Author’s Note: Overwhelmed with feels after reading the sub-story, ‘Tsumugu’s Temptation’…I felt the need to continue it a little. If I feel like I need more, I may even write a second part to this because FEELS.
“Hey…how’ve ya been?”
The voice over the phone made her breath hitch a little. She wasn’t expecting to hear from him. She’d taken up an overseas contract, partially to get more experience - but mostly to get away from the memories of ‘that event’, to sort through her feelings properly. To mourn the end of her engagement to Minato.
Tsumugu had said he’d give her as much time as she needed, and she appreciated it. He didn’t even argue when she told him she would be working in New York for a while.
She didn’t even tell Minato.
Things had been raw and awkward between them since things ended. After all, you can wish for someone’s happiness all you want…but if their happiness is no longer being at your side, it’s going to hurt. And she still felt awful at causing this situation. Seeing the pain flashing behind his eyes and knowing the deeper meaning to it, the abandonment he was feeling.
She just couldn’t take it anymore. Feeling like a coward, she had run away without so much as a goodbye to him. It’d been half a year since, and they’d had no contact at all.
“Tsumugu…” She whispered into the phone, an unbidden smile slowly creeping into her face. She had missed that voice, that kansai dialect he only used around her.
“Sorry, this a bad time to be callin’?” His voice was husky, as though he too was a bit overwhelmed at the sound of her voice.
“N-no, not at all! I just…I was surprised, and…” she blushed, trailing off. He gave a soft chuckle.
“In a tizzy hearin’ my voice for the first time in a while, are ya? I’m mighty flattered.”
“Like you aren’t the same way! Don’t act like this is a one-way thing here, you…” she retorted, feeling her heart kick into overdrive. She could just picture him, in his saggy old sweats, his hair all scruffy - glasses perched on his nose and a smirk on his face. She kind of wanted to hit him. Or kiss him. Both?
Both, she admitted.
“I know, I know. You ain’t gotta yell…what the heck d'ya think I’m callin’ ya for anyhow? I miss that goofy smile ‘o yours, 'n how you’d be laughin’ out loud to a private email, that stupid face you make when you’re focusin’ on your work…”
“Tsumugu…I’m sorry. I know you said you’d wait for me, but-”
“I ain’t planning on changing that.” he interrupted firmly, sensing what she was about to say. “I done ruined your relationship with Minato n’ alienated myself from Shusei once he found out. But I got no regrets. I love you, I’m stayin’ put on this…I know you got feelings for me too. You’re worth the wait.”
“Well, hell…” she began, her voice soon choked with emotion. She didn’t feel deserving of this love, this patience. She loved Tsumugu, that was one thing that had become crystal clear in their time apart. She still cared for Minato. But her feelings had changed to the point where she just couldn’t feel for him as she used to.
“I want to see you…” She mumbled, unintentionally speaking her true feelings.
“That wasn’t so hard, now was it? Silly lil’ girl, just be honest 'n I’ll come runnin’” Tsumugu chided her gently. “Y'know, I told a lil’ white lie. This call wasn’t just t'hear your voice. I got some time off next week 'n I kinda bought a plane ticket on a whim…”
Her chest squeezed painfully and she clutched at it with her free hand. She wanted to see him so badly, but she felt so awful about it, like she required permission to be happy again.
“Oi, quit feelin’ guilty already.” Tsumugu’s voice cut through her thoughts. “Minato’s okay, ya know. He’s actin’ normal, he swore he’d kill me if I made ya cry…but he wants the best for you. He’s a good man, let yourself be happy, huh?”
“How did you know?” she queried, biting her bottom lip to stop it trembling.
“Cuz I know you, 'n I know how much you like frettin’ over things. Now, I wanna come visit ya. This is your chance to stop me, otherwise I’m gettin’ on that plane tomorrow, y'hear me?”
She took a deep breath, held it - then slowly released it. Fighting against what she truly wanted was only causing her more pain. Perhaps it was time to stop running. She frowned in determination, and opened her mouth to speak;
My first summer back from college I drove home, dropped my stuff off, went straight to the stable for a ride. My family comes back from church and Beth grabs my things and starts unpacking my stuff upstairs. That’s sweet. Yeah, until this one here starts rifling through my backpack, she finds this little plastic container with these pink and green candies inside. She didn’t even know I was on the pill. She’s so freaked out by the idea of me and boys and sex, she runs outside and chucks em in the duck pond. And I ride up, there’s some screamin’, she’s cryin’ and Shaun runs outside, thinks one of us is drownin’, soon as he figures out what’s goin’ on, the jerk busts out laughin’ so loud. My horse rears up, gets mud all over the three of us. My dad comes out, “What the heck’s goin’ on out here?” And she turns around, bats her eyelids and says “We’re just swimmin’ daddy.” In her Sunday dress, all covered in snot and mud.