I. I Really Miss You
I called you today just to hear you say
You were not around
When the message was through, though I wanted to
I couldn't make a sound
- I Really Miss You, S Club 7
Kenshin hung up the telephone as soon as her message filtered through the speaker. How many times does this one make? Five? Six? He replaced the telephone back on its cradle and stared at it. It has been almost a month since he last spoke to her much less seen her. What would I say anyway? Kenshin thought to himself. I’m sorry it didn’t work out. He stood away from the telephone and walked towards his bedroom. Re-emerging a few minutes later, showered and dressed, he grabbed the telephone again and furiously dialed her number.
She stared at the answering machine as the light blinked twice, tempting her to press the button to put her out of her misery. She had missed the call when it came in as she almost willed the machine to turn on. She watched it blink two more times before letting out a frustrated growl and walking straight towards it. Her index finger gingerly pushed the “listen” button and waited for the tape to rewind. The short whirring noise of the tape ended abruptly and was followed by a click of the answering machine coming to life.
You have reached 714.691.3926. Please leave me a message after the tone.
She heard a pause on the other end of the line before the caller hung up the telephone. The caller ID machine did not display the telephone number because it was a restricted number that only led to more questions in her head. Did he try to call her? If he did, why didn’t he leave a message? Kaoru shrugged it off as she went into the next room and gathered her finished work. Resolving not to think about him for the rest of the day, she straightened her uniform and walked out of her apartment.
II. So Beautiful
I was listening to this conversation
Noticing my daydream stimulated me more
You're so beautiful but oh so boring
I'm wondering what am I doing here
If anyone out there really cares
- So Beautiful, Simply Red
He tipped his water glass and peered at the bottom. Empty, he thought. Snatches of his table’s conversation filtered to his brain and he inwardly snorted in disgust. My glass is empty just like the people I’m having lunch with. His conscience chastised him for his ill thoughts and felt a slight tinge of remorse. Alas, it only lasted for a second. The obnoxious sound of a woman’s laugh, a horrible monstrous sound, came from his table.
Quickly scanning his companions, his eyes settled on someone’s form and the reality became more horrific. She was beautiful, by any male standard, but that seemed to be the end of her virtues as the words that poured from her mouth only affirmed her ignorance. The rest of the males in the table seemed to be hypnotized by her dark hair and porcelain white skin as she grinned at an inappropriate comment. He didn’t smile at her response, falling short of wit, as the rest of the male crowd seemed hypnotized by her charms. His mind rebelled at the thought of staying through the next course of their meal. Her laugh had been unnatural and coupled with the complete lack of sense. He resolved to escape this obligation as soon as it was socially acceptable.
Kaoru stared across the table as he left his seat. She had expected the tears to fall but somehow it didn’t. Her heart felt lighter, freer and she amazed at the lack of emotion on her part. Oh, she always knew that it would not last. She was surprised it lasted this long – six months – and the end has finally come at last. She thought to herself as she still held the ring he had first given her, a promise for the future. Or so he said when he whispered to her words of undying devotion. Words that somehow betrayed the true nature of that elusive emotion called love.
The afternoon light glinted off the ring and she carefully set it on the table. Evidence of their repast had been cleared and she was left with a cup of coffee. No hard feelings, he said as he got up from the table to plant a kiss on her forehead. No, none at all was her response. How could she when she doesn’t even feel the loss? Could she be in denial? Or maybe she never cared enough for their relationship?
Yeah I know who you remind me of
A girl I think I used to know
And she used to fall down a lot
That girl was always falling
Again and again
And I used to sometimes try to catch her
But never even caught her name
- Catch, The Cure
Kaoru’s gaze was broken when a shadow passed over the light, disturbing the gleaming reflections of the ring. Looking up, she glimpse a trail of red passing in between the French doors that led to the gardens. The sunshine seemed so inviting so Kaoru quickly made up her mind to see the roses in bloom at this time of the year. Pushing her chair back, she hastily made her way towards the doors.
A faint but distinct buzzing was coming swiftly and he swung his head towards the sound, sharp eyes picking up the small insect. He stepped to avoid it and collided with something soft before hearing a crash and a muffled “oof” coming from the nearby bush. Cursing his luck, he instinctively knew he had bumped into a woman and judging from the way his luck had been going, it would be the same woman from his table. Still, his inner conscience could not allow him to walk away. “I’m sorry,” he mumbled as he extended a hand towards the fallen body.
Reaching out, she accepted his help and got back on her feet. Her small hand still in his firm grip and their eyes locked gazes for what seemed like an eternity. He vaguely heard himself offer the apology and her lips formed into a small smile. Slowly, she pulled her hand away and proceeded to straighten herself up. “You have some leaves,” Kenshin whispered as he moved closer to her again “in your hair.”
He touched her hair and picked the leaves out carefully, his fingers lightly brushing the back of her neck. “I’m sorry,” he said again.
He was standing too close, Kaoru thought as she stepped away from him. “It’s okay,” she replied, her voice sounded softer than the rose’s petals and she nodded firmly. She slipped her hands behind her back and suddenly, she felt shy in his presence. Feeling his gaze was still on her, she felt a blush creeping on her cheeks and she wrestled to keep her control. “I wasn’t looking where I was going,” she admitted as Kenshin took another step, closing the distance between them.
And from that moment on, time seemed to stop.