The Morning After

Notes and Disclaimers: The characters in this story belong to Konno Oyuki, Shuiesha and Geneon.

This story is a sequel to Roman Holiday and will make much more sense if you have read that. However that story is a "Black Lily" story and therefore is for adults only. Whereas this one is a "White Lily" story, which means that anyone, basically, can read it. It's unfair, but oh well.

Once again, my thanks goes out to the Fanfic Revolution, for their care and attention. And I once again hope that, if you enjoy my writing, you will purchase my novel, Shoujoai ni Bouken, and catapult me to fame and fortune. :-) Lastly, if you love the ladies of Lillian, please consider joining the endless conversations that occur about them on the Yuricon Mailing List.

In any case, if you enjoy this story, please let me know at worldshakingff@earthlink.net.


Morning After


The hotel door closed heavily behind her, but she did not turn around. She was far too busy staring at the woman in front of her in surprise.

"I, uh," she began, holding up a paper bag, small grease stains visible on one corner. "Breakfast."

Sei blushed, a process Kei found fascinating. First the tips of her ears went red, then the flush traveled down her neck and last moved upwards to color her cheeks. She'd never seen Sei blush before, she thought with surprise.

Her arm, still outstretched, was getting heavy. Kei wasn't really sure what to say to break the tension between them. And Sei, who was normally so indifferent, seemed remarkably fragile just then.

Kei did what any, every, civilized person in the world would do at that moment, in that situation. She ignored the 600-pound gorilla and took refuge in the trivial.

"Are you hungry?" She asked, waggling the paper bag gently. She thought about asking 'Did you eat already,' but decided against it.

"..." Sei was, Kei realized with a bit of a thrill, speechless. Well, she had made an opening; it was up to Sei to take it.

"I already used all the coffee stuff in the room." Sei forced out the words, her smile stiff and unnatural. "I'll...get more...and...." Sei bolted for the front desk.

Kei's eyebrows rose at her classmate's un-Sei-like behavior. This could be fun, she thought, as she followed.

"Satou-san?" She called after the other woman, who didn't turn. Kei moved up beside her at the desk, and came to a decision. It wasn't often, after all, that she would have this kind of a chance.

"I was just wondering..." Kei waggled the bag again, forcing Sei to look her way. "Maybe you've already eaten?" She was so pleased with herself, that she managed it with a straight face.

Sei's face couldn't have gotten any redder, but when the red hit her eyes, Kei momentarily panicked. Was she angry? Upset?

Sei's voice was calm, cool even, as she requested coffee and related items for their room. Kei watched her closely, wondering if she had pushed it too far.

The desk clerk asked them to wait, picked up the phone, spoke a few words into it, then put the phone down. "They'll be up in a few moments," was all she said, then turned back to whatever they had interrupted her in the middle of.

Sei did not move. Kei could see how tense the other woman was. Sei's face was carved stone now, pale, unmoving. There was no way to know what she was thinking.

With a sudden motion Sei turned to face Kei. "I like you," was all she said, then headed quickly for the elevator.

Taken by surprise, Kei had barely had time to comprehend the words before she was moving to follow Sei.

"What?" she called to Sei's back. "What did you say?"

Sei ignored her completely. By the time Kei caught up to her, the elevator had arrived and Sei was already inside. Kei leapt after her, just getting inside before the door closed.

They stood in awkward silence. Kei felt her heart beating more rapidly than the short distance she had run could account for. What was she expecting to happen? Did she really think Sei was going to push her against a wall and kiss her? Why was she imagining a scene like that in the first place?

Kei glanced over at the other woman, noticing with surprise that her ears were red again. Was she thinking the same thing, Kei wondered and her heat pounded a little harder for a beat or two.

The elevator stopped. The door opened.

Kei got out, turning to wait for Sei. The door was about to close again, when Kei put an arm out and held it. The elevator buzzed angrily. She stood there for about ten seconds, then grabbed Sei's sleeve and forced her out of the elevator, so it could close.

"What did you say?" Kei demanded. "I mean, I know what you said - why did you say it?"

Sei turned down the hall, the key to their room already extended. She opened the door and moved inside, leaving the door open.

Kei wanted to scream, but instead followed the other woman - again - closing the door behind her.

"Don't ignore me, dammit."

Sei was pulling clothes from the armoire, and laying them on her bed.

"I said," she responded without looking up," that I like you."

"Why?" Kei dropped the paper bag on the desk. "Why did you say that?"

Sei sighed. Her arms dropped to her side and she stood up, looking over at her classmate. "She told me to."

"She...you mean...?" Kei felt her face get warm.

"Shizuka told me to tell you that...that I like you. That...I'm interested in you Katou Kei-san." Sei's eyes were blazing as she spoke. It was hard to look at her, her face so perfect, like a statue of a goddess.

"..." Now it was Kei's turn to be speechless. How do you respond to something like that? It wasn't like it was a common occurrence that your classmate confessed to you, just after sleeping with another woman. Or, hell, maybe it was, and she just didn't know about it.

"You're my type. You're reliable, you're smart, you're attractive, you're...." Sei shut her mouth audibly and turned back to the clothes on the bed. She carefully folded a skirt and laid it next to a neatly folded blouse.

Momentarily distracted by Sei's steady motions, Kei found herself jealous of the skill with which Sei folded her clothes. It wasn't right that someone so haphazard in her life should be so fastidious about her clothes.

"I hate that word, reliable." Kei wasn't sure she had spoken out loud. Sei showed no sign of having heard her, certainly. She sat heavily on her bed, watching Sei continue packing.

"Why?"

"Why what?" The comment had seemed so random, and after such a long pause, Kei wasn't really sure what she was asking.

"Why do you hate the word reliable," Sei prodded, her eyes meeting Kei's briefly.

She wasn't sure. She just did. People had always called her that. From her earliest years in school, all the way to the nurses who tended her father in the hospital.

"Because it means that I'm the one who is left doing all the work, while everyone else gets to enjoy their life." Kei stood. She paced back and forth along the length of the bed as she spoke. "Reliable people aren’t exciting, they aren't fun to be around - they're just reliable." She stopped, putting a hand out, as if to grasp something. "Sometimes I just want to do things unreliably, on a whim." Her hand dropped, and she sat on the bed again.

Sei was quiet. She let the slacks she held in her hands slip to the bed. When she looked at Kei her face looked much more as it usually did. "You missed your cue there."

Kei didn't move. "This isn't a cheesy movie - I'm not going to leap up and kiss you, if that's what you mean."

"No, I guess not." Sei smiled in a way that made Kei relax just slightly. "You can't blame me for wishing that you did, though."

Kei found herself smiling back. "If this were a porn movie, I would have done more than just kiss you." She paused and held up a hand, "and yes, I can blame you for wishing that I did."

"I meant what I said, Kei-san." Sei's face was serious again, but there was no apparent conflict in her expression.

"I wish I knew how to answer you." Kei answered. "I think you're an interesting person. And I do want to know more about you. But I don't know if I'm 'interested in' you."

Sei took a deep breath. "That's okay. I just wanted to say it."

"You've probably said it to a dozen women, haven't you?" Kei laughed.

"Never before."

"Oh." Now Kei felt like an ass. "What about Shizuka-san?"

"Kei, have you ever been in love before?" Sei ignored the question. Kei shook her head. "I have. Once." Sei turned away, walked over to the window and stared out as she spoke. "I don't love Shizuka. Or, I should say that I love her, but I'm not in love with her, as clich├ęd as that is. I find her exceptionally charming. And we - we definitely have some chemistry. If I get a chance to see her again, I will."

Kei realized that that was all the answer she was going to get. "She seems very nice."

That made Sei smile for some reason. "I only ever find myself attracted to nice women. I wonder why?"

"Opposites attract?" Kei was glad to see Sei chuckle at that.

"Mmm. Guess so."

There was something she was trying to say, Kei thought. Something Sei was trying to say, without saying it. Kei thought over what she had said.

"Thank you." She blurted out suddenly, when she realized what it was.

Sei's eyes moved away from the window and Kei found herself confronting that sculpted face with the burning eyes once more. She shuddered, although whether with interest or fear...or awe, she wasn't sure. Kei watched in alarm as those burning eyes cooled. It was terrifying to think what might happen if she were to get caught in that gaze.

"You're welcome." Sei walked over to the coffee pot. "They never brought the stuff up." She sighed. "Oh well."

"Satou-san?" Kei came close. "How about we go get a cup of coffee? I'd like one last good cup before we leave."

Sei nodded happily. "That sounds great." Smiling, she took Kei's arm and tucked it in her own. "Come on Kei-san, let's go make one last beautiful memory before we leave."

Taking her arm out of Sei's Kei replied, "I'll settle for a cup of coffee, thanks."

At which Sei laughed, and opened the door to the hallway.

1 comment:

Burnouts3s3 said...

Very nice, Ms. Friedman.
I'm starting to understand why you're so incredulous of fanfiction with works like these. Like Marimite, it's a slow, calm yet powerful moment in storytelling.
(Now I just wish I knew who Kei is)

Very nice work. Keep it up.