratched her head with her left hand, and her new engagement ring was instantly noticed by Suzuka

"Well... just don't let him run off again."

"I won't, and what do you mean 'again'?"

"Oh, nothing."

"Oh, by the way, I need to retrieve my things, so could you tell Eiko I'll be late?"

"No problem." Suzuka said with a suspicious smile while sending the text

"What was that about?" Keiko mumbled to herself when she went back into the apartment

"Do you think our parents will give their blessing?" Saito asked as he cleaned up a bit more

"You know they will." Keiko replied

After Keiko retrieved her things from Yuki's room and Aizawa house, she got dressed properly and set off for Nittaidai. She told her parents and Yuki about making up with Saito, but discreetly hid her engagement ring from them, wanting it to be a surprise when she and Saito asked for approval later.

When she finally arrived on campus, she found no one around the club area, and they were supposed to have another two hours of practice.

"Where is everyone?" Keiko asked herself when she arrived "Did morning training get cancelled today?" Keiko then received a text from Suzuka, telling her to come to the clubroom.

Keiko did as asked. When she opened the door, the lights were off. The instant she turned them on, there was an explosion of party poppers and Keiko was instantly covered in small streamers.

"Congratulations on your engagement!" the team chorused

"Wh-what?! How..."

"I don't know what magic you worked but, congratulations!" said Noriko and she and Rikka dragged her forward

"Bu-but... how did you know?"

"I told them." Suzuka fessed up "And we worked as fast as we could to get this together."

"How did you know? I didn't even tell you."

"You slipped up earlier and I saw that ring on your finger."

"Shoot."

"Training's cancelled for today!" said Eiko "Today we're celebrating our own teammate getting hitched." the team cheered to this

"But I'm not getting married for another few months!" said Keiko

In no time at all, the entire university seemed to know about Keiko and Saito's engagement. Keiko soon became annoyed at everyone congratulating her and asking her what being engaged was like. It hadn't even been a full day yet, and they still needed to tell their families. Once her own classes were over for today, and with training cancelled, Keiko had one other matter to attend to before asking her parents for approval.

At Enoshima High, Ryo and Soichi were leaving the school, now that Ryo was done training for the day.

"It seems my sister made up with her boyfriend last night." said Ryo as they changed their shoes

"Did she?" Soichi asked

"I saw her when she came to get her things from the house this morning, and she seemed pretty happy." the couple walked out to the gate "You don't have to wait for me every day you know. It must be boring."

"I have nothing better to do. At any rate, I don't want to go home so early."

Ryo had been curious of Soichi's home life since they got together, in particular why Soichi was afraid of most girls, but had more than enough tact to ask. "Shall we get our cats together today?"

"Sorry, Ryo, but that's gonna have to wait another day." said Keiko's voice

Ryo looked behind her and, right at the gate, Keiko was holding her right arm around Soichi's neck.

"What are you doing?!" Ryo demanded

"I'm borrowing your boyfriend." Keiko replied

"I told you, I'm not breaking up with him!"

"Chill out. It's nothin' like that. I just wanted to have a chat with him about you."

"About... me?" Ryo asked, confused

"That's right. Now get on home, Saito's family and ours are gathering at the park this evening for something important, and Saito and I'll be along later. Mai, Yusha and Yuki are coming as well."

"What's so important?" Ryo inquired

"You'll find out. And when I arrive, I'm bringing this girl-boy with me. It's about time you introduced him to our parents."

Keiko released Soichi, grabbed his collar, and began dragging him away by the collar, Soichi babbling "But, but, but..." the whole way.

"Good luck, Soichi-kun." Ryo muttered to herself

Keiko dragged Soichi to a family restaurant she and Saito frequented.

"Order anything, it's on me." Keiko told Soichi once they were seated, but Soichi was looking very nervous "No need to be afraid of me. Why do you hate girls so much?"

"I-I-I don't... h-hate th-them. I-I just- I..."

"Speak clearly when you talk!" Keiko snapped

"Yes, ma'am!"

"Your orders?" the waitress asked

"(sigh) I'll have a burger. Give him a shake."

"I'll be back."

"Are you really a boy?" Keiko asked Soichi

"Y-yes! Yo-you saw m-my... eh...."

"Yeah. I saw it. let's leave it at that. So.... Do you like my sister?"

"Y-yes!" Soichi said firmly

"What do you like about her?"

"Wh-what do I... um... she's... easy to talk to. And... I'm not scared of her."

"Is that it?"

"I.... I don't know."

"Let me modify the question; do you love her?"

"I.... I don't know." Soichi repeated

"(sigh) Well, you don't really need a reason to like someone, so let's leave it at that." said Keiko as their orders arrived "Look, Soichi-kun, I'm sorry."

"Huh?"

"I'm sorry, for demanding you break up with Ryo. I was a little jealous of Ryo having a relationship while mine was a bit sour at the time."

"It's alright."

"But, Soichi-kun, I need you to understand something; Ryo is my only sister." Soichi nodded "Ryo had a traumatizing experience when she just entered middle school. She was wary of men for months."

"S-she t-told me that, b-but not all the d-details."

"And I'm sure you've done the same?" Keiko asked and Soichi nodded "I find it a good thing that Ryo's moving on and has found someone like you, who clearly had similar experiences."

"Am I that easy to read?" Soichi asked

"To people like me, yes." Keiko took a bite of her burger before continuing "What I really want to ask is; can I trust her to you?"

"Huh?"

"As I've said already... Ryo's my only sister. But I have my own life, and I can't be there to watch out for her, much as I wish I could. I want to know she's in good hands, that you're being good to her."

"Actually, it's the other way around with us." Soichi confessed

"Come again?"

"She's the one who's being good to me. I know it's pathetic, but I'm not a reliable person. I'm picked on all the time, I can't stand up for myself, and.... you get the idea. I don't blame you for wanting us to break up. Whereas Aizawa-san, she's reliable, sticks up for others and covers for them, even when it's not her fault. I can't help feeling she deserves better than me, but I just couldn't say no when she asked me out, and she now refuses to break up with me." Soichi paused when he realized Keiko was laughing "What's so funny?"

"(ha-ha-ha-ha-ha) Ryo asked you out? (ha-ha-ha) She's taking care of you?" Keiko said through her laughs "You're so pathetic. A boy who needs to be taken care of by his own girlfriend (HA-HA-HA-HA-HA)?!"

"Is it that funny?" Soichi asked

"It's hilarious! I brought you here to find out if you can take care of my sister, only to learn it's the other way around! (HA-AH-HA!) My gut feels like it's gonna burst!" Keiko took deep breaths and managed to stop laughing "Alright. Now that that's cleared up, I'll go ahead and say it: You have my blessing."

"Really!?" Soichi exclaimed

"You finally smiled." said Keiko "It looks good on you. You should smile more often. And it doesn't seem like you're afraid of me anymore."

"Huh?" Soichi realized he wasn't nervous or trembling anymore "You're right."

"Make Ryo happy, you hear me? I know you said you're unreliable, but at least try to make her happy on purpose. Now, drink that before it goes bad." Soichi's expression clearing up even more, he did as asked while Keiko took a few more bites of her burger "So, how far have you two gone?"

"Huh?"

"You know, things couples of your age do. Like... have you kissed, or had sex?" Soichi covered his lips and curled his legs in alarm, and shook his head "Okay, okay, sorry I asked."

Soichi calmed down again and spoke "We've... held hands."

"Good luck. You'll need it, she can be a very demanding girl."

"I know that already, arigato."

"And speaking of demands, you're coming with me to our favorite park for two reasons."

"Hai?"

"1. You're introducing yourself to our father."

"Every boy's worst nightmare."

"Not with our dad, trust me. And 2. My fiancé and I are asking my parents to bless our marriage."

"You're getting married?! Congratulations!"

After finishing their orders, Keiko paying the bill, they went to the park of Kakeru and Nana's youth. As they made their way there, the extended family was already gathering.

Already there were Kakeru, Nana, Mai, the four youngest Aizawa siblings and Saki.

Ryo, Koichi and Hiroki were playing soccer to pass the time while Saki watched with Yusha in her lap.

"What could Keiko and Saito-kun have to talk about that requires everyone meeting here?" Nana asked

"I can't really say." said Mai

"You don't think she might be pregnant again, do you?" Kakeru asked

"Please. Those two haven't seen each other for months, and they only got back together again last night." said Nana

"How'd they get back together this time?" Mai asked

"Some individual provided them with a chance at this fancy restaurant? Other than that, we don't now."

"Nana-chan, Kakeru-kun, Mai-chan, Kids!" said Ushio as she, Michiru, Sanae, Saito and Himeko came in "We're here."

"I'm here too." Yuki called as she came in from the opposite way "I hope Kei-chan has a good reason for this, because I'm cutting my shift very fine indeed."

"As do we." said Hiroki "Saki-chan and I had a date tonight."

"Quit complaining!" Ryo said as she stole the ball from Koichi "She took my boyfriend aside for who-knows-what reason." in irritation, Ryo shot the kick right past Hiroki, surprising him

"Yo-yo-nee nice gal!" said Yusha

"'Yo-yo'?" Saki inquired with a grin

"He's 3½." Ryo replied

"I asked Soji-kun to come as well, but he's busy." Ushio told Kakeru and Nana

"Mito-chan was too, so don't feel bad." Nana replied

"I don't believe you've met my mother, Himeko Nogizaka."

"A pleasure to meet you both." said Himeko

"The pleasure is ours." said Kakeru, shaking Himeko's hand

"She's so young." Mai said to Ushio and Sanae

"Despite appearances, she's 65." said Sanae

"And I'm still one hot chick." said Himeko

"In your dreams." said Ushio

"Keiko's not here yet?" said Saito

"I'm right here, Saito." said Keiko as she came around the corner with Soichi

"Who's that?" Saito asked

"Ryo's boyfriend. I was just having a few words with him." Keiko replied

"Is he really a boy?" Nana and Ushio asked, taking notice of Soichi's feminine face

"Trust us, he is." said Michiru

"I hope you're being good to our youngest daughter." said Kakeru.

"Other way around, dad." said Keiko. Kakeru and Nana looked at Ryo imploringly "They will explain later. Right now, why we called you here takes priority."

"Well, spit it out, because I'm going to be late." said Yuki

Saito and Keiko stood side-by-side and faced everyone.

"We know this is sudden." said Keiko

"In the face of everything we've got going on this year, this is a bit forward," said Saito "But... we still need to ask."

"Don't keep us in suspense!" said Ryo, who now had Soichi next to her.

Saito got down on all fours while Keiko bowed as low as she could "Please, let us marry!" they exclaimed, surprising everyone

"Mom, did you know about this?" Ushio asked

"And what if I did?" Himeko replied "It was my restaurant he proposed to her in. I'm the one who gave them the chance to make up in the first place."

Kakeru and Nana looked behind them and saw that their kids and Yuki had their hands clasped in prayers, muttering "Say yes, say yes," under their breath.

"Kakeru?" Nana said

"It's about time if you ask me." Kakeru replied, turning back to the couple "Pick your heads up." Keiko and Saito did as asked "I'll say it one more time, if you ever make Keiko-"

"I swear, I will never make her sad again!" Saito interrupted, getting to his feet "I'll make her happy, even at the cost of my own! Ow!" Keiko hit Saito over the head

"Watch what you say, will you!" said Keiko "Why should only I be happy? What about you?"

"Sumimasen, it was a slip of the tongue!"

"I don't think we really need to worry." said Ushio

"Agreed." said Nana "It's not our place to interfere in the first place." Mai nodded in approval

"Alright then..." Kakeru turned back to Saito "Welcome to the family, Son-in-law!"

Everyone cheered in celebration! Yuki, Ryo, Saki and Michiru ran to Keiko and hugged her, Michiru calling Keiko "Keiko-nee-chan". Hiroki, now taller than Saito, punched the latter's shoulder and welcomed him to the family as well. Soichi seemed to be keeping a distance, unsure if he was welcome or not.

The adults soon turned to discussions about the wedding, to which Keiko and Saito informed them that they weren't getting married until after the Olympics this year.

"We'll get married this year, but not until the Olympics are over." said Keiko

"Agreed." said Nana "Keiko, Ryo and I have enough on our plate with preparing for Casablanca."

"September it is then!" Himeko exclaimed

"What?" everyone inquired

"I'll take care of everything. Just give me any plans you come up with in your spare time."

"Has your grandmother always been like this?" Keiko asked Saito, to which Saito shrugged

Since most had someplace to be, the party broke up, deciding to leave the wedding planning for another day.

"I can't believe my grandmother is going to foot the bill for our wedding." said Saito when they returned to their apartment "But what's with having it in September?"

"She probably wants to get to it once the Olympics are off my shoulders." said Keiko as they sat down on the bed "It's going to be a hassle to get it put together anyway. I need to choose a wedding dress too. And we need to decide where we're going to have it."

"I was thinking of having it at Enoshima High." said Saito

"What?"

"That school is a place of memories for us. I would be thrilled if we could become husband and wife there as well."

"I'll think about it." said Keiko as she kissed Saito. Keiko also began massaging Saito's crotch over his jeans

"Keiko?"

"I can't be patient anymore." Keiko and Saito stripped naked and began arousing each other in various ways. When they finally joined together, Keiko took top. "Ow, ow, ow!"

"Are you okay? Was it too early?" Saito asked

"I'm okay, I'm fine. It's... it's just been so long. It feels like it's my first time again. I'm okay, please move now."

"But...."

"Saito, how long are you going to make me wait!?" Saito began moving his hips while Keiko rode him. "I nearly forgot how you felt inside me. I can't get enough!"

"Keiko... I'm going to..."

"No... not yet!"

Keiko and Saito slowed down, paused, and changed positions frequently to keep themselves from climaxing. Finally, after a half-hour, neither of them could hold it anymore and climaxed.

"Sorry I was so demanding." Keiko apologized as they finished cleaning up "It's just been so long."

"Don't worry about it." said Saito as he pulled the sheets over their nude bodies "It was worth it."

The next day, Thursday April 10th;

"So, you two are getting married?" Chiho asked as Keiko, Suzuka, Noriko and Rikka joined her at the outdoor basketball court during free time at Nittaidai

"Uh-huh. Not 'till September though." Keiko replied as Chiho made a three-pointer shot "Our families said 'yes' yesterday."

"Why are you waiting five months?" Suzuka inquired "If it were me, I'd have the ceremony ASAP!"

"Getting married, in general, takes time. Plus, Ryo, Mom and I have the Olympics to prepare and train for. There's no point changing my surname beforehand either."

"Speaking of the Olympics..." said Chiho

"Chiho-senpai's going for the women's basketball tournament!" Rikka exclaimed

"Bingo!" Chiho replied as she took another three-pointer with ease "Come over here, Keiko. It's a lot more fun to play this when there's more than one person."

Keiko did as asked, albeit reluctantly "C'mon, Chiho." Keiko said as she prepared to shoot over Chiho's head "I'm a soccer player. What do I know about basketball?" Keiko attempted to shoot, but the ball just dropped right down in front of her, which Chiho caught after the first bounce

"You suck."

"Like I said: What do I know about basketball?"

"Aizawa," said Noriko "I've noticed before, but your throw-ins suck. You've got no upper-body strength."

"What can I do about it? Aside for the goalkeeper, soccer players don't play with their arms." Keiko retorted

"Looks like I'm going to have to call in my cousin to teach her a lesson." Chiho thought

"Enough of that," said Suzuka as she finished replying to a text "Eiko and I are organizing a mixer with some Geidai students to celebrate your engagement."

"Do Saito and I have a choice?" Keiko asked, and Suzuka shook her head "Suzuka, half the university celebrated yesterday. My engagement isn't such a big deal that you have to get half the country involved!"

Yet, even with Keiko's protests, the mixer went on that evening. Half the team and Chiho met up with a few of Saito's club-mates, all of them boys, at a Yokohama nightclub they'd reserved.

"Clubbing isn't what I had in mind!" said Keiko, sitting in a corner seat with Saito was next to her. Saito didn't look happy with this either

"You gotta learn to go places like this and let lose!" said Saito's upperclassman

"But before we get this party started, how 'bout a marriage kiss from our two stars!"  said Eiko. Unwilling to kiss with everyone watching, Keiko and Saito simply drank from the same glass. "You two are no fun."

"Well, excuuuuuze us!" Keiko and Saito said in sync

Chiho tapped Saito's shoulder "Shirayuki-kun, your uncle runs a sports equipment firm, right?"

"That's right. Keiko did some modeling for an affiliated sports magazine in the past, and it was through that that she now models for the agency she works for." Saito replied

"It pays for me to attend college, so Soji-san doesn't have to pay for me anymore." said Keiko "You, on the other had, still need to rely on your uncle."

"If only that weren't true."

"Anyway, I'd like to talk with your uncle about something, so can I have his number?" Chiho asked

"Sure."

"Wouldn't Koishikawa-senpai be angry that you came to a mixer?" Noriko asked Suzuka as their friends started dancing

"I already told Yamato about it beforehand, and the nature of it." Suzuka replied "I have no intention of getting related with any of these guys. By the way, Keiko, Yamato sends his congratulations."

"Tell him I'll kill him if he doesn't make the Men's Olympic Squad." Keiko replied

"When's the wedding?" asked an underclassman of Saito's

"We haven't decided yet, but it will be sometime in September." Saito replied

"Good luck with it." said Rikka "I look forward to seeing your first kid too."

"Don't get ahead of yourself!" Keiko snapped

"Enough with all this gobbledegook then..." said Suzuka as she stood up with her drink in one hand "A toast then, to Keiko Aizawa and Saito Shirayuki! May they live happily 'til death do they part!"

"Kanpai!" everyone cheered raising their glasses, Keiko and Saito joining in reluctantly, but happily

Meanwhile at the Aizawa home, Kakeru was in the living room watching some old home movies.

"What'cha watchin'?" Ryo asked as she sat down in the living room with Kakeru, an Iyokan in her hand and Shiro at her bare heels

"Just some old home movies." Kakeru replied. "This scene here is from Keiko when she was three months old." The scene showed Kakeru was showing off soccer tricks for Keiko and Nana, then messed up, dropping the ball. The ball rolled to Keiko, who, in blind enthusiasm, kicked it right into Kakeru's chest

"Kei-nee actually did that, at three months old?"

"She did." Kakeru confirmed as the scene changed to Keiko's 1st birthday "So nostalgic."

"Alright, Daddy, I'll bite." said Ryo as she peeled her Iyokan "What's got you watching memories all of a sudden?"

"Your sister's engagement." Kakeru replied simply "I knew this was coming for four years, but now that it's happened... along with the fact that this house is getting empty...."

"So it's just you, me, Mom and Koichi, and now Kei-nee's getting married, you feel like an Empty Nester. I will be moving out myself at some point, I don't know about Koichi. You and Mom were going to end up Empty Nesters at some point. But I'm guessing that Kei-nee and Saito-nii's engagement had finally made it seem real."

"You could say that. By the way, you haven't properly introduced me to that girlish-boyfriend of yours."

"You saw him yesterday, though I admit there wasn't a proper introduction. At any rate, he's not ready to face you." Shiro meowed in apparent approval "Even Shiro agrees."

"At any rate, knowing Keiko's going to get married makes me feel a bit lonely. You can't get married."

"Then I'll just have to wait until I'm old enough to get hitched without your approval." said Ryo causing them both to laugh "And anyway, we all know you're not done being a father quite yet. Koichi still has some growing up to do, and Yusha's life is only just beginning."

"True, true. I still wanna get to know your man... Soichi-kun, isn't it?"

"Soichi Awashima. For our next date, I'll bring him over for dinner. I guess you should get to know another potential son-in-law."

"I'm glad you found someone you love."

"Thanks. And it's because I now know the feeling that I can give my blessings to Kei-nee and Saito-nii." The screen then showed the Aizawa family and Yuki at a Christmas festival 2022. Nana was visibly pregnant with Koichi "I guess we really did grow up too fast." both Ryo and Kakeru laughed again

With support and blessings from everyone around them, Keiko and Saito looked forward to the day when they would become husband and wife. But before then, they still had the Olympics.

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