Chapter Twenty: Lotus Pillow:
The disorder of my hair
Is due to my lonely sleepless pillow.
My hollow eyes and gaunt cheeks
Are your fault.
--â€œXLIVâ€ from The Love Poems of Marichiko by Kenneth Rexroth 1978
Rain poured on in the night. Anna and Tsuzuki lied awake in bed together.
â€œHey Asato-kun,â€ Anna whispered as she looked up at her boyfriend.
â€œHm?â€ he asked.
â€œDo you think Iâ€™m flawed? Tell me honestly.â€
â€œYes, just like me, but, thatâ€™s what makes you more attractive.â€
She gave him a puzzled look. â€œDo you really think so?â€
â€œYes,â€ He looked over at her as she took that thought to heart.
â€œWeâ€™ve had so much rain over these past few days,â€ he spoke out of the blue.
â€œYeah,â€ she replied.
â€œKind of wish it would stop.â€
She shook her head against his chest. â€œI donâ€™t know. It seems nice; gives us the excuse to be together like this.â€
He smiled and nodded at that thought. â€œThatâ€™s true.â€ She kissed him on the lips and he kissed back. She snuggled up close to him under the sheets.
â€œItâ€™s been five days since this relationship started,â€ she pointed out. He glanced down at with an eyebrow raised.
â€œYouâ€™ve been counting?â€ he asked.
â€œI have to, remember?â€ she pointed out.
â€œNoâ€¦ Oh yeah, thatâ€¦â€
He held her hand tightly under the sheets. â€œWant to talk about something else?â€
She gripped his hand as well, â€œYeah.â€
â€œSaw your pictures again. Some of them have you with short hair. What happened there and when was that?â€
She tried not to laugh at that question, â€œAh, poor judgment at seventeen years old. Got a haircut that summer in San Diego; big mistake! I hated it. I just didnâ€™t look right with short hair.â€ She shook her head for a moment. â€œI vowed never to cut my hair again.â€
â€œAwww, but it looked so cute short.â€
She smirked at him when he said that, â€œYouâ€™re lying.â€
â€œNo, Iâ€™m not.â€
â€œYou really mean it?â€
He gave her a huge grin, â€œYes.â€
â€œOh, wowâ€¦ Thatâ€™s justâ€¦â€
â€œI still have that picture you gave me.â€
Her eyes widened with such surprise, â€œYou do?â€
He nodded at her. â€œYep, itâ€™s in my coat.â€ He licked along her neck, â€œYou look just as great as you did in high school.â€
â€œOoo,â€ she cooed as she trembled, â€œGot a taste for jailbait?â€
â€œNo!â€ he blurted out. She laughed at his tone.
â€œDirty old man!â€ she said.
â€œI am not!â€ he yelped. She only laughed at him. His cheeks flushed a desperate red.
â€œIâ€™m not!â€ he cried again. She laughed until breathless before leaning forward and kissing him on the tip of his nose.
â€œI love you, though,â€ she murmured as she stroked lightly on his chest. He kissed her wrist with a tiny kiss. His earlier, idea popped up in his head.
â€œHey Anna-chan,â€ he spoke up.
â€œI noticed that you donâ€™t have any new pictures of your life now.â€
She lowered her eyelids, â€œIâ€™m working on it; donâ€™t worry.â€
â€œWell, I was thinkingâ€¦â€ He paused for a moment before speaking. His hand tightened around hers, â€œCould we get some pictures together, just you and I?â€ She smiled with her eyes closed.
â€œSure,â€ she said. He smiled as he shut his eyes as well.
â€œWe are damaged.â€
â€œBut, I love you.â€
â€œI love you too.â€
The rain just carried them off to sleep for the night.