“I guess you look acceptable…” Mizuki eyed Anna from head to toe from the second she came into view. She wore a black sleeveless dress, complimenting her long legs and her collarbone. Over it she had a thin shawl. She had a light touch of grey and dark blue make-upt which highlighted her eyes. Also, since she wasn’t a fan of high heels, she chose a pair of long black boots with shorter heels. She didn’t look as fancy as Mizuki wanted but she was pretty.
“I wasn’t going to dress for a wedding. From your voice mails I realized you will do that but here you are, wearing pants, high heels and a sleeveless shirt.” The older woman scoffed and crossed her arms in front of her chest. Anna smirked and playfully pushed her friend.
“I got a call from Chris before you came. He said your partner had a few problems to take care of so they may be a little late” Anna rolled her eyes and scoffed. The motion didn’t go unnoticed by Mizuki who slapped her friend’s arm.
“Anyway, Takeshi called me yesterday. He wants us to hang out like old days”
“I know. I also know that won’t happen soon because of our schedules.” Mizuki nodded sadly. It was mostly her fault because she was the busy surgeon. It was hard enough to have that night off and she didn’t know when she will have another chance at freedom.
“Oh, I heard your book gets adapted into a movie. I also heard some hot actors will play in it.” She moved her eyebrows up and down, having what Anna would have called ‘starry eyes’. “Call me if you scratch your knee on the set.” She nudged the younger woman. Anna started to laugh. Why would she scratch her knee on the set? She was practically just watching everything roll and give adjustments when needed.
While starting to get caught into her own world, Mizuki caught sight of the two awaited men. She inspected them from afar. There was a guy who looked to be around her age with light brown hair, styled in a certain way, dressed quite fashionably and his friend who wasn’t dressed to impress but didn’t look bad either. He was taller than the first one and he seemed to be 100% Japanese. She figured that probably the fashionable one was her date while the one who didn’t seem to have put much effort into his looks was his friend.
“Anna” She whispered when she saw how close they were. Since the brunette didn’t respond, and was actually facing other way, Mizuki pinched her. When she turned, the Japanese woman pointed with her head towards the two males. For a moment Anna didn’t seem very interested but when the boys stopped in front of them, she felt how her breath had just been taken away. Her eyes widened a little and for a second she stared intently at him. Faster than she imagined, she turned her eyes away and tried to avoid looking at him.
On the other side, the taller man got equally surprised. His eyes didn’t widen but he gasped, even though it was unnoticeable. He couldn’t take his eyes off her. She looked different, grown up actually, but she had the same wandering green eyes, the same petite figure and the same superior demeanour around her.
“Sorry we were late. This guy here had to run off somewhere just a few hours before the date. He returned right on time, though.” Mizuki was already swiped off by her date. That man seemed perfect from every angle and he had a boyish smile planted on his face. “By the way,” His eyes traveled to Anna who was trying really hard to keep her eyes on the younger male. “I’m Chris, 25 years old bachelor” He bowed cutely and smiled towards the unknown person. “This is my friend, Nao.” He nudged his friend, even though the reaction was very small. “He’s a great photographer; even got awards for his projects!” The sentence was obviously addressed to Anna because he was going to be her date and had to look impressive.
“I’m Mizuki, awesome surgeon” She also bowed towards both guys, politely. “This is Anna. She’s also a great writer.” Anna smiled nervously to Chris but as fast as it came, it disappeared.
The way to the restaurant was horrible and awkward for both subjects. When he wasn’t stealing glances at her, she would. When Mizuki or Chris would try getting them to talk about random subjects, they would respond fast and with limited words. Chris was mostly talking with Mizuki and was walking besides her, so Anna and Nao were the ones left behind, walking in synch. They didn’t utter a word the whole time and even after arriving at the restaurant, they would be silent. Even though she tried not to care, Nao’s stares were very strong. He would watch her do anything, even ignoring him. For him, seeing her again meant more than she would have thought.
“So, Anna” Chris saw how awkward his friend was acting and he was surprised he didn’t take the initiative yet, like he would had on other dates. He was silent and would watch the petite woman intently. He had never seen Nao like that so he wanted to know what was so special about that mere writer. “I heard from Mizuki that you actually finished business and management. How come you ended up as a writer?” Anna’s eyes didn’t move nor sparkle. She didn’t care at that moment about Mizuki or Mizuki’s date. The only important thought she had was how cruel life just became for her.
“I made a deal with my parents when I was young. As long as I will give a shot they will support me through a business career. However,” Her eyes slowly travelled to Nao, who surprisingly had his head bent down, his eyes set on his uninteresting and empty plate. “Throughout years I realized I lost my will to inherit the family business so I gave up.” Chris nodded, analyzing in his head the new acquired information.
“And what about your relationship now? I mean, with your parents.” Anna chuckled and started to play with the fork, making circles on the napkin.
“I gave up on the life of young and rich. I took it from the bottom, like everyone else. The only income was working part time, back then. Now, I am a full time writer and my life stabilized.” She didn’t take her eyes from the napkin. It wasn’t a sad story; it wasn’t like she didn’t know what she was getting into. She didn’t want that rich bachelor’s pity. She was a grown up adult who had every right to do anything she wanted as long as it was for her own good.
However, even if in her point of view, she was pretty accomplished with the path she chose, Nao wasn’t. He lived that kind of life before, where he would walk aimlessly, looking for a job or for a reason to keep going. He knew she was rich from her attitude but it seemed as if she kept that superiority even after 4 years. Truthfully, he blamed himself. They met when she wasn’t sure what she should do in life and he just nudged her towards a choice that practically ruined her.
“But it’s fine. The first year was difficult, I won’t lie,” She chuckled while remembering how many silly mistakes she used to make. However, that wasn't the climax of her feelings. “I was all alone…” She mumbled, trying to sound as soft as possible so no one would be able to hear.
“What about Nao-kun?” Mizuki was trying her best to keep the conversation going or at least make the two talk with each other. It wasn't going very well. Nao was either shy or not interested whatsoever in Anna. She came to the assumption that maybe they were completely different and didn't like each other at all. With all these thoughts running through her head, in the moment Nao started to talk Mizuki could swear she wanted to slap both subjects hard.
“I started as a freelancer but now I have stable connections. As a photographer I'm always on the run.” He smiled, annoyingly cutely, at Mizuki and continued. “I met a lot of different people and I can’t say I am able to stay somewhere more than a few weeks.”
“ I've seen that…” Anna’s mumble didn't go unnoticed by Nao. His attention was concentrated on her the whole time. He didn't care what Mizuki thought about him as long as afterwards, he could talk with Anna.
“Nao is-how can I explain it- very difficult.” Chris continued, using his hands to describe his friend. He was very suggestive. “He tried to have relationships before, or at least I tried to get him to, but he’s always completely parallel.” The defendant chuckled softly, trying to make it all go away by shaking his head. It didn't work. Chris started to establish Nao’s past relationships which were a nightmare for him but Anna found it quite funny. She would laugh and would actually show more than one facial expression.
“At least you’re enjoying yourself…” This time, he mumbled, while shifting in his seat. He didn't seem to care if she heard, moreover, the complaint was towards her and it didn't go unnoticed. She laughed it off as if nothing happened, but for the first time that night, her eyes sparkled.