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Chapter 3: You're Beautiful
By: Brynn Parker
Author's Note (!PLEASE READ!): OK...things are always going to seem a little rushed because, really, I don't feel like writing all the in-between stuff. So I know I'm doing this...but I don't really want to fix it. And Kanami is going to seem OOC...but it's the way I think she would be, so...sorry...anyway, enjoy!
The next week went by as if Kazuma were in heaven...except for the disapproving old people at the farm, of course, but he could get past that. Being with Kanami was like having a ray of sunshine in his life. He'd been gone so long, without a purpose, moving from place to place without any chains to bind him; but these were good chains. He was finding that this older, more mature Kanami was the same girl except so much more.
He was also having a harder and harder time staying away from her. He knew that any other guy staying in a house alone with a beautiful girl would've taken advantage of the situation by now, but for some reason Kanami seemed untouchable, as if to get too close to her would ruin the angelic aura around her forever. Kazuma didn't want to do that to her...but at the same time, it was killing him not to make contact with her. Any chance he had he would touch her hand or arm when he was helping her lift something up at the farm, or brush up against her when he would pass by. Of course, every time he did that, the old people would all glare at him...but Kanami didn't seem to notice. And if she did, she never tried to stop him from doing it again.
In reality, Kanami lived for the moments when Kazuma touched her. She hoped that he didn't notice how she shivered at the contact, how it made her want to melt into a puddle and stay that way forever, how a blush always spread across her face at the thoughts that entered her head. She'd never felt this way for anyone before...now things were different...Kazuma wasn't like her older brother anymore; he was a potential lover. The feelings confused her, and sometimes she wanted them to go away, but most of the time she just wished that he would kiss her.
Dinner on the third night he was there was the same as ever: chatting about small matters around town and at the farm, the occasional mention of something from the years Kazuma had been gone...but Kazuma had to know something that had been eating at him since he'd arrived. "Kanami?"
"Yes?" she answered. She wondered what he wanted to talk about...things were getting back to normal, and he hadn't left for all of the three days he'd been here.
"Uh..." He was wondering if he should really ask...but he really wanted to know... "So...do you have any...uh...have you..." He cleared his throat again and Kanami raised her eyebrows. "Any guys in your life?"
She was taken aback. Why did he want to know? Could he...no... "It seems like no boys are interested in me." She looked down at her plate, blushing a little. "Why?"
Kazuma looked down at the table as well, hiding his face with his hair. "Uh...I...just wondering," he grunted. Damn it...what if she noticed? Does she know? "Why aren't they interested?" he blurted out. Great...just great...good move man...
"I don't know..." she muttered, "I guess I just..." She laughed nervously. "I feel really weird telling you this...but I'm starting to wonder if there's really anything that great about me..."
"No!" Kazuma said, his eyes wide. Well...you've gotta go through with it now... "You're..." He tried to ignore the thoughts going through his head that told him it was wrong; he was falling in love with a girl that had always been like his little sister. She trusted him to take care of her...and that's all he was: her caretaker. How could she ever feel the same way about him?
"I'm what?" she said, blushing.
"You're...you're beautiful, Kanami," he said awkwardly, "And I don't understand how any guy couldn't see you."
A long and awkward silence followed. Kanami looked down at her plate and fiddled with what was left of her dinner, and Kazuma shook his hair into his face and sat there, tapping his foot on the wood floor.
"Thank you," Kanami said quietly, breaking the silence and standing up. Kazuma stood up to see that she had a fierce blush on her face and that she was biting her lip shyly. He grinned.
"You want me to help you with the dishes?"
Kanami smiled up at him as she picked up her own plate. "OK."
"Why'd you say that?"
"What did I say?"
"Why'd you tell me I'm beautiful?"
"Because you are, and I thought you should know."
Kazuma glanced over at her from scrubbing one of the plates that had built up in the sink. She was just so beautiful...
Kanami looked over at him, stopping what she was doing. "Am I..." No. She couldn't ask. She couldn't get through with it.
"What is it?" Now he was curious, he wasn't going to let her get away with not telling him what she was going to say.
Kanami bit her lip. Did she really want to ask? Would she be ready to face up to whatever answer he gave her?
"Kanami, you can just ask," Kazuma said, reaching out a hand and running a thumb over her wrist lovingly. She had no idea how much he really did love her...
She couldn't help but shiver at his touch. Why did she feel this way? Could he feel that way about her too? "Am I..." she started, then decided to rephrase, "Could I ever be...ever be...more?"
"More than what?"
He was being so patient! Kanami blushed, looking straight at him...why couldn't he just figure things out on his own. "Not just like a little sister?"
Kazuma's eyes widened and he drew his hand away from her. She looked back down at the dishes, smiling sadly, "I guess not...I'm sorry...this doesn't change any-"
She was cut off when Kazuma abruptly took both of her hands and spun her towards him. She stumbled and fell a little closer, the shock evident on her face. "Kazuma, what-"
Her question was cut off by Kazuma's lips. She held her eyes open to see that his own were closed, his dark skin flushed. Not knowing what to do, she closed her own eyes, letting the feelings take her over. She let her hands fall loosely to the side and Kazuma hesitantly pulled away, grinning.
"Sorry, didn't know how to answer your question."
Kanami smiled. "That was fine," she said faintly. Wow. She needed to think... "Uh...I'm going to go to bed, I'll see you in the morning..." She walked slowly past him, reaching out a hand to brush against his as she went.
Kazuma looked after her, a dreamy expression on his face. "Goodnight!"
"Goodnight!" she called back, laughter in her voice.