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Reina had slipped out of her house fifteen minutes before the time they were to meet. She was hoping to encounter Daichi on the way. However, almost as soon as she snuck out and rounded the corner of the house, she saw Daichi emerge from the shadows on a blue bicycle. He placed a foot down on the ground to stop himself and remarked, “Seems like someone was rather eager to meet up.”

“Did you bring the sandcastle tools?” Reina asked.

Daichi responded by pointing to a big bucket full of the aforementioned tools. The bucket was tied to the front of his bicycle with some rope. “Have you told your parents that you were leaving?” Daichi inquired.

“No, but I doubt they would care.” Reina replied, hiding the fact that she was supposed to be grounded.

Daichi got off his bicycle and kicked the kickstand down. He said, heading to the Hondas' front door, “It is wise to inform your parents of your whereabouts.” He raised his hand to knock on the door, but Reina rushed to his side and grabbed his wrist, pushing it down.

She shook her head. “There is no need to tell them.” The muffled sounds of argument could be heard on the other side of the door. It sounded like her parents had taken their bickering to the living room this time. Daichi regarded the sounds, and he suddenly seemed hesitant. Reina tried pulling him away from the door, and at first Daichi wasn't willing to budge, but he finally did, and he took some stiff steps towards their bikes. They boarded their respective bikes, and biked off towards the beach. Reina could tell that Daichi was feeling guilty for leaving without informing her parents, but Reina knew it was for the best. Her mother wouldn't understand.


It was about eight minutes on bike from their location, and upon arrival they went off the road down a narrow asphalt path, which gave way to a dirt one, and then off into the grass. They kicked their kickstands down and headed for the gray sand. It was sunset, although the sun had almost dipped behind the horizon. Long days would not happen for a while, but the formerly short days were getting longer. The formerly orange light was almost purple, which meant that it would be nightfall in a few minutes.

The two black-haired teens moved close to the tide, and Daichi looked up and down the coast. He said, “I have always found a strange solace within wide open spaces. This is a very humble beach compared to the ones that can be found in Tokyo, but perhaps that is where this beach's beauty stems from.” He retrieved the sandcastle tools from his bike, and the two settled into a good area for sandcastle building. The final product was not ugly, nor was it attractive to look at. It was a modest sandcastle, which was impressive given their low skill levels in sandcastle building. When they had finished, Daichi took a picture of the end result and put his phone away.

The serene moment was ruined when someone's car pulled over near them, and a woman came out. She was purposefully making her way towards the two teenagers, and she appeared furious from a distance. Daichi and Reina watched her for a moment, and noticed that she had a stick handy. Reina recognized it as the stick that her mother used to discipline her, and she guessed that her mother was the one coming over to them. Daichi moved in between Reina and the woman, and they stood and watched as the woman advanced. When she was within identifying distance, the woman was confirmed to be none other than Mrs. Honda. Mrs. Honda said once she was within speaking distance, “Why are you out here? You should be at home!” Those words were directed towards Reina, and Daichi seemed to be having second thoughts about standing between Mrs. Honda and her daughter.

“I made arrangements with a boy I found interest in.” Reina simply replied, unfazed by the stick. Daichi seemed amazed at how calm she was.

“Without telling me?! What if he killed you?!” She readied the stick.

“I would think that I would have better judgment than that.” Came Reina's answer.

“But you are grounded! And you snuck out? How disgraceful!” Mrs. Honda snapped.

“Anything to avoid marrying Kosuke.” Reina responded, and this caused Daichi to give her an odd look.

“Really? All this just to avoid marrying a boy your father and myself have deemed as worthy?! The Kurosawas are our closest friends!” Mrs. Honda declared.

“I have already told you that I feel nothing for him. There is no chemistry there, and thus, no happiness.” Reina responded.

Mrs. Honda snapped her head to Daichi, who flinched and backed up. “Why are you still here?” She asked. Daichi got the message and he collected the sandcastle building tools and went to his bike. He looked scared, and was hurrying along. Mrs. Honda watched as Daichi left, and once she thought he was gone she turned back to Reina. Mrs. Honda said, having calmed down bit, “You will learn to love him.” And so, Reina's punishment began.

Submitted: October 17, 2020

© Copyright 2022 A. Rhetters. All rights reserved.


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