The Tanabata Summer Festival was held on a large grassland by the riverbank. As the night breeze blew, the shops and lantern lights formed shadows out of the bamboos, tanzaku and passers-by.
Amongst them, there were two passing past the stalls was a bellflower colored yukata with a silvery-white ponytail, along with someone with black hair watching the yukata from behind. Perhaps these two people knew each other?
“Why are we moving together?”
Another duo was at a riverbank slope away from the crowds. Arnett said, wondering about this situation while picking up a little octopus from her takoyaki, a famous delicacy of this festival.
“Why exactly? I don’t know either.”
Kiriya answered as he munched on crunchy rich yakisoba, another staple of of the festival.
Kiriya was Shinn’s older cousin by four years, and recognized the face of Arnett, who was Shinn’s childhood friend. Their houses were somewhat nearby, and they so happened to encounter each other on the way to the festival. For some reason, they ended up walking together.
Arnett was wearing a cool, light blue yukata with red goldfish patterns, while Kiriya was wearing an old-fashioned dark blue yukata that was a little worn out. They were not lovers or anything, but their clothing complimented each other so well it was not funny. When they first spotted each other, she reacted in an unexpectedly cute, awkward manner, and tapped the back of her purse lightly.
Before their eyes were the back silhouettes of the bellflower colored yukata and the black yukata, appearing to be enjoying themselves as they kept walking.
The food stalls were becoming less popular, and people were off to try games like goldfish scoop. Eating the Blue Hawaii ice changed the colors of Shinn’s tongue, who stuck it out woards Lena, leaving her surprised. Lena then challenged the doll fishing game, and reeled in an unexpectedly large one, but as it would be unsightly of her to carry such a large one, Shinn ended up carrying it. For some reason, he was holding a cute white pig doll in a uniform.
Even from afar, it was obvious. The passers-by looked over at them, smiling, as they saw the sweet and sour-like flirting of the couple doing so for the first time. As neither of them were accustomed to this, it was gaudy and tedious on their part.
Tailing them through the ridiculous crowd, she heard a cute shriek there. What are you doing? Arnett wondered.
Do they know that when people come to such places, the first thing to do is to escort each other by holding hands? Guess they’re lacking in that experience, so Kiriya thought.
There was no one around acting like an aunt, however.
“Ramune. Want some?”
Right when Arnett was finished with the takoyaki, she was handed a uniquely shaped bottle, and received with thanks. She tilted it, and the distinct clear taste of the carbonated water slid down her throat. There was a glass marble inside the bottle, making sounds.
It seemed that was something to be taken out. The backs of the young childhood friend boy and his partner did not seem like they would grow.
“Fuu. Thank you for this. This really is a festival after allー”
“Normally, I’ll prefer something like beer at this moment. But I’m hanging out with a lady now.”
It seemed he would never drink whenever women were around.
Also, he did not like sweet things anymore. Arnett looked up briefly towards the sidelong face that was frowning subtly.
Shinn and Kiriya were cousins, and really resembled each other. The latter was older, and had different eye colors, but beyond that, there were no visible differences.
Four years later,
Will Shinn too became such a dignified man?
Arnett could not imagine that. They had been acquaintances since a young age, and she could not imagine Shinn becoming such a person.
They did not bicker, and they were still friends, somewhat. They had been together for the entire time, but she did not know what to do about him.
Suddenly, light footsteps hurried over. A girl with long black hair was dressed in a firework patterned yukata, coupled with a heko obi tied in a butterfly knot. It was Kiriya’s little sister, Frederica.
“What is it, Princess?”
Kiriya answered, and stood up. Arnett looked over, looking really confused.
“Eh, aren’t you guys siblings? Why are you calling each other that?”
“I don’t know. It’s like the name stuck. If I don’t call her that, she’ll be really angry.”
Aren’t you pampering her too much…? While Arnett was having such thought, the oblivious siscon of a brother lifted the little sister who came running over.
“Kiriya. I want some apple candy.”
“I’m not eating that. Peach candy.”
“Enough already. Hurry up.”
“Yes yes……here, Arnett.”
Saying that, Kiriya naturally reached his hand out to Arnett. They were not lovers. It was simply a gesture of him taking care of a sister.
Four years later, Shinn would most likely have that face, the face of an adult male.
“You’re eating too, right?”
Thus, Arnett stood up without holding that hand. Yes, we are not lovers. Just a childhood friend, and me.
Then, she found the silver haired and black haired duo before her at the apply candy store. For some reason, Frederica was looking really anxious.
“But first, I want some chocolate banana. I’ll treat you to that, Kiriya.”
Ehhh!? Frederica was dumbfounded, and Kiriya realized what was going on. In response, his lips curled into a smile.
“Alright Princess. Shall I go along with you?”
Ehhー! Both of them ignored Frederica’s protests.