Even Though I Loved You First - Chapter 79 - Painting The Beautiful You, For All The World To See
“You could’ve stayed a little more, you know? I don’t really mind…”
“Haha, I would really like that, but there’s someone I want to see right now.” The boy chuckled.
“Sniff To think my little brother finally grew into such a man! As an older brother I can’t help but feel lonely…”
“I mean, who’s going to pay for my drinks, anyway?!” (Retsu)
Bantering in front of the train station, Riku and Retsu Ryuzaki stood face to face as Riku moved with all his luggage, ready to depart. During the first four days of summer, Riku visited his older brother and stayed with him as Retsu showed Riku many sights inside his city.
“I have to say. You sure bought a lot…” Retsu pointed at a separate suitcase. The suitcase itself stored many different art utensils, utensils that were bought by Riku himself these past few days.
“I couldn’t help it… They were high-quality and cheap!” (Riku)
“Hahaha, you really don’t change.” As they talked, Riku glanced at his clock and noticed there was a little over five minutes until his ride arrived.
“I should be going now, thanks for letting me stay, Retsu.” (Riku)
“Unn. Unn. It’s nothing, it’s nothing~ It was fun spending time with you, kiddo.” Retsu smiled, “Also, next time I swing by, do introduce me to this girlfriend of yours, okay?” (Retsu)
“Eh? Why should I?” (Riku)
“Hey now, the sooner I get to meet my in-law, the better, right?” (Retsu)
“Instead of being so annoying, why don’t you put effort into your own relationships first?” (Retsu)
“Haha, thanks for your concern, but I doubt that’ll happen in the far future.” (Retsu)
“Then, I’ll be going, my train’s here.” Riku gave his back to him as he went aboard the train.
“See ya~!” Retsu waved as he saw him off.
The Next Day
I’m getting nervous somehow….
It has been five days since summer vacation started. After he arrived home the day before, he messaged his girlfriend, Sachi, telling her that he was now in town again. After they exchanged some brief messages, they agreed to meet up the day after.
“?!” Startled, he turned around to see a girl with long black hair that had a red ribbon tied to the back of her head, jet-black eyes nervously looked at him as she timidly approached him.
“I-it’s nice to see you again, Riku…” She shyly said.
“U-unn… N-nice to see you a-again, S-Sachi…” (Riku)
Even though the two were dating, they’ve only shared three days or so with each other. So meetings like this were still nerve-wracking. The two of them walked side by side and finally gathering the courage, Riku turned to Sachi to ask her about her summer vacation so far.
“S-so, how has your summer vacation been so far?” (Riku)
“U-uhm… I finished two books in my pending list. I also got around twenty-percent of my homework.” (Sachi)
“Two already?! You’re fast!” Riku said in wonder, “In my case, I still haven’t got around to doing my homework yet.” (Riku)
Hearing Riku’s words, Sachi shyly looked up at him and with her cheeks dyed red, she said, “Then, want to do it together with me?” (Sachi)
“Is that ok? I hope I’m not bothering you…” (Riku)
“N-no, u-uh… You’re my b-boyfriend so… I thought it might be nice to… you know… spend some time together…” (Sachi)
“…! I-I see…” (Riku)
An awkward silence reigned over the two of them, and as they sat on a bench, Sachi calmed down and flipped the past question.
“How was your visit, Riku?” (Sachi)
“Oh? It was great, I got to meet some of my brother’s coworkers. I also bumped into the friend I told you about and his girlfriend. They invited me for lunch so I went with them while my brother worked.” (Riku)
During Riku’s short visit he bumped into Noah and his girlfriend Myu, he lightly introduced himself and chatted with them a bit, as he was about to leave, Noah stopped him and invited him to lunch.
Of course, Riku didn’t want to intrude on the couple’s date. However, according to Myu, he had nothing to be worried about since they just parted ways from one of their childhood friends and were about to head to lunch themselves.
“After that, I explored the city on my own a bit. I bought so many art supplies that I’m amazed at myself, hahaha.” (Riku)
“That sounds like you, Riku.” Sachi chuckled.
“R-really now?” (Riku)
“Unn. But I don’t mind, it really seems like you’re enjoying yourself.” If Sachi could say something outloud, it was that the main reason she fell in love with Riku in the first place was his passion towards art.
For her, that passion of his resembles the one Sachi has for cooking. The way he is able to connect anything with art, his smile and the twinkle in his eye whenever he talks about art and history… all of that seemed so alluring to Sachi.
Of course, she’s too embarrassed to say any of that out loud.
“Sachi.” As Riku got up, he called out to her.
“Could you come with me?” (Riku)
“Riku, where are we?” (Sachi)
“My house.” (Riku)
“I see, your ho— Eh?!” (Sachi)
Riku’s answer caught Sachi off-guard, she never expected Riku to be this assertive, and even if that was the case, she never thought that Riku would be the kind of guy to bring his girlfriend over to his house with less than two weeks of dating.
“Sorry if this is too sudden… But, you see… I kind of got inspired.” Riku shyly said.
“You see, when I was at my brother’s place, I felt kind of lonely. Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast spending time with my brother and some of his coworkers, but there was something missing.” (Riku)
Sachi kept silent, they entered Riku’s house and moved across the hallway, finally reaching a door that was at the end of it, Riku turned the doorknob as he continued speaking.
“I was such a jerk for ditching you during the first four days of summer vacation, right? Sorry… even though we’re finally dating.” He apologized, as he grabbed a stool from the corner and moved it over for Sachi to sit.
“A stool?” Sachi cocked her head.
“Ack…! S-sorry! I was about to motion you to sit and use you as my model again… even though I never asked for your permission!” (Riku)
Sachi giggled as she saw the flustered Riku retrieving the stool. She grabbed Riku’s arm and softly told him. “I don’t mind. What are we doing, anyway?” (Sachi)
Riku composed himself, placed the stool once again in front of Sachi and took a canvas from his wardrobe. He took some paints from a nearby cabinet, and sat in front of his own stool.
This really is an artist’s room, huh? Not only because of what was stored in most of the compartments, but also because of the surroundings of the room she found herself in.
There was an immense amount of paintings hanging all over the walls. The room itself was extremely spacious which made it feel extremely empty.
“Could you stay like that for me?” (Riku)
“L-like this?” (Sachi)
“Unn.” Riku nodded with a soft smile on his face.
Riku immediately absorbed himself in his painting. Many could say that this sort of thing wasn’t really suited for a formal date. But these two begged to differ, Riku enjoyed his passion with Sachi’s wholehearted support.
Sachi on the other hand, witnessed a side of Riku she wanted to see more, she could even gaze at him with no problems nor without feeling embarrassed.
“You know… My dream is to have my own studio someday…” (Riku)
“You never really spoke about your dreams…” (Sachi)
“I really never did… now that I think about it…” (Riku)
“Still, a studio, huh?” (Sachi)
“Is it weird?” (Riku)
“No, it is not weird.” Sachi shook her head, “It only made me realize how most of you are all thinking about the future.” (Riku)
“Of course, we’re weirdos after all.” Riku chuckled.
They only finished their first year of highschool. Sure, the sooner the better. However, they still have a little bit of time before they have to worry about their respective futures.
“I don’t really have anything planned for the future, so maybe I’m normal?” (Sachi)
“You are,” Riku paused, “Is what I would like to say if we weren’t Kei’s friends…” (Riku)
The two couldn’t help but chuckle as Riku continued his painting.
“By the way, Riku. I’ve been meaning to ask. What do your parent’s do? You don’t really talk much about yourself.” (Sachi)
“My parents? Well, my father’s a photographer and my mother is an architect. The two of them are pretty well known. Same for my brother, hahaha.” (Riku)
“Here.” Riku opened the drawer and handed a picture to Sachi.
“Huh… I-I’ve seen this picture before…” The picture itself was the picture of a rustical house featured in a magazine, what made the photo stand out however, was the technique itself and the angle. Everything emphasizes the property’s good angles.
“The house was designed by my mother and the photo was taken by my dad. I think you can see now, my whole family is an artist in one way or another.” (Riku)
“I see…” Sachi muttered as she stared at the photo, minutes later she resumed her previous position and let Riku finish his work.
“I’m done.” After a while, Riku called out to Sachi, who he could tell was beginning to get tired.
“Oh…? Can I see?” (Sachi)
“Unn. Please do.” (Riku)
Once Sachi caught a glimpse of the portrait, she froze… again. There was no doubt that the girl in the painting was Sachi, it was clearly visible. However, something was different. She could tell it was her even if there was no trace of her black hair and her eyes, the colors themself were mixed and yet… they complemented pretty well.
Many different hues of blue, tones of red, all complemented by what seemed to be recreations of flowers around the edges of the painting.
This painting was different from what Sachi first witnessed. In the small time between Riku’s competition and the present day, she could clearly see an improvement in his skills as a whole.
“You know… I never really liked the piece I did for the competition… What I could use and how I could use it was way too limited… I wanted to capture the way I saw you… and that piece didn’t cut it.” (Riku)
“I think it was wonderful…” Sachi shyly said.
“An art piece isn’t just about how it looks, it’s about how it makes both the artist and the audience feel… In this case, I wanted to emphasize Sachi’s real beauty… You may think too lowly of yourself, Sachi. But now that I’m your boyfriend I can finally say that, you’re beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.” (Riku)
Immediately after, Sachi’s face began to grow redder, as she tried to hide her embarrassment, but of course, to no avail. Something snapped in her and before she knew it—
“E-eh?! S-S-S-Sachi?!” (Riku)
—she was already wrapping her arms around Riku.
“Sorry… can I stay like this for a while…?” Sachi muttered.
“Eh? U-unn.” A little nervous, Riku also wrapped his own arms around her, as he felt the warmth of her small body, he felt his face getting hotter.
Riku still wasn’t satisfied with the painting… If anything, he still has a long way to go, before he could paint his beautiful partner, for all the world to see.