The pair rounded the corner of Masumi’s area and saw the similarly-proportioned duo of the elder Sanadas.
“That’s interesting.” Yui noted, as she and Masumi crossed the street to intercept their path. “Does your family normally attract tall women?”
“I dunno, look at how tall I am and tell me.” Masumi glanced up at her with a smile that grew slightly less solid the closer they got to his parents. It was just fifty feet, then forty feet, and then they’d been spotted and he could already see the arching eyebrows of his mother. “Hi!”
“Hello Masumi, and stranger.” Fujiko appraised Yui like a fine jewel.
“Good morning, Mr and Mrs Sanada.” Yui bowed deeply to the pair. “My name is Shiro Yui, and I go to school with Masumi.”
“Hello.” Hideki adjusted his glasses and glanced at Masumi.
“Um, yeah, this is Yui.” Masumi gestured to the girl.
“We know, she just said as much.” Fujiko pointed out.
“Right, uh, she’s my friend and I asked her if she wanted to come to Kyoto with me and we thought we could meet you here instead of going there, so she could see you, and that’s why we’re here now.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Shiro.” Fujiko said. “We’re on our way now, so I hope you haven’t walked too far.” She gestured forwards, and the younger pair slipped behind them as they resumed their walk.
“Not at all.” Yui said. “The overlook was far away, but I suppose these long legs are good for something. I was worried I might have to carry Masumi for the last block.”
“Fireman’s carry.” Hideki said. “Works every time.”
“He’s talking about himself1” Masumi said. “Being, um, being carried, not me being carried. I don’t, um, need that.”
“Are you calling your father unfit, Masumi? There’s no shame in having to be carried.” Fujiko said.
“I’ll gladly do it.” Yui offered. “Although I was wondering if bridal style might be better.”
“No.” Hideki shook his head. “Bad for your back.”
“Yui’s in the swimming club!” Masumi suddenly blurted, because the conversation was making him blush and Yui didn’t seem to want to steer away from that.
“My, that’s interesting.” Fujiko said. “Why swimming, Shiro?”
“I have the body for it.” Yui shrugged. “They were short on members, so I volunteered and they had enough. And the swimsuits are cute.”
“I guess those are as good reasons as any.” Fujiko nodded, as they crossed the street. “How do you do at school?”
“I do well, but I’m afraid I left my grading records at home.”
Fujiko paused for a moment, then laughed. “Indeed? Well, you’ll have to remember to bring those next time.”
“I’ve already made a note of it.” Yui concurred. “I feel so foolish.”
“Anyone could do it.” Hideki said.
Fujiko snapped her fingers “Do your parents know you’re going to Kyoto, Shiro? You’re welcome to come with us, but I don’t want to end up with a reputation for kidnapping.”
“I’m as free as a bird.” Yui replied. “And with about as much money. I’m afraid I’ll be window shopping for most of the trip.”
“Same.” Hideki nodded.
“Didn’t Masumi tell us that you work several part-time jobs?” Fujiko asked, with a glance back at Yui. “I hope you’re not one of those reckless spenders.”
“I’m not, but there are a lot of expenses at the dorm. I have to pay for my cleaning supplies, my meals, clothes, books, and all of those things. My allowance only goes so far, and I like to keep money stored in case of an emergency.”
“Smart.” Hideki commented.
Masumi, for the moment, was content to let his parents and Yui do the bulk of the talking. He was slightly worried that trying to contribute would alter things and pull attention back to him, while Yui seemed to be perfectly comfortable talking with them. The other problem was that he’d already had these conversations with Yui and was just hearing these things for the second time. It was almost therapeutic, to see how well she was doing.
“Hideki’s right, not a lot of kids your age know that.” Fujiko said. “You’re not from here, are you?”
“I’m from a couple of towns over.” Yui flashed a smile at Masumi, who gave her a nod and was thankful they weren’t sitting at a table where his parents could see all their little interactions. “When it was time to choose a senior high school, Retsuko Academy was the best option. I was worried about having to stay in the dorms at first, but they’re not bad. And it’s fun to spend time with the other students there.”
“It’s fortunate that they have them.” Fujiko tucked some hair behind her ear. “You won’t find that in the cities; there’s not enough space. Have you spent much time in cities before, Shiro?”
“Here and there, but not for particularly long. I’m looking forward to doing so more often, if Masumi’s willing.” Yui looked briefly at the boy, who simply nodded. “There are a lot of things to love out in the country, but journalism’s heart is in the cities where people meet, make deals, all of the things that I’m interested in.”
“We can show you a few places.” Fujiko offered. “We know the city like the back of our hands.”
“If you’re not busy.” Hideki added.
“What would she be busy with?” Fujiko turned to her husband.
“Oh, fine, we’ll be able to show you them on the map while we’re on the way.” Fujiko said. “Then you and Masumi can run off and look at them, if you want to.”
“I’d appreciate that very much, thank you.” Yui said. “Perhaps you can tell me about a few now?”
The rest of the trip to the train station was filled with details about Kyoto, most of it about business and socializing places that Yui wouldn’t even be allowed entry to for a few years, but Masumi was content to listen all the same. They were allowed a little more privacy on the train, at least, if they whispered in the corner. The parts of their journey not spent chatting consisted of looking out of the train’s windows, at the beautiful countryside rolling past them.
Their arrival in Kyoto resulted in a quick split, with Masumi’s parents going off to do their own thing while he led her through some of his favorite spots in Kyoto. They stuck close together through the bustling crowds, until they ended up in the place where the boy bought most of his clothes. He hesitated just outside, wondering whether it was truly the smartest idea to take Yui in, before deciding that nothing too bad could happen.
“Little Sanada!” Came the cry to the side of them. Yiu blinked as she looked, while Masumi rolled his head with a smile as he spotted the approaching Miss Takahashi. She looked as gorgeous as she ever did, like she stepped out of a painting every morning. “You’ve returned, and with a friend, no less!” She peered at the slightly taller Yui with both of her hands on her hips, then looked around her side and made a shrug. “She’s pretty enough, I suppose.”
Masumi cleared his throat as Yui looked the woman up and down. “Yui, this is Miss Takahashi. She, um, she’s the one who helps me pick clothes for...my girlfriend. Miss Takahashi, this is Yui. She’s, uh, a new friend I made.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Miss Takahashi.” Yui bowed briefly to the older woman. “It’s nice to meet the person who makes Masumi’s girlfriend so stylish.”
“Oh, the poor boy would be lost without me.” Miss Takahashi laughed. “But what’s this, you showing up with another girl, Sanada?” She pouted at the boy. “Don’t you think it’s cruel to lead me on for so long, and now you’re disposing of me for some younger girl?”
“I-I, I’m not replacing anyone!” Masumi said. “She wanted to get some clothes for herself and I said that you’re the best person to do it. I promise!”
“Hmm...” Miss Takahashi stepped a little closer to Yui, then whispered in a way that was clearly audible for anyone nearby. “Just so you know, Sanada is mine, okay? Don’t you go thinking about stealing him away from me, or I’m going to be very angry with you.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it.” Yui smirked at her. “And I don’t know if I could, if I wanted to. You’ve got such plump lips, and with hips like that…I think anyone would struggle to compete.”
Miss Takahashi blinked, then leaned back and nodded. “That’s right.” She smiled. “I’m the most gorgeous thing to walk into this store and don’t you forget it, young woman.”
“I won’t.” Yui nodded. “But, why don’t you pose like you just did, so I can be certain I won’t forget?”
Miss Takahashi looked between Masumi and Yui, though the boy was staring just as agog as her. She adjusted her blouse, turned her head to hide a growing blush, then started to walk. “Anyway! Let’s see what we can do for you! I think a new jacket would be perfect, so we can outline that lean frame of yours.”
“Wh-What was that?” Masumi whispered to Yui, as they both fell in line behind Miss Takahashi. He struggled to get her attention, as her eyes were on the curvaceous woman in front.
“It’s fun to tease you, but I don’t want somebody doing it when we’re spending time together.” Yui told him. “And the easiest way to stop somebody doing it, is to beat them at their own game.”
“O-Oh. So you’re, um, pretending to a pervert to make her stop?”
“That’s most of the reason, but she is gorgeous.” Yui flashed Masumi a smile.
Masumi furrowed his brow. “So, um. You’re really into girls that way?”
“I enjoy pretty things.” Yui shrugged her shoulders as they came upon the rows of jackets. “Whether it’s women or boys who dress up like them.” She reached up and tenderly brushed a strand of Masumi’s fluffy brown hair.
Masumi’s blush went supernova and he nodded.
“And we’ve arrived!” Miss Takahashi twirled around, some of her swagger restored, and gestured to the jackets. “We have everything you could possibly want, and a few things beyond, as I bet Sanada has told you. I’m thinking something flowing, elegant, to compliment your hair and swimmer’s build. An overcoat!” She grabbed one from a nearby shelf and held it out. “Just try it on and we’ll tell you how it fits.”
“There may be a problem here.” Yui said, as she took off her field jacket and handed it to Masumi. “I don’t have any money to buy anything.”
“I’ll buy it!” Masumi folded the jacket over his arm and watched as Yui pulled the coat on. It was long and gray, reaching down to her ankles with a large collar and dark buttons. It fit her like a glove.
“Thank you, Masumi.” Yui said, as she adjusted the coat a few times. “This is fancier than the things I normally wear, but it feels quite pleasant. How does it look?”
“Fabulous!” Miss Takahashi clapped her hands together. “You’ll be the envy of the school, if you show up wearing that!”
“Y-Yeah, I agree.” Masumi said, his smile wide and his eyes unable to find anywhere to rest on her elegant form. “It suits you so well!”
“I think I’ll take it, in that case.”
“Wonderful!” Miss Takahashi declared. “And while you’re being bankrolled by Sanada here, why don’t we choose a few more outfits? I know that he’s got the allowance for it.”
“No, I’m good, thank you.” Yui smiled at the enthusiastic saleswoman. “The jacket is far too large a gift already.”
“Girls these days.” Miss Takahashi sighed. “They don’t know a good opportunity when it strikes them in the face. Oh well! Let’s see if we can find something for your girlfriend, shall we, Sanada?”