Chapter 2: The Shinomiya Twins
“Are you trying to get me killed, Kanna? I don’t have a death wish; you know? Do you really want me to write my last will now and pick up my own headstone?”
He could clearly hear his younger brother’s loud voice as soon as he got out from his car. Shun was quite sure that Yuuji is arguing with Kanna again. It was really a wonder how they have been together for more than twelve years with all the arguments they have.
Adjusting the strap of his laptop bag on his shoulder, he walked on his way into their family mansion, wondering what would be the issue now between the two. It was Saturday, another family dinner was already scheduled in which Anna, his stepmother insisted his attendance. It’s already late afternoon but he decided to arrive earlier than the usual.
“No! You know that isn’t the issue here! Do you expect to abandon my niece and nephew alone in our apartment unsupervised? ” A woman’s voice echoing on the background.
Flipping some stray hair strands away from his face, he opened the door and walked towards the sitting room where all the noise was coming from. He saw then Yuuji lounging at one end of the couch, groaning as he smacked his right hand on his forehead. Kanna was standing in front of him, a hand rested on her hip while pointing out her reasons to her husband.
What was surprising that he had failed to notice earlier was a girl seated on one arm of the couch near Yuuji, tugging strands of hair on her little-fisted hands, her eyes seem closely inspecting the hair in front of her.
“Wrong shade of brown, ” she said without noticing the weird stares she was receiving from the people around her.
“Oww. What do you think you’re doing, squirt? Let go of my hair.” Yuuji swatted her hand from his tortured locks, receiving a deathly glare from the little girl.
“This squirt that you are calling has a name you know.” The little girl replied following with a ‘hmph’.
Shun seated himself at one of the available seats near the wide window, noticing that Ryu and his wife Aiko will also join the family dinner later. He also noticed a young boy who looks twelve years of age, leaning on the windowsill, playing with the portable PlayStation on his hand.
Eyes fixated on the screen of his console but seem to pay attention to what the adults talking around him. The boy was wearing a dark red jacket that wasn’t zipped in, a white shirt with a statement which he couldn’t read since the boy’s arm are obstructing his gaze. He also wore dark blue shorts that reached up to the top of his knees and a pair of white rubber shoes.
“Naru. Leave Yuuji-san alone. I think he already has enough of your mischief. ” The boy said lifting up his face from his game, taking a look at the young girl, beside Yuuji.
Shun noticed the wild dark locks on the boy’s head. It was longer than the usual length compared to other boys at his age, some locks covering his forehead and his almost cat-like eyes staring back at Yuuji.
“You’re the one to talk, mister! ” Yuuji exclaimed, pointing out a finger at the boy. The boy shrugged his shoulders and went back to play his game.
“I swear Ryu, these children are surely little devils on the disguise, ” he added, pointing out to the boy and the girl. Ryu who was playing to his little twin girls on the floor laughed at his friend’s complaints.
“Now, now, Yuuji. Don’t talk about your niece and nephew like that. I’m sure they’re not really bad. Maybe they are still adjusting to the changes around them.” Ryu replied.
“You are supposed to agree with me, Ryu! These brats make a fool out of me when they pretended they couldn’t speak Nihongo and let me struggle to talk to them in the English language the whole day!” Yuuji insisted, putting down the little girl from his side to stand near his wife.
“You only have to ask.” The boy commented still drawn to his game.
Kanna snorted at her husband. “Serves you right for skipping classes during our high-school days.”
“Why you?! I can’t believe that you made me babysit these kids the whole day! Now you want them to stay here with Mom and Dad? ”
“So loud, Yuuji. ” Shun finally said, making his presence known within the room.
The room instantly became silent. The girl walked towards him and stared up with doe-like eyes. It reminded him of Rui’s curious gaze when she’s wondering.
Her hair was also pitch black like the boy but looked slicker than the other one. Short bangs were parted into two, he noted that a part of her hair on the middle was brushed up on the top, a silver hair clip securing it, her long black hair put on twin pigtails on both sides of her head.
There was something about the girl that he couldn’t point out. With her height and facial features, he guessed that she’s around eight years of age. Probably the boy’s younger sister. One of his eyebrows lifted as the little girl touched his knees, eyes staring back on his onyx eyes.
“Can I touch your hair? Please?” the girl asked. The tone of her Japanese is a bit weird as if she’s not used to speaking the language.
He heard his brother coughing and looked at him. Yuuji seems uncomfortable on his seat, his hands are fidgeting, Kanna now seated beside him whispering something.
His attention went back to the girl and nodded. He’s not sure why did he agreed to her request but he guessed that was much better than hearing her throwing a tantrum just because he declined. Her eyes sparkled with delight as she instantly climbed up on his lap and seated herself, surprising Shun. Her little fingers combed his hair strands and inspected it like what she did with Yuuji’s hair.
“What’s your name? ” she asked.
“Shun. ” he nonchalantly replied, resting his chin on his left hand, crossed his legs and looked out the window where they can overlook Anna’s garden.
The girl nodded and hummed in approval, appreciating his response.
“Haru! Look! This hair is so shiny and beautiful.” Shun guessed that they haven’t seen the same kind of hair before. Many people are captivated by their hair that is quite prominent within their family. His deceased mother also had a light brown hair. Yuuji’s hair though is a bit darker compared to his and their father’s hair though.
The boy looked up to their direction and tilted his head a bit on the right side. Haru eyed the man sitting at the far end near the window, taking time to scrutinize the man with a cold gaze then shifted to his younger sister.
He walked towards them, putting his PSP in the inner pocket of his jacket. Now, Shun can read what was written on the boy’s white shirt. A statement said, ” I’m with a”, followed with the katakana for “Baka” (idiot) and an arrow beneath it pointing to his left. He smirked at the thought of having that shirt when he was younger. That will surely pissed off Yuuji. Not that he cared anyway.
“Naru. Come here.” Haru started. “It’s rude to get on someone’s lap without their permission.” he continued.
“But Haru… “The girl whined lowly and shook her head, her pigtails swishing in the air.
“No buts, Naru. Are you forgetting that I’m in charge? ” His cat-like eyes narrowed at his sister.
Naru mumbled something under her breath and slipped off from Shun’s lap.
“I apologize for my sister’s rude behavior,” Haru told Shun while ruffling his sister’s bangs which earned him a scowling face from her.
“Hn,” Shun replied then nodded to the young boy. He was about to ask Yuuji to explain why there is another set of children in their father’s home when he heard Anna and his father came into the room.
“I’m sorry for the delay. Shun, you’re early. ” an old man sitting on a wheelchair grinning at him. He looked a little bit better now than the last time he saw him. In spite of his condition, the old man still gives a positive aura around them.
“Oh, dear look. Are these the niece and nephew that you’re talking about, Kanna?” Anna who is the one at the back of his father, talk to his sister in law.
“Yes,” Kanna replied with a nervous and awkward laugh. “Haru, Naru,” she called. Both siblings came to her, Haru burying his hands in his side pockets, yawning as if he never wanted to be there while Naru looks bored.
“Listen. The two of you. Like I said before, you’re going to stay with my in-laws for a week since I can’t take you with me to Osaka.”
“I’m pretty sure you haven’t called Rui about this.” Haru groaned in annoyance. Looking at his aunt’s reaction, he’s sure he is right.
Shun felt a shiver run when he heard his beloved’s name. So the two of them are related to his Rui?
He decided to look at both children. Are they her children perhaps? Aside from the color of their hair, the doe eyes of the little girl, there isn’t any prominent feature of Rui to both of them. Relatives maybe, he concluded. The thought of his Rui having children from another man almost makes his eyes bleed red with rage.
“No, I haven’t but you have no choice. Aoi-niisan won’t arrive soon. Your Uncle Yuuji will be visiting Hokkaido for business purposes. I can’t leave the two of you unsupervised. Now, introduce yourself to your hosts for the following week.” Kanna said with finality. She knows that Haru will insist the two of them stay in their apartment but with Rui’s schedule and her schedule conflicting, she rather both of them stayed with the Takamiya.
Haru sighed and pulled his sister beside him to greet their host.
“Thank you for having us. I’m Shinomiya Haruki and this is my imouto, Shinomiya Narumi.” Haru introduced themselves to the elder Takamiya.
“My, my. There is no problem with you staying with us, my dear. It’s rather refreshing to have kids around this huge place.” Anna said smiling sweetly at Haru.
Yuuji snorted then scoffed saying something like “like hell being brought inside their house.” which earned a smack on his shoulder from his own wife.
Masaru eyed both children. They are both good looking. He supposed Haru is an introvert and doesn’t like social much.
The girl is a bit intriguing though. Her face is a bit familiar, especially those pigtails that she has. Her grin says a lot of mischief going on in her head. She’s wearing a blue-violet sundress and a pair of white sandals.
Unlike her brother that has onyx eyes, she has a dark hazel orb that looks innocent and inquisitive. He couldn’t help to give a look at his youngest son and daughter in law that were talking to Ryu and Aiko and looked uncomfortable around them. His eldest son doesn’t look like interested in what’s going on.
“My love, I’ll have to go back to the kitchen to prepare the dining room for dinner. Is that alright? ” He heard his wife asked and nodded.
“Take Kanna and Aiko with you, so they can help, ” he replied.
” Come now. Kanna, Aiko. Can you please help me with the dinner? ” she asked. Both women nodded with enthusiasm and stood up from their seat.
” So how’s living in the US?” Masaru asked the girl on his left, who was busy munching the dessert that Anna brought earlier.
“Nice,” Naru replied. “But we don’t have many friends there. It’s a good thing it’s already school break,” she added still busy devouring the large chocolate cake she has on her plate. Beside her was Shun silently listening to their discussions since he doesn’t have anything to share with.
“Are you going back soon?” Anna asked as she served the second dessert on the table.
Kanna answered instead if the kids. They haven’t any idea how long it will take.
“It depends. Aoi-niisan said that he’ll stay at Kyoto after the wedding. Rui told me that she received some invitations and request for second opinions from other doctors so they might stay three to six months depending on those engagements. ”
” Who’s Aoi? ” Anna inquired.
” Right, I forgot to say that he’s Rui’s onii-san.” Kanna smiled sheepishly.
Shun heard about Aoi before. When Rui occasionally brought him up on their conversations before. As far as he knows, Aoi is ten years older than his Rui.
Rui had pointed out that her birth was a big surprise to their family since her mother had a hard time to conceive a child. The age gap between the two siblings is huge because their parents have already given up trying when Aoi was younger. She also mentioned that Aoi was studying law in the US so she could introduce him to her brother.
“Oh, where is Rui, by the way? Is there a chance that she’ll pay a visit to this old man?” Masaru asked with a tease on his tone.
“She went to Kyoto to supervise the wedding preparations,” Haru replied taking a piece of carrot cake on his plate.
They all heard a gasped from Aiko who was feeding one of her twins with mashed potatoes.
“Is she getting married? ” Aiko blurted out.
Shun heard a sniffling beside him and saw Naru starting to cry. Great. He was not good at dealing with little girls crying. Hell, he doesn’t care if women cry, they are adult enough for themselves. Oh, but there’s always an exception. He had never liked seeing his Rui cries.
“Nooooooo! Rui won’t get married! Rui promised she will never get married. “Naru cried, tears overflowing on her eyes. Her cheeks reddening.
“Aoi-niisan is getting married to his childhood friend. Rui is in Kyoto to act in his stead.” Kanna cleared out the situation.
The look on her brother in law’s face is a bit scary especially when Aiko asked if Rui is getting married. She knows that Rui is still in his heart after all these years. Refusing to associate himself with other woman and rejecting every marriage meeting offered to him. Oh, and she also needs to pacify her niece before she can say something.
“Naru, cease your crying at once. Rui is not going to get married. ” Thankfully, her brother already beat her at that.
Naru sniffed and wiped away her tears, looking back at her older brother.” Okay. ” he replied.
“Why is it that Rui isn’t allowed to get married? ” Anna asked.
“Because Rui promised she won’t. She promised that she wouldn’t unless Haru and I told her so.” Naru insisted. Her cheeks puffing, explaining it like it was the most obvious thing to the world.
“What about Aoi-san? Is it okay with you that he’s marrying soon? ” Masaru asked Haru who looked annoyed where the conversation is going.
“It is fine. He will be happy. ” Haru replied.
“And Rui? What’s so different about her? If she’s going to be happy getting married, you won’t allow her? ”
Both Shinomiya siblings looked up to him, then looked at each other the idea finally sinking into their young minds.
Masaru also glanced at his eldest son. It seems the question is not only for the siblings to answer.
” We only have each other… ” Haru finally replied. It was almost a whisper but they heard nevertheless.
They continue to eat in silence finishing their meal. After the long silence, Masaru broke it when he spoke up with Yuuji.
” Yuuji, we’ll have to talk before you go to Hokkaido. Kanna-chan should join us too. ”
Sweats started to form in Yuuji’s forehead. He nodded at the response and looked at his wife talking to Haru.
Yuuji opened the door to his father’s office. His wife walking behind him. Looking up from his desk, Masaru noticed his son’s uneasiness and Kanna couldn’t look straight into his eyes.
“So Yuuji, are you going to come clean or what?” he started. Oh, dear god. He should have written his last will earlier, Yuuji thought.
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