Rei rested her head on the window as she stared outside watching cars drive by. It has been almost an hour since they left the airport and her legs were about to fall asleep sitting in the front passenger seat of the small green compact. The traffic was somewhat congested. She sighed, wondering how long it was going to take to get to their destination. She looked at the young man driving the car who was extremely concentrated at his task at hand. He mentioned his name was Kira and that he was the son of the land lady of the apartments she was going to stay at. She turned to look in the back seats which held said land lady. The woman was asleep, laying flat and encompassing the entire back seat, quietly snoring. She seemed comfortable Rei thought. She faced forward and turned her attention towards her almost asleep legs. She winced as her movement sent a stunning shock through her legs.
“It’s such a pain for your legs to fall asleep.” Rei said after she recovered from the stun. However, she was surprised that she spoke her thought out loud and turned to face Kira in the driver’s seat to see if he heard her. Sure enough staring at her was Kira but he immediately faced forward to look at the road. Rei blushed in embarrassment.
“It’s best to handle it head on.” Kira mentioned as he changed lanes. The car immediately jerked into the next lane. The high maneuverability of the small compact was expressed.
“Excuse me?” She responded in confusion.
“I said It’s best to handle it head on. Just start moving your legs around to ‘wake’ them up.” Kira chuckled. She winced at the thought of the shock that would cause. She tried it anyways and the immediate effect made her quit.
“Ah, i think I’ll just wait it out. Has not failed me yet to do so.”
The cabin of the car fell silent again. She sighed at such a short lame conversation. Just then moans started to be heard from behind her in the back seat. The sound of a scuffle then a loud yawn echoed through the cabin.
“Hm.. Kira-kun.. where are we?” The seemingly half awake land lady asked. “I thought we were going to pick up.. uhm.. what was her name again?”
“Minagato-san,” Kira answered. “And yes, we did pick her up but you were still asleep.”
“Oh?” The land lady responded in a lazy tone. She yawned once more and noticed a person sitting in the front passenger seat.
Rei turned around and her eyes met with the land lady’s. They stared at each other for a small bit. She began to wonder what was going to happen next. It was the first time she ever met her and started to contemplate how to greet her. Would a formal greeting be ok she thought. The land lady was the lady managing the apartment she would be living at so she would seemingly be a person to be respected. Or should a normal friendly greeting suffice given that it is always a good thing to befriend such a land lady. She was about to open her mouth to greet the land lady until the land lady herself smiled. Rei froze wondering what she did wrong. Why did she smile? What did i do to make her smile? She began to fidget a little in panic. The land lady seemed young. She had a pretty face and a nice figure emphasized by a yellow summer dress. Her arm moved forward and began to pat Rei on the head.
“Oh,” The land lady said smiling. “What a cute girl friend you managed to pick up Kira-kun.” She continued to pat Rei as if she was some sort of pet.
“Girl friend!” Rei blurted out in surprise. “Im.. im.. not his girl friend!”
“Mother,” Kira interrupted. “This is Rei Minagato. The new tenant we came to pick up. The person that’s going to be staying at our apartments. Though, who knows what kind of relationship we’ll have later on.” Kira laughed.
“Huh? What?” She started to turn back and forth between Kira and her new land lady. She wondered if Kira’s last statement was a joke or not. The land lady’s hand ceased patting Rei on the head.
“Oh my, who knew that the new tenant would be such a cute young lady.” The land lady said smiling. “By the way, I’ll be your manager. My name’s Kagura. Though you can call me Kari-chan, mkay?” Rei’s new land lady smiled. For the first time, Rei began to really wonder about her new life here in Japan.
She looked out the window at nothing in particular. The radio murmered softly in the background, blending with the hum of the tires on the road. The person in the back seat was quiet again, and the silence was a comfortable one. She gazed out the window at the sky that stretched out before them. For the first time on the trip she smiled. It was almost sunset, and the sky was every color imaginable. Minutes passed, and the dyin gorb sank slowly on the horizon. Time seemed to forget its place; her heart danced. Then the orb was gone, and the colors receeded, but the impression was still there. She sat quietly, listening to the hum of the tires on the street, the muffled buzz of the radio, and felt the car under her move quietly onward, set towards her new home.
Rei sighed, looking at the clock, she sat up and thought in suprise. Midnight?! “Umm how long have we been driving, exactly” she said trying not to sound alarmed.
“Hmm?” he said, distractedly, “Um.. about an hour”
“I was waiting at the station for that long?!” she felt a surge of anger come over her; exhaustion was eating away at her normal calm indifference. She was furious.
“OH!” he said, laughing. “That clock’s wrong haha actually off by a bit” “Off?” she repeated aloud aloud, suprising herself. “Yeah… its about 7 o clock here… but we still have about two and a half hours to go…” he said, then suddenly asked “you aren’t hungry are you?”.
For about two seconds, his eyes rested on hers. Rei shifted uncomfortably under those eyes. It felt like an eternity. His gaze returned to the road, and then she realized that she still hadn’t answered him. “Ummm…. no.. im good.” her cheeks felt hot as she stared out the window. She yawned as she watched the passing scenery dozing off some time later.
She sat up, something felt wrong, or different, but she couldn’t put her finger on what it was. She yawned, opening her eyes. Gah, she thought, gunk had built up in her eyes and they wouldn’t focus properly. She moved her hand to fix her glasses but ended up pressing upon her face. “Wait…” she said with a frown upon noticing the abcense of her glasses. Seriously this guy…. She didn’t have a chance to finnish the thought when she spotted them in the cup holder. She picked up her glasses and put them on, immediatly noticing something fuzzy over her legs. A blanket. She looked over to the driver’s seat and saw that there was no one there. A loud knock sounded from her door and made her jump. Looking over she saw Kira staring at her with a drink in one hand and a bag in the other.
She opened the door and he passed the bag to her. “No no its ok, im not really that hungry. I ate while i was on the plane so i’m still good.” she suddenly blurted shyly. There was a silence as she sat there in the front passanger seat with the door open and Kira standing above her with the food and drink. It seemed like ages as she nervously began to fidget from the awkwardness. Then suddenly, something happened that neither she nor Kira expected to break the silence was this obvious growl coming from her own stomach. She froze stiff. Her eyes widened facing forward. She was too afraid to turn respond to Kira’s gaze of bewilderment. She was about to explain but Kira again put his hand out with the bag of food and drink of which this time she obediently accepted with a thanks. Kira looked over her and into the back seat where his mother was sleeping lazily. He made a face that looked halfway amused, halfway annoyed, and also a bit tired. Then he looked back at Rei with an apologetic smile. “Well we weren’t gonna make a stop at a gas station this close to home but….” She looked at him, mildly curious, the explanation didn’t really mean anything to her. He continued. “There was debris in the road, the one of the front tires are busted but I think we can make it home with a bit more air. In the meantime I figured you might be hungry or thirsty. There’s nothing at the apartments for you to eat just yet.” He sighed. “And our fridge is empty… See if you like any of that in the bag. Whatever ya want’s yours.” Up until that point he was still leaned over, taking up all of the doorway. He stepped back and stood looking up at the sky for a minute, then scratching his head, he walked around the car, over to the air and water station. He filled up what she assumed was the busted tire, with air, got in the car and they went off. Five minutes later they pulled into a driveway.
Kira turned around in his seat, shoving his mother gently in the shoulder. “We’re home” He said as he continued to shake her gently. Kari-chan stirred making a deviant moan like a little kid would. As Kira tried to get his mother to rise, Rei opened the door, got out, and stretched. She yawned as she looked at the outside of the apartment. “So this is where i will be staying..,” She said as she yawned. “Looks a bit plain.” They were in the drive way which curved inwards to the left from the street beyond the front gate of the premises. Just off from the driveway and some feet away from the front gate was the entrance to the building. The complex had a sort of yard next to the building with a lone sizeable tree within it. The balconies on the second floor over looked the open space of the yard. She thought about how nice the view would be from her own room. Kari-chan stumbbled out of the small green compact and drowsily headed straight inside without even paying heed to Rei. Kira popped the trunk and moved towards the back of the car to remove Rei’s single light blue rolly luggage. Grabbing her back pack from her side of the car, she followed Kira into the building.
Upon entering the the building she noticed that Kira was beginning to swap out his outdoor footware for his indoor footware placing and removing the shoes and slippers from a left and right cubicles respectively at the front entrance. She knew it was customary to do so in Japan however, she had no indoor slippers to use. “Uhm..,” she began to say nervously. “I don’t have any slippers to wear.” “Oh, you can use the guest slippers there in that cubicle,” Kira pointed at a cubicle in the indoor slipper’s shelf. “Of course only until you get a pair of your own.” Kira put away some high heel shoes that were sloppily on the floor as she herself put on the guest slippers he mentioned. With the guest slippers on, Rei and Kira proceeded upstairs to her own room. she noticed before they reached the stairs a half opened door with a sign that said Manager. Kari-chan probably went straight to sleep she thought. Just beyond that down the hall was a couple more openings though it was too dark to make out what exactly those rooms were. Now on the second floor, she took note of the line of doors that had the labels 1, 2, 3, and 4. She also noted that there was a living space just beyond opposite of the stairs landing. There was a couch and a few lounge chairs along with a small tv against the wall.
“So, where will i be staying?” Rei asked while shifting the weight of her back pack some.
“You will be staying in room three. We cleaned it up a bit before you got here so im sure you’ll be satisfied with it. As for the remainder of your belongings, it won’t get here until tomorrow. Hope that is ok with you.” Kira finished as he lead the way to room 3. He opened the door and turned on the lights of the room to reveal a small corridor. They proceeded into the main part of the room passing an open door on the left that was the bath room. The room was pretty empty other than a small desk and a bed against the wall. The sliding glass door for entrance to the balconey was covered with blinds. Along the walls of the room were a few wooden closets. Plain Rei said to herself as she dropped her backpack and plopped into the bed face first and closed her eyes. “Guess your pretty tired.” Kira chuckled. Rei didn’t say anything. She let her mind and body relax as she drifted towards sleep. Kira walked towards the door to her room. Rei began to doze off but heard Kira say “Welcome to Marugoto House” before Kira walked out closing the roor behind him.