A Shared Umbrella
Chiba/Yuki short story (B's Log June 2014)
This is part of a series of short stories that have been printed in B's Log in 2014. Each includes an exclusive illustration, so I've included the image here, naturally. :)
This story is #1 of the "coupling short story" series from B's Log.
a shared umbrella
It was a sudden evening shower.
After practice, I looked outside and right then it began to rain. It immediately cooled the air that was stuffy with heat and humidity.
I wondered if Asahina was ok.
Today, he said he was going out on student council business.
Since it had been clear until just a while ago, he probably hadn't taken an umbrella.
I would go pick him up.
Asahina cried out in surprise as he got off the bus.
"What are you doing here?"
"I came to pick you up."
Since it was raining, I held out the umbrella.
"... Just one?"
Now that I thought about it, Asahina and myself needed two umbrellas....
But Asahina laughed, looking slightly embarrassed.
"Sharing an umbrella, is it?"
I hadn't meant for this to happen.
It's not like I had thought of that and only brought one on purpose.
With a nod, I opened the plastic umbrella and Asahina happily rushed over.
"Sorry to intrude."
"I can hold the umbrella."
"But Chiba-san, you're carrying bags."
"You don't have any?"
"I bought too much stuff so I asked them to deliver it all later."
Asahina told me about his student council work today.
I only half listened to him.
He was close.
I could feel Asahina's presence close to me, walking alongside.
Of course, I couldn't really move away.
If I did that, Asahina would get wet.
I could feel his body heat right at my shoulder.
His hair grazed my face.
I couldn't calm down.
"... I'm sorry."
"What is it?"
"No, I think I've been doing all the talking. This must be boring."
"That's not true."
"But, you've been thinking about something for a while, haven't you?"
"I'm sorry. Is it that you came to pick me up because you needed something with me?"
"I don't really need anything."
Saying it was frankly embarrassing.
But Asahina was slow.
Hiding something from Asahina had never gone well.
If I had made him worry unnecessarily, a little embarrassment couldn't be helped.
"I'm happy I can share an umbrella with you."
"I was just mulling that over."
Asahina's face grew red right before my eyes.
"How should I put it... Sometimes you say the most amazing things."
His face was as red as ever, but I didn't sense he was displeased.
It didn't seem like he took offense.
But, maybe because he was self-conscious about our shoulders touching, Asahina tried to move away, sliding a step to the left.
The edge of his shoulder was slightly outside the umbrella.
I leaned the umbrella to cover him.
At that, Asahina looked up.
He was close.
Asahina's face was barely ten centimeters away.
His eyes looked straight at me.
Above his bright red cheeks, his eyes clearly sparkled.
I was caught by a gaze I couldn't look away from.
I felt like the sound of the rain had gotten even louder.
Asahina's lips moved slightly.
I was tempted by them.
At the same time, Asahina's hand raised, and he pulled slightly at my necktie.
Which one of us went first?
Our pressed lips touched for a moment, then separated.
"... Shall we go back?"
With a small nod, he said "this time I'll take it," and forcibly snatched the umbrella.
The rain got even heavier.
Even though it was early summer, a chill stole in though my uniform.
But I wondered why.
The heat I had felt for a while in my body and my head wouldn't subside.
What I should do with my empty hand, now that he had taken the umbrella?
That was all I could think of.