Kazusa Normal Ending – II

Haruki learns from his superior, Hamada, that Kazusa and her mother have “just returned from a mother-daughter hot spring trip.” No cell phones, no regard for whatever stir they might cause.
However, it turns out there’s an even more serious problem to contend with.

Hamada
“Kazusa Touma fell down a flight of stairs at her destination and was injured. There are lacerations on her right hand, and a sprain in her left, and it’s going to be two weeks before they fully heal.”

So, that’s the story they’ve settled on.

Hamada
“Her sponsors are horrified. She runs off to mess around on her own, then she gets injured… There’s not really any way to defend that.”

When Haruki finally managed to get in touch with Youko the night before, all she did was tell him to leave the whole matter to her before hanging up. No explanation.
He wonders exactly how deep her grasp of him and Kazusa is. Youko Touma, enigmatic mother and promoter.
Hamada, meanwhile, is concerned about what this means for Kazusa’s upcoming performance.

Hamada
“The ratings for last week’s performance were already iffy… This sure isn’t going to help.”

Haruki
“…Sorry.”

Hamada
“What are you apologizing for? It’s not like it’s your fault she got hurt.”

It was my fault.

He can think of a jillion things he could have done—stick with her. Tear himself from his work. Manage to maintain his sense of himself around her. Not betray her.
Hamada tells him not to blame himself—Kazusa is who she is—but Haruki knows that isn’t the real problem.
Nevertheless, even this mess hasn’t ruined the whole project.

Hamada
“For now, it’s been agreed that our exclusive coverage of Kazusa Touma will last until the end of her supplementary performance.”

That performance was going to be at the end of this month.

And, as it turns out, Youko Touma has requested that Haruki be in charge of the rest of the project.

For one more month, I was going to be able to be with Kazusa under official authorization.

Until the end of winter…

Haruki knows that Youko most likely wants him to play manager with Kazusa. But as for what Kazusa wants…
He agrees to Hamada’s request to return to his normal work while also carrying on with the rest of this project. The increased workload in the midst of all this confusion is a lot, but this is too important—both for him, and for Kazusa—to drop.

……

Setsuna
“Haruki-kuuun! Over here!”

In spite of the crowds of people coming and going in front of the station, that high, clear voice reached my ears easily.

Most likely, what kept the voice from being drowned out by the surrounding hustle and bustle wasn’t its volume, or the way it was thrown, but the fact that it was filled with emotion.

Setsuna
“You’ve had another busy week, huh!”

Haruki
“…Sorry to keep you.”

Setsuna
“Oh, no worries at all! I never get bored when I’m waiting.”

Yes, there were feelings buried within it.

Setsuna, who spotted me and flailed her arm to get my attention. Setsuna, looking straight at me as I approached.

…Setsuna, giving me that faithful smile.

Setsuna
“Hey, is it all right if we do some shopping?”

Haruki is somewhat distracted as he answers.

Setsuna
“The supermarket closest to my house will be closing soon… Can we do it here, and then head back? It might be a little heavy to carry, but…”

They reunited in Osaka a week ago, but this is the first time in a month that the two of them are carrying out their “once-a-week” rule in Tokyo. Haruki knows he should be more excited about it, but…

Haruki
“Um, listen… Why don’t we go out to eat somewhere, tonight?”

He gives the first excuse he can come up with: he skipped lunch, and he’s starving.

Setsuna
“I’ve been getting myself excited all day because I thought I’d get to show off again, after this long…”

Yes, of course he’s looking forward to it, too, but…

Setsuna
“I’ll be quick about it, okay? So, let’s get the shopping done, and hurry back.”

Back to his apartment, where they’re supposed to spend the weekend.
But it’s not so simple now, because right next door…

Haruki
“It’s my treat, okay? …Why don’t we have a bit to drink? One of my seniors told me about a place right around here where they have some really nice wine.”

Setsuna
“No, you can’t treat me! We have to start saving up, you know? I mean…”

This insistence from Setsuna was an act that made perfect sense for us, that wasn’t out of place in the slightest.

After all…

With those words of admonition, as Setsuna’s face blushed slightly, the sparkle on her left ring finger felt just the tiniest bit more luxurious.

Setsuna
“…Or, do you not want to? Are you having second thoughts?”

Haruki
“Huh? Oh, no, of course not.”

As I stumbled to find an answer for a brief moment, Setsuna looked sadly at me.

Or maybe that’s just how he’s seeing it, overthinking it. So he follows up. Reassures her. He’s just happy to see her back the way she used to be, her old domestic self. Not because he feels obligated or responsible, but simply because he wants to.
Setsuna becomes slightly indignant at the suggestion that she’s fundamentally domestic, but the mood has lightened as he urges her to the supermarket.

I truly love her.

Stingy Setsuna, homemaker Setsuna, domestic Setsuna.

Family-oriented Setsuna, who can give me such a feeling of relief… I cherish her, with all of my heart.

Which was exactly why spending calm hours with her like this was so…

First, however, he says he has to call his boss.
He places a call to “Sumio Sakamoto” and leaves a message: Kimura-san, from Yoshihama Engineering, has requested a four o’clock meeting on Monday.
He tells Setsuna he’s in the mood for Italian that night.

……

Kazusa finishes listening to the message Haruki left. The number “4”: that means Setsuna will be coming over.

……

Setsuna
“Phew… Finally finished with all the washing-up…”

Haruki
“Nicely done.”

Setsuna
“Yep, I’m worn out… Whew.”

After slouching in from the kitchen, Setsuna sat down—not across from me, but next to me—and slowly leaned over against me.

Having taken off her suit, changed into something comfortable… She was the usual sleepover-mode Setsuna.

Setsuna
“I know you were working hard all week, too, Haruki-kun. With everything that’s been going on… it must have been tough.”

He says it wasn’t. It absolutely was.
So many things, so many impossible things, things so difficult that he can’t say a word of it to her now.

Setsuna
“You don’t have to hold back, you know? Anything that’s piled up in your heart or your body… You can just spit it out. …I’ll catch all of it, you know?”

Haruki
“Setsuna…”

Setsuna leaned herself right up against me as she spoke.

This is a sign, an unmistakable sign.

After this, I wrapped my arms gently but firmly around Setsuna’s shoulders, and she looked up at me, spellbound, and shut her eyes…

It’s already plain that his guess was right: she wants him, and she’s making a move.

Setsuna’s warmth seeped into me. Her smell, the smell I loved so much, tickled my nose.

At a time like this, I should have been calm, even as I felt a certain excitement… But, now, it frightened me enormously.

He’s afraid: afraid that his feelings might spill out, afraid that they might find their way to Setsuna.

Setsuna
“Haruki-ku…mm!”

But this changes nothing. He just flickers away from one mistake, back to a different mistake.

Haruki
“Setsu…na… Hah, ah…”

At this point, I would probably pull up Setsuna’s shirt and caress her lightly, while continuing to kiss her.

Our lips still connected, I would take her in my arms, carry her to the bed, and lay her down on her back.

I would take her clothes off, she would take mine off, and gently, fervently, we would make love…

When we were done, we would bask in the afterglow for a moment, then take a bath together.

Setsuna
“Ah, mm… hm, mph… Hah… ah… mm…!”

But, now…

All of that, which once I could have carried out properly, filled with love, had now transformed into a deeply sinful act…

Setsuna
“Haruki-kun… C’mon…”

Haruki
“Mm… Setsuna…!”

…Our lips still connected, I took her in my arms, carried her to the bed, and lay her down on her back.

Because the one person who could rebuke him for this sinful act, who could be hurt by it, is not around.
That message Haruki left earlier ensured it. It’s all part of their code: the number “4” means “vacate the apartment for the night.”
Setsuna can be as loud as she wants, and no one will hear, least of all Kazusa.
She knows exactly what’s going to happen, and she has accepted it. Haruki recalls the very conversation in which she told him as much.
He and Setsuna have made up, which means they need to spend time together. Talk to each other, and spend weekends with each other, and make love. It’s the natural thing, the right thing—not like what Haruki and Kazusa are doing.
And here he is now.

So… I buried myself deep within Setsuna.

Setsuna
“Yah… hah… ah—ahh—! S-Sorry… I’m being loud again…!”

But that isn’t going to be a problem, is it? That’s the point.
At Setsuna’s cue, Haruki begins to move.

Setsuna
“Ahhhh…! Hah, ah, ah, nh, nnh… Mmmm…! Ah, hnn… hah…”

He depends on Setsuna to distract him from his own sins. With Setsuna in his arms, Setsuna is the only one he thinks about, the only one he loves. Nothing difficult about that. Until last year, it was the most obvious thing in the world.

……

In the midst of Setsuna’s cries of ecstasy, Kazusa’s sobs begin to intersperse themselves (Note: Unbeknownst to Haruki, Kazusa lives in the room next door)

Setsuna
“N-no… No, don’t… D-don’t stop… doing that… It felt… really good—aaaah! Ah!”

It does not abate.

Kazusa
“Haruki…! A-ah… Ahhh… Hic, hgh… nnnnh…!”

Even as Haruki and Setsuna climax, it continues. Gasping, sobbing. Hyperventilating.
Finally, after it’s all over, Kazusa begs for forgiveness.

……

Haruki is startled out of a state of distraction by Setsuna’s younger brother, Takahiro. It’s Saturday.

Setsuna was always slow to rise on weekends, so the two of us spent the morning lolling around together, then went shopping in the afternoon as a date.

Then, that night, I took Setsuna home, which turned into having dinner with the Ogiso family.

After a month, we had finally returned to the way of life that had repeated weekly until last year.

Setsuna’s mother
“You haven’t eaten much. Are you not feeling well? Setsuna, go and grab it, will you?”

As Setsuna chides her mother for saying “it” instead of “the thermometer,” Haruki insists that he is fine.

Takahiro
“…What, did sis keep you up all night?”

Haruki nearly chokes on his food, while Setsuna’s family members are briefly embroiled in a dispute over appropriate conversations topics and Takahiro’s maturity level. Finally, Haruki manages to clarify that he was just lost in thought.

Now and then, this family would talk completely frankly and openly about something, whatever that “something” might be, leaving me entirely at a loss as to what to say.

Takahiro asks what he was thinking about, exactly—the future? And it quickly becomes apparent that the entire Ogiso family has a question to ask him, except they’re all being so awkward about it, and poor Setsuna is the most uncomfortable of them all, and Haruki’s own attempt to figure out where things are headed by throwing a look her way falls completely flat.
Finally, Takahiro comes out with it.

Takahiro
“Um, so, Kitahara-san… Did you… propose to sis?”

Setsuna is silent.

On top of the table… Setsuna quickly hid her left hand with her right.

…Hid her ring finger, with that new ring glittering radiantly on it.

Apparently she refused to give a clear answer herself, and her father has been in a dour mood all week.

Come to think of it… This was my first time visiting the Ogiso family since I gave her the ring.

Setsuna’s mother scolds Takahiro for “troubling” Haruki in the middle of dinner, but the fact that Haruki came here in the first place means that he wanted to talk about it, right?

I knew their family ties weren’t so weak that they wouldn’t notice a change in her ring finger after seeing her every day.

The conversation devolves into awkward chaos, jumping around all over the place without landing anywhere direct—the quality of the ring (compared with the “cheap toy” from before, also from Haruki), Setsuna saying it doesn’t mean anything will be happening “immediately” (catching Haruki off-guard, and now everyone knows for a fact that it’s about marriage), Setsuna’s father insisting it’s not a “sure thing” in the first place and they should stop talking about it while her mother accuses him of just not wanting to acknowledge it, and everyone getting completely carried away except for Haruki himself, who sits in silence because he knows they’re all carried away and he couldn’t hope to grasp or stop the course of the whole thing, even with Setsuna scolding them all for talking about it in front of Haruki.
In silence he sits, with a smile plastered on. It’s all he can do.

……

Later on, Setsuna apologizes to Haruki for her family being so hasty.
Haruki knows that that isn’t really where the fault lies. If it were just a matter of being hasty, there wouldn’t really be a problem. None of what they said was wrong.
The problem is that Haruki himself didn’t say anything. But Setsuna apologizes over and over, as though she were the one who messed up, all to keep any responsibility or burden from falling onto Haruki. She came so close to saying what she really wanted from him, and then she just passed it off as a slip of the tongue.
They make plans to meet next week.

……

The Ogiso family dinner was more lively than usual this time (except for one member, who left the table midway). Her mother was already wondering about which relatives would be able to make it, countering the younger contingent, who wanted to keep it to a “small ring.” Takahiro took control of the room after Setsuna left, countering the female contingent, who wanted to “leave it at that.” Her father wasn’t of a mind to participate in that conversation, but muttered to Haruki as he left that they would need to meet his mother at least once.
You would never see a discussion like that in the Kitahara family. It ought to make him feel a little bewildered, and a little envious. He ought to want to join a warm, big-hearted family like that. Right?
But he has his own circle, only as big as two people holding hands
Haruki places a call, and leaves a one-word message: “Zero.” “I’ll be home soon.”

……

Kazusa actually meets him before he gets back to his apartment, saying she’s been away all weekend.
He’s well aware that it’s his fault for chasing her out, when she had nowhere to go, because he was bringing Setsuna in. She insists it’s not his fault.
With a smile and a trembling voice and blurry eyes, she insists it’s not his fault. He wishes she wouldn’t. You can’t blame that much on the cold weather.
Haruki tells her he doesn’t have to go to work the next day, and she crows that she gets to have him all to herself for Sunday, and takes his hand.
Her hand is warm, and… bandaged. Why hasn’t it completely healed yet?
She teases him for bringing that up before anything else.
But it was supposed to be healed after two weeks. That was the diagnosis. It’s not supposed to take longer than that.
Kazusa is confused for a second before she remembers the “official story” concerning her injury.

Kazusa
“If that’s what we’re saying, then we can use it as an excuse the next time I screw up, right? Depending on the circumstances, I might even cancel my additional performance…”

She’s joking, right?
That’s Kazusa’s whole deal: she may be the epitome of laziness in her private life, but piano is the one area where she refuses to compromise.

Kazusa
“But… I’ve already done what I came to Japan to do.”

Haruki
“You still have your additional performance. There are still thousands of people looking forward to hearing you play.”

Kazusa
“You seriously think my reason for coming back to Japan was for some concert?”

Haruki
“What other reason would there be? …And don’t even think about deriding yourself again with some nonsense.”

Haruki
“I love your piano-playing, and I believe that everyone else will fall in love with it just by hearing it once. That’s how amazing it is.”

She’s not going to let all of them down, is she?

Kazusa
“But you ran away, Haruki. You said you loved my piano-playing, but you ran away from it…”

Haruki stumbles. He stammers an apology, tries to explain: back then, he didn’t know what to do with her so close by. He was afraid that if he didn’t create some distance, things would get out of hand.
Granted, they got out of hand anyway…

Kazusa
“I know, I knooow! I’m kidding, I’m joking. Don’t get all serious on me.”

Just as the conversation starts to head in an undesirable direction, Kazusa yanks it back on track.
She was joking, she says. Of course she’ll play the concert. She’ll put everything she has into it. Even if she gets torn apart in reviews.
That last part wasn’t serious, either. She teases him for not being good with jokes.
But both their voices are shaking by now. Their bodies are together, their hearts are together, but they’re shaking, with lies and stubbornness and sadness.
If Haruki could ever stop being serious, things wouldn’t have played out this way. But none of it is a joke. He can’t treat Kazusa as a joke.
It’s not a joke, she says. Just a mistake.
That’s even worse, but Kazusa doesn’t mind. She just wants this winter. He assures her that it’s hers, that he is hers.
Their hands, their hearts, their bodies, are connected. So how can these words, spilling out of such intimacy, hurt so terribly?

Kazusa
“Until just now, you were spending your weekend the right way. You were Setsuna’s Haruki, and no one else’s.”

It hurts.

Kazusa
“…But, starting now, you’re spending your weekend the wrong way. You’re going to be my Haruki, and mine alone.”

Of course he is. There’s no other way he could be.

Kazusa
“Haruki… Haruki, Haruki, Haruki…! Hah, hahh, ah… ahh…”

The fingers of my left hand and Kazusa’s right hand entwined tightly. Before I realized it, our other hands had followed suit.

They begin to kiss.

We stopped and stood there, embracing. With all our strength, with all our feeling.

It was less than a five-minute walk from here to our apartment…

But we couldn’t wait those five minutes. As long as we were together, we couldn’t even consider not being in one another’s arms.

One month is all they have left.

Kazusa
“I’m gonna erase this… I’m gonna erase Setsuna’s smell. I’m gonna cover you with my smell, instead…!”

Just as snow melts in the spring, this fleeting relationship will vanish as soon as Kazusa’s performance is over.

……

They’re in each other’s arms all the way to the apartment building. Even in the elevator they can’t keep their hands off of each other.
The moment they arrive at Haruki’s apartment, she shoves him down onto the bed. She makes all the moves he normally makes—forcing her tongue into his mouth, groaning, swapping saliva. It’s clumsy at first, but as she keeps devouring him—fervently, lustfully—it gradually becomes smoother, and he becomes more aroused.
She always tries to take the initiative like this—pushing him down, stripping him, stealing his lips. It’s her desperate way of defending him, trying to show him that it isn’t his fault.

My sin. My proven misdeeds. My legitimate feelings of guilt.

As if to wash all of it away, she devotes herself entirely to making all the moves.
And so, as always, he is laid bare before she is.
In her actions, she tries so hard not to hurt him; but as she talks about how he was inside Setsuna last night, how she’ll bring him even greater pleasure than that tonight, her words drive thin needles into his heart—whether or not she realizes it.
Suddenly, she’s just as naked as he is, and she has enveloped it with her breasts.
He’s never done this before—he’s never had Setsuna do this before—and she knows it, and it brings her satisfaction, demanding that he uncover his eyes and watch her do this thing.
He forces himself to do it, and he can barely believe what he’s seeing.

Kazusa’s ample breasts, gleaming white in the darkness of night, changed their shape, clinging to me.

Crushed together by hands that were supposed to be injured and sprained, wrapped tightly around my entire length, moving back and forth in wide strokes.

Her nipples rub against his thighs as she does this, bringing yet another level of stimulation.
But that’s not all she has in mind.

She ran her tongue along the slit at the tip, dripping saliva, which mixed with my own fluid and melted down.

He can try to look away, but Kazusa is burned into the backs of his eyelids. He can try to cover his eyes, but he still sees her—more specifically, her breasts—through the gaps between his fingers.

Her nipples had become hardened points now, and, from time to time, when one of them dug into my skin, Kazusa’s face changed to one of ecstasy.

Kazusa takes it a step further, bringing her lips into the picture, beyond just her tongue.

Wrapping me up not only between her breasts, but with her mouth as well, Kazusa caressed me with her entire body.

The room is filled with sounds, wet sounds from every point where they connect. Rubbing together, slipping, swallowing. The fruits of this extraordinarily obscene act. Kazusa begins talking dirty, to fire him up more, though it’s clearly deliberate, artificial, mixed with some embarrassment, rather than anything that comes naturally to her.

Kazusa
“Do it… You wanna get it all over my mouth and breasts… right? You wanna see me… dripping with it…”

But, right now, that shortcoming doesn’t mean anything. The fact that she’s talking dirty at all, the fact that she’s doing everything she can to arouse him, is more than enough. He can think of nothing but dirtying her, covering her in himself.
She can tell he’s almost there. At the last moment, she crushes him down with everything she has wrapped around him.

In an instant, breaking through my sense of reason, my semen burst forth, landing thickly on Kazusa’s mouth, face, and breasts.

Even now, doused in an unspeakable mixture of hot fluids, Kazusa keeps herself wrapped around him, swallowing everything down.
He’s getting hard again.
She grins.

……

It isn’t just Kazusa’s breasts and mouth that are wet now.
She tells him not to move a muscle, and gets on top of him.

Kazusa’s labia settled against my tip, then softly engulfed me, making the same wet sound as before.

She insists she’s fine. She’s taken him in plenty of times. And she’s right—more times than Haruki can count.
And their connection is ten times stronger now than it was five years ago, through kissing, caressing, pressing their bodies together, sharing pleasure.
She settles the rest of the way down. She has opened by claiming the initiative, and they are stuck tightly together, physically as well as emotionally.
She tells him to love her, to make this mistake for her, to do things that can’t be undone. Just for now. Just for as long as this dream lasts.
She urges on his love for her, his feelings that he had kept locked away in the deepest, gloomiest part of himself.
After some fumbling around, he finally gets a solid hold of her breasts, still slippery, and he crushes them hard between his fingers.

Kazusa
“Ah… Ah… Ahhhh! Make it… hurt… Give me a scar…that’ll never… heal… ahhh!”

She leans into it, the pain of a few days before turning to ecstasy on her face.
Then, she pitches forward and begins kissing him fervently.
Kazusa loses herself in the joy of the kiss, the simple fact of being connected, exposing her own inexperience, just throwing her own emotions against him exactly as they are—
Much as she does when she’s at the piano.

The rapture in her face, the tears in her eyes.

The fantasy I had held in my dreams, since the day I met her—“If only she were this kind of girl”—had materialized before me, exactly as I pictured it.

Why now? In this unforgivable situation, when they can’t truly love each other, or trust each other? Why is this where their five-year-old fantasy finally pushes its way into reality?
Their clumsy kisses permeate their feelings that can never be satisfied.

Affection mounted to madness, and after we had made love, it became more and more difficult to separate our bodies.

She tells him to make her regret it.
To commit the ultimate crime of making her believe there could be a “next time”—tomorrow, the day after, the week after, the month after.
There’s no need to take it slow any more.

I thrust upward into Kazusa, desperately. I gripped her breasts, pushing them upward, crushing them. I dug my nails in, scratching her nipples as I moved them around.

Without waiting for Kazusa to make a move, I pushed her to her breaking point.

Each time he thrusts, her hair dances over him, mixed with sweat.

I pinched her nipples, pulling on them, then dug all of my fingers into her white breasts and shook them hard.

And yet, Kazusa’s face… didn’t look as though she were suffering at my hands at all.

Her eyes, gazing into mine, were full of feeling, as though all of the pain, the suffering, the bitterness, were being transformed into happiness.

She asks why he’s being so careful with her.

It wasn’t true. I wasn’t being careful with her. I didn’t have the composure to make love to her gently.

Really, Kazusa just misunderstood.

Kazusa
“Hah, ah, ah, ah… I… Hah, ahh… Haruki… I’m almost…!”

She just chose to believe I was being gentle with her, even when I wasn’t.

Haruki has long since reached his limit, but he waits, just to make sure she wants the same thing.
She does. And she wants it to happen inside of her, just as she always does.
He accepts this entreaty with great delight.

My straightforward feeling of affection for her, and my warped desire to keep her all for my own, both snapped at once, and poured into her.

All the way inside her, all the way into her, over and over. She takes all of it, then collapses on top of him, panting.

Kazusa
“Hold me… Tighter. Just like this, until morning… got it?”

Together, connected, they melt into the darkness.

……

An hour before dawn, Kazusa asks him what he’s thinking about. He’d thought she was asleep.
He tries to tell her he’s not thinking about anything, but she knows. She knows from having spent so much time watching him. He’s thinking about Setsuna, about how he betrayed her.
He told her he’s better at lying now, but she’s not buying it. At this rate, Setsuna’s going to figure it out.
How can it be, after five years, that he hasn’t perfected the art of lying yet? He can topple anyone with crafty wording and re-wording, but perfect deception eludes him.
So, Kazusa offers to teach him how. Five years ago she told a lie that wasn’t discovered until she revealed it herself.
What lie? To whom? For how long? When did she reveal it?
He’s sure that if he thinks hard enough he’ll come up with something, but he’s not sure he wants to. It could only add more sin on top of what’s already been done.
Stop worrying, she says. Stop thinking, or it will all get through to Setsuna, and she’ll figure everything out, the lies, the betrayal.
When he’s with Setsuna, he should forget about everything else and love her with his whole heart.
Her logic is full of holes, but she is all but begging him to believe in it.
She wants him to lie to her whenever they’re together. To tell her he loves her. His heart belongs to her. He still feels the way he used to. She promises to believe it. Being told these lies will make her ecstatically happy.

“Because the Haruki who loves Setsuna exists in reality. Because the Haruki who doesn’t love me exists from day to day.”

This tempting whisper, carrying so much feeling, sweetly bound me up.

Kazusa
“So, try, Haruki. I want you to lie to me.”

Kazusa
“Don’t think of the words you say to me, or the things you do to me, as the truth. Your only truth, this whole time, has been Setsuna.”

Kazusa says his only truth, this whole time, has been Setsuna.
She is clinging to him with all the strength she has.

Kazusa
“Once winter ends, once my concert ends, once you separate from me, you’ll go back to your day-to-day with Setsuna.”

Kazusa
“You’ll wake up from this pitch-black nightmare, and go back to your rose-colored reality…”

She tells him to try it. Lie to her.
From now on, anything he says is going to be purely from electrical signals running through his nerves. Nothing from his brain, or through his heart. No thinking, no worrying… no regretting.
He tells her he loves her.
Twice, three times, four times, more. He loves her. He’ll never let her go.
She tells him she believes him. Desperately, she believes him.
He feels her weight against him particularly strongly for some reason. It could be her own assertion, or it could be his embrace. It doesn’t matter. It’s only a reflex, anyway.


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