Link to original: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsuru_no_Ongaeshi#Related_variations
Adaptation Author: Maple-Leaf
Find the author here on Scribble Hub: https://www.scribblehub.com/profile/30108/maple-leaf/
Gross humour and urination - advised not to read while eating. Comedic depiction of peeping toms. Strong language and some scenes of sexual nature. Dubious consent in regards to cuddling and romantic advances.
On the borders of a murky lake was a lush grotesque forest. The branches were spiny and tangled about, while poison ivy grew upon every crevice you could find. No one in their right mind would expect a large group of men to be crawling around its ugly mass on this early summer morn.
Each of these respectable adults had no idea of the others as they hid in different locations around the lake. They were all lying in wait, pitching multiple different types of tents as they waited for their prey.
These men were peeping.
A truly graceful hobby that they spent the morning relishing in, spying on bathing women.
It would be easy to assume that these men had been driven mad by lust, peeping on such a murky lake like this one. The only type of woman who would bathe here would likely be some type of reptilian beast (attractive to some, surely, but certainly not such a large crowd in this remote village).
But these men had seen it. On the moderately chilly days of fall, they saw her. A beautiful woman with healthy blonde hair and graceful curves. She wore a one-piece bathing suit (not as revealing as they would have liked, but it would suffice) that stuck to her skin as she played in the water.
The flamingo of the murky lake, they called her, watching eagerly as droplets of water slid down her thighs, their lightly tanned color glowing in the sunset.
Why they called her a flamingo, none of us mortals can comprehend, but these men had been enraptured by her graceful figure and memorized her bathing schedule in the short three months they’d peeped on her.
She swam in the early mornings just as the sun was rising every Saturday, and she floated around in the evenings of Tuesday and Thursday. She stopped coming during the winter and spring, but the men heard rumors of a woman with similar features who ran a modest food shack for two seasons, only to return to her hometown afterwards. Supposedly she did this every year, and the villagers of the small little town they lived in were somewhat familiar with her.
And so, they were here, on this early Saturday morning, to peep on the beautiful woman they had missed for two whole seasons.
Many of them wondered what she would be wearing. During the chilly autumn months, she wore a one piece, so they logically concluded she would wear something that showed more skin during summer.
The fiery sun slowly but surely crept up the horizon as the peeping men fidgeted in impatience. The minutes crept by like that one large spider that scared off one of the more hesitant peepers.
Finally, a sound other than the chirping crickets filled their ears.
Soft crunching could be heard far in the distance, tickling their ears almost teasingly.
Their fantasies suddenly crashed and burned as the men realized there was nothing in this forest that would be making crunching sounds.
The grass was either nonexistent or mossy and soft, there weren’t any large piles of dead leaves around either, and the roots littering the ground were as thick as their forearms.
The peepers felt anxiety start to claw at them as their breaths grew panicked. It was almost scary, hearing the soft crunches grow louder and louder.
Their minds scampered to provide reasoning for this event, only to come up at a blank.
This forest was a mossy kind. The ground was thick and soft, not crunchy or dead. Nor was that mess of roots and branches thin enough to break and crunch at every step.
It was just a person.
A person wearing crunchy fishing pants.
And a stained tank top.
Carrying an exceptionally large cooler.
Ah of course, that’s if her strikingly familiar blond locks didn’t sway at every step, reflecting the sun into their eyes.
The clunking of packed up tents could be heard in the distance as some of them immediately decided to book it, while the others were simply too shocked to move.
The flamingo of the murky lake dropped her cooler down with a grunt, then put her hands on her hips and looked up at the sunrise.
“Jesus, It’s bright over here.”
‘Well there’s nothing like a little swim to cool yourself off I suppose’, she mused as she clambered into the water.
While a young woman playing in the water would normally be an attractive thing to witness, considering her baggy fishing pants that made it look like she was a walking potato sack, the fact that none of her “pursuers” were very smitten by this activity is not all that strange.
Combined with her stained white(?) tank top, you could’ve easily mistaken her for a hobo if it wasn’t for her clean blond hair.
It was only now, as the peeping toms witnessed her tromping around the murky lake, that her strangeness hit them.
This type of woman, one who swam in the lake when it was freezing cold, was most certainly an aberration.
And so, they could only watch as the woman they dubbed “The Flamingo of the Murky Lake” snatched a carp or two straight out of the water.
A large portion of the men still watching often go hobby fishing and could understand how strange this “hands on fishing” the girl was doing was.
Though they couldn’t tell from where they were, her hands were calloused and gruff, and her grip strength was nothing short of extraordinary.
Flopping carp buried in the crook of her arm, she stomped back over to her cooler and placed it inside. She wasted no time going back into the lake, creating a mesmerizing sort of cycle of “caught” and “go catch”.
The grin on her lips told you she was doing this for fun and having the time of her life doing so.
Eventually she stopped, putting an end to her hyperactive fish-napping, and looked down at her shirt.
She hummed lightly in disappointment, seeing the omnipresent faint red splotch on her blouse. A ketchup stain. Some small part of her had hoped a thorough rinsing would wash it off so she could finally wear it in public again, but alas, the stain was there to stay.
Distracted as she was by the pseudo-loss of her favorite shirt, she had not realized the lump of garbage and rocks near the shore.
The earth shattered and the tides split as she smashed her toe on the massive heap of trash.
An angry curse escaped her lips while she clutched her foot, biting her cheek as she tried not to scream. She could only stand still and do her best not to hop around in pain, knowing she’d probably step on it again if she did.
It took far longer than it should have for her to recover (she had quite the low pain tolerance), she slowly stood up from her shrimp position.
The injury managed to dampen her mood instantaneously, and she glared at the trash pile. Unfortunately, the trash pile was just a trash pile in the end, and glaring at it did nothing to quench her thirst for vengeance.
A glossy shell caught her eye.
Amid plastic and soggy cardboard, lay a clam.
Though it wasn’t anything extraordinary, the clam held a sort of minimalistic beauty, and shimmered in the morning sun (Even though it was noon already.)
Before she could even hesitate, the blond clasped the small clam and chucked it far into the lake as hard as her arms would let her.
The distant sound of the skipping clam splash faintly soothed her temper, and she walked back to her cabin, cooler in tow.
She had not the slightest clue of the kind trouble this simple action would bring her.
The clatter of the dishes in the sink made her wince. It was an instinctive reminder of the copious amounts of cleaning she would have to do later.
She walked away from the sink, decisively choosing to put the task off for now. A small step sent a bolt of pain to her foot, reminding her of her latest injury.
Angrily muttering inside her own head, she remarked bitterly, ‘Are stubbed toes supposed to hurt for this fuckin’ long?’
Soft “ow-ow-ow-ow-ow-ow-ow-ow-ow’s” could be heard around the cozy cabin as she went about her afternoon.
She should have been spending her vacation doing something fun, or at the very least, running her shop. (Probably not the best thing to have to run a store while on vacation, but hey, there’s only so much you can do when your credit card gets taken hostage for the duration of the trip.)
‘Cooking.’ She thought. ‘I should be cooking right now.’ She was the type to beat herself up for not getting things done but continue to wallow in laziness for as long as her consciousness would allow it. Her mind wanted to steer clear of the kitchen, not wanting to be reminded of the piles of dishes she had to take care of.
She flumped to couch with a sigh, totally lacking the energy from the morning as she curled up inside her PJs. She debated on turning the T.V on, but knew she’d never get off the couch if she did, and found herself at a stalemate.
The ring of a familiar doorbell shook her out of her thoughts.
Her lethargic brain took a moment to realize that it was hers.
“Hm?” A visitor was a cause for confusion. She was quite popular in this small town, where everyone seemed to know you and your mother and your neighbor’s dog, being one of the few “strangers” they see. Sort of like the mysterious traveler character, except instead she came to visit two seasons of most years, somehow never long enough to get to know nearly anyone as more than acquaintances.
She would’ve made the effort to get to know some of them but had a sudden Chuunibyou break out and let the reputation stick.
To most, she was just the mysterious saleswoman, sporadically selling borderline overpriced, and unreasonably delicious, food at her little road shack.
To some, she had a sharp tongue and a plethora of insults tucked up her sleeves should the time come to use them.
To others, she was the mean old lady who threw small objects at them when they tried to snatch a bit of her food, those small objects were always, strangely enough, candy.
All of that considered, it was no surprise she didn’t have people showing up at her door to offer her cakes and cookies.
She shambled over the door, nearly hopping to keep her injured toe as far away from the earth of eternal pain (as in, the ground).
She opened the door, not paying any mind to the PJs she still had on.
With a creak, this visitor was revealed to her.
A young woman with straight black hair and about one inch shorter than she was. The woman’s expressionless face glanced upwards with her foxlike eyes.
The young woman’s features seemed entirely unfamiliar to her, and she had seen a lot of people.
Tactful as ever, she asked, “Where are you from?” In a tone of amazement, unfazed by the way she decided to start the conversation.
The young woman could not care less and responded, “I’m an invasive species.”
‘what’ -was a prevalent thought, but the young woman seemed to have no intention of elaborating and changed the subject with a nod of her head.
“I’m here to be your wife.”
She hummed in response, before doing the greatest double take she’d ever done in her life, not even minding the jolt of pain shooting through her foot.
The slightest hint of confusion appeared on the young woman’s expression as she replied, “You’re excused.”
Her expression went silent, the numerous questions smothered instantly. She ran her fingers through her blond hair with a sigh, “Okay I knew you guys might be sad I wasn’t selling any food today but I didn’t think that you would pull this kinda bullshit.”
She glanced through her fingers, ‘Though I do wonder how in Satan’s ass crack they knew I was gay.’
“Anywho,” She slid her hands into the pockets of her sweatpants. – “You can go home now lady, I’ll open shop tommo- “
The young woman did something unfitting to her appearance, and clasped her hands around her own, removing them from her sweatpants.
Her black hair fluttered behind her as a concerned expression appeared on her face, finally having realized what the blond was getting at. She didn’t believe her proposal.
“I’m going to be your wife, Ma’am.”
Looking down at their intertwined hands, a simple ring could be seen glittering upon both of their ring fingers.
‘Well that wasn’t there before.’
The black-haired woman dragged her attention back and continued, “You saved my life.”
“Oooookay this is going a little far lady, not to mention that’s a horrible reason to marry someone- “
“Can I have your name?”
Her voice was soft and harmless, and she couldn’t help but respond.
The newly named blond, Bluejay, felt a light flush rise to her cheeks as she gave herself a hard slap to the face inside her head.
She almost always avoided giving people her first name, opting for the more normal middle one, Kaya. Cursing her parents for trying to be special by looking out the window and picking a fucking bird to name her after, she sputtered out, “Just call me Kaya.”
The black-haired woman nodded and let go of Kaya’s hands, slipping into her house.
“Wait hold on no, don’t call me anythi- why are you going inside?!”
Kaya chased her into the house, forgetting about the pain in her foot.
‘Is this lady the fucking flash?! Jesus Christ, where is she?!’
There was a loud clang from the kitchen and Kaya rushed over to see the black-haired woman setting down a large pot.
Simultaneously concerned about the home intruder, the reveal of the cluttered sink, and the pot that came out of nowhere, Kaya felt her brain go numb, refusing to let her do anything except stare.
“What…what are you doing…?”
The Black-Haired woman looked up at her as she scooped some of the contents of the pot into a bowl. “This is what married people do for each other, correct?”
“Well, but- We’re- “Kaya sighed heavily, rubbing her aching temples as she began convincing the home invader to get the hell off her property. She subconsciously avoided doing anything violent. There was no particular reason. It was simply a reflexive aversion, like how one would avoid stomping on puppies.
The black-haired woman looked up at her.
“May I stay for dinner, at least?”
Kaya suddenly realized that, in the time she was trying to reason with the woman, she had already set the whole table. A table for two.
A steaming plate of delicious looking food was placed in front of her.
“My name is Mari.” She continued, the ‘r’ rolling off her tongue in what seemed to be some kind of accent.
She deadpanned, “Pleased to meet your acquaintance, darling.”
The key to a woman’s heart is in her stomach, my dad used to say, like he made the damn phrase up.
I used to hate that smug look on his face whenever he said it. He didn’t have the cooking skills to consider himself the key to a woman’s heart, whether he had one or not.
His food was homely sure, or used to be, rather. It sold ridiculously well, but it didn’t have the same feel to it. It no longer made me think of my younger self, scampering across the creaky floorboards when he called “Dinner!”. It no longer reminded me of my mom’s laughter as she watched her daughter burn her tongue shoveling her favorite soup into her mouth.
I’d grown to hate it, over time, watching as it changed. It was no longer my soup. I had no more reason to enjoy food that I thought tasted debatably worse than soggy ramen.
Mari’s food wasn’t like that.
It wasn’t chock full of memories, or strangely familiar.
It was just tasty as hell.
There was no arguing about it, no mincing words or convoluted reasoning.
Just goddamn good.
She could cook up a deal as good as she could cook up a meal too.
First it started off as business partners (seriously, how’d she even land that? I’ve never had interest in a partner before. I’ve got my dad’s eye for good money, I suppose), then she convinced me to let her stay the night, then she was my “temporary” roommate.
No idea how it happened, don’t ask.
She rarely expresses herself. I found that the one face she’d made when I nearly turned her away at the door was a rare occasion, and she usually spoke with a deadpan face and zero sense for sarcasm.
I know it all sounds like complaining, but it really isn’t all that bad, not really.
“At least she respects my personal space.”
Ah, a semi-conscious thought. My eyes fluttered lazily as I drifted out of my sleep. My morning had finally arrived.
I considered waking up. The shop was running great since Mari materialized, and today was an extra off day. Not that everyday wasn’t an off day, considering this was my vacation from my normal life. But a day of wandering the town and playing in the lake was significantly more relaxing than running a shop.
I wouldn’t consider myself an early riser, but there needed to be a certain level of discipline if I want to run a shop properly. Considering I had nothing to do today, I buried my face in my pillow and refused to face the sun.
Ah well of course, the only discrepancy here being that I don’t have a pillow.
Sleeping on the floor is a hobby of mine. It’s like camping, except with an air conditioning. Some days I’d just plop my sleeping back right on the ground and become dead to the world. “Some days” being yesterday.
With more effort that I’d like to admit, I wrenched my eyelids open and glowered at the woman whose chest I had just buried my face in.
I choked on the words, or thoughts, rather, that I’d just been forced to swallow.
I felt my wry mutters soften into whispers as I inadvertently tried not to wake her. Her face looked just as expressionless as it did when we were awake, if not the slightest bit more serene. Her chest undulated calmly, but it looked robotic instead of peaceful.
‘Has she been doing this every night?’ – I couldn’t help but wonder, ‘And I haven’t noticed?’
If she were planning to kill me, I’d have been long dead by now.
I watched her eyes slide open. They didn’t flutter like butterfly wings or glitter with moisture like dewy grass. They looked like slates, weightily sliding open.
‘The eyes underneath them make up for it.’ – I mused, fearlessly staring at her face as she woke up.
She stared at me staring at her and said nothing.
Then she coughed.
She was a little shocked, clearly. Even she has times where she oversleeps, I suppose.
I rested my chin on the back of my hand, trying to ignore the fact that I was still laying on top of her. My elbow may or may not have been angrily digging into her stomach.
“Care to explain?” I asked, only to be cut off short as she tied me up in my sleeping back faster than my brain could compute.
“Oi, what the hell-“She scampered out of the room in a panicked manner, though it looked more like a slightly fast saunter to me.
She left a single “I have to make breakfast.” Before she shut the door. My eyes glared through the walls as I listened to her walking down the wooden stairs, trying to wiggle out of my sleeping bag all the while.
I couldn’t get out.
‘How tight did she tangle me in here?!’
My arm escaped a tangle, reaching for the entrance. Wait no, that’s the tangle I just got out of. What the hell?!
Then suddenly I was a pretzel.
How did my life come to this?
Who is this lady, why does she live with me, why did I let her live with me, and how did she manage to turn a singular sleeping bag into a straitjacket.
I was left with no choice but to wait for her to come up.
So, I waited.
And I waited.
How fucking long does it take a woman to make breakfast?
Maybe it’s just because I’m trapped in a sleeping bag, but it feels like it’s been hours already.
Despite my admittance of defeat, I had a bit of stubborn genes in me, and managed to dig my leg out of the sleeping bag.
Mustering all the flexibility I had from my three months of gymnastics, I reached towards the door handle.
My leg shivered as my toes closed around the cold metal door handle and yanked downwards.
A repeated thumping sound rang through the room.
She locked. The fucking. Door.
“What the hell!?”
She could probably hear my shouts from down there.
“Wait a minute, I locked my door last night; how did you even get in here!?”
The sizzling of oil and the clattering of pots and pans was my only response.
I cried in frustration but shut up as soon as I felt the straitjacket slide off me.
I nearly laughed at how remarkably simple it was, but was soon reminded that I still had no way to get out of the room.
I slumped against the door.
Going back to sleep was a no-go, I’d already worked myself up.
Waiting? Is that all I could do?
My eyes slowly drifted towards the window.
Mari set the last of the meal down on the table, wiping the sweat from her brow.
It was a busy day yesterday and it seemed to have impacted her sleep schedule.
She slid out of the apron with practiced ease and haphazardly tossed it on a different counter, fixing her clothes that had been jostled in the rush.
Making her way up the stairs, she felt a pang of guilt. She gave too much attention to preserving her routine, instead of weighing her wife’s well being into the equation. Tying her up probably didn’t help either.
But imagining Kaya staring at her in disappointment, throwing her out because she couldn’t manage breakfast, worried her immensely as well.
Mari sighed, planning an apology later.
Her blank face poked through the doorway, fearing the blond would be angry at her.
Oh my. She’s so angry she turned into a ghost.
Mari closed the door and walked back down the stairs.
Then she panicked.
She sat down at the table and started eating breakfast.
‘Where did she go!’
There was no noticeable fluctuation in her expression as several rounds of, ‘whatwhatwhatwhathowwhatwhatwhatwhere’ went through her head.
Inwardly running around like a chicken with her head cut off, Mari pressed her fingertips together and sat still.
There was a loud bang as the front door slammed open.
A certain someone’s wife strolled into the room.
Her hair was mixed with several different types of tree branches, and her pajamas stained with what Mari hoped was dirt.
She plopped down on the chair across from Mari and started eating breakfast.
Concealing the storm of relief filling her head, Mari began to eat as well.
“You’ve been busy.” She added, breaking the silence.
Kaya looked up at her.
‘How does she make all that food?”
The underlying question that lay behind this entire situation.
They’d grown a fair bit closer in the months they’d lived together. Putting aside all the mysteries about her identity, the one thing Kaya was most curious about was her food. The simplest part of the woman, really. It wasn’t personal enough to be described as prying, nor was it so unrelated to her where it was none of her business.
Realistically speaking, it was perfectly reasonable to want to know what Mari put in her food, considering it was being sold at her shop, and that she herself eats it regularly.
Thus, this situation was brought about.
“Oi. Oi. Oi. Oi. Oi. Oi.”
Kaya was splayed over the counter poking Mari in the waist every time she spoke.
“Tell me~” Kaya’s words hung in the air like a childish whine before they tapered off.
Mari huffed lightly before she turned back to her pot that she’d been stirring continuously.
The woman’s face was ever unexpressive, but Kaya had learned to spot certain cues.
She was embarrassed.
Kaya leaped for the chance, spewing praises and compliments about her food while she poked her incessantly.
The slightest bit of red was creeping up Mari’s neck.
“Tell me. Tell me. Tell me. Tell me. Tell me. Tell me.”
Kaya was getting closer, summoning up a dragged out please to push it over the edge, when Mari swiveled in her direction.
Kaya flinched at the abrupt movement, wondering if Mari had actually gotten angry at her.
The usual sign of her anger, a soft smile, was not there, so Kaya took her chances and tried begging again.
The words got caught in her throat as Mari pecked her on the cheek.
Kaya’s thoughts skewed and she froze in place, awoken only be the soft chimes of breakfast plates being set on the table.
“You-….” Kaya stuffed her flushed cheeks into her crossed arms.
“Me.” Mari set the last plate down, looking her dead in the eyes.
Kaya groaned and rolled over. “You’re insufferable.”
Her serious tone was entirely overridden by the fact that she was still laying on top of the table.
Mari grabbed her under her arms like a cat and dragged her off the table.
There was a thud as Mari brought her onto the floor, then heartlessly abandoned her there and went to go eat.
Kaya lay unmoving for a while before the smell of the ever-elusive food got her to crawl over to her plate.
Kaya smiled kindly as she passed the elderly woman’s change back to her. The woman’s eyes wrinkled as she smiled back, taking both the soup and the change with her as she walked off.
Kaya sighed, thinking back to the events of this morning. It’s not as if Mari hadn’t kissed her before. Though Kaya hated to admit it, Mari was steadily worming her way into her lifestyle, implanting herself and doing menial tasks that Kaya never imagined she would have wanted done.
Mari’s sly cheek kisses were just one of the things that came with the package.
It scared her the first time, no doubt. But as time went along, it became less horrifying and more embarrassing. Kaya was aware of her sexuality; she’d dated people before. But she’s never been head over heels in love with someone. It troubled her deeply that Mari seemed to be becoming that person, mostly because Kaya was left on the conclusion that Mari was some foreign scam artist here to seduce her out of all the money she owned.
It troubled her because it was working.
Kaya sighed, pushing aside the thought for now.
She still needed to find out how Mari made that soup of hers! It was the woman’s greatest secret, seeing the time and effort she put into hiding it was incomparable to more pressing matters like her identity or where the hell she spawned from.
Mari’s distraction tactics were insidious (despite being the exact same tactic every single time) and Kaya had no choice but to resort to drastic measures.
Kaya got most of her ingredients straight from the lake, but she’d never seen Mari gather any of hers. Mari helped around the shop at times but was mostly at home once Kaya trusted her enough to lend her the key (not that she wouldn’t have found her own way in anyway).
There were certain times when Kaya had no idea where she went, and she surmised that the ingredient gathering had to be in between then.
The times usually occurred during her work hours, but Kaya closed up early (she seemed to be doing that a lot lately, strange) to do her investigating.
Kaya had been searching the village for a while now, but Mari was nowhere to be found. The time she’d suspected was spent on ingredient gathering was coming to an end. If Kaya didn’t find her now, she would have to consider this whole afternoon of unsuccessful stalking worthless.
Kaya gloomily walked her was through town, finding herself habitually walking towards the lake, the place she’d usually go when she had a day off.
The sound of splashing water echoed through her ears, shocking her out of her gloom.
“Right, the lake!”
Berating herself for forgetting about the place she used for her own ingredients, Kaya sprinted through the branches and moss, finding herself at the shore.
Mari was sitting next to the water, tossing small pebbles across the lake.
Kaya stood blankly. She’d expected more of an ‘aha!’ moment, where she’d stumble across Mari catching fish or something.
‘Her skill at stone skipping is impeccable though.’
It seemed as if Mari could sense her, and soon turned around, pushing of her knees as she stood up to greet her.
“What are you doing here?” She asked, the slightest tilt to her head, which at that moment, Kaya thought was the cutest thing she’d ever seen.
Kaya walked to Mari’s side, staring into the distance all ominous like. “Investigating.”
“You stalked me?”
“That’s ludicrous”, Kaya replied, neither confirming nor denying Mari’s statement.
Already having a general understanding of the situation, Mari remarked, “Nice to see you’re having fun.”
Keeping up the act, Kaya made a weary look. “Mari my dear, there is nothing fun about business.”
Mari, who seemed rather prickly at the topic, softened at the ‘my dear’. “I’m never going to tell you, you know.”
Twisting to look at her, Kaya spluttered, “What, why?!”
Mari shrugged, “Don’t wanna.”
Kaya suppressed the scoff in her throat, it seemed even Mari could be childish at times.
‘Two can play at that game.’
Two could, indeed, play at that game.
Mari was caught of guard when Kaya suddenly resorted to her usual tactics.
Mari looked unsettled for a moment as her lips thinned and she tried to kiss Kaya on the cheek.
She stumbled forward slightly as a flush rose to her face. You never realized how embarrassing a thing to miss it was until you actually did.
Mari felt the corner of her lip twitch as Kaya’s snickers filled her ears.
Kaya, on the other hand, froze as an incredibly determined looking Mari sprung at her.
Faster than her head could register the movement, Mari was already right in front of her, their noses nearly brushing.
Kaya clapped her hands on her cheeks in a defensive stance and hadn’t even gotten the chance to grin when a pair of slender white fingers joined hers, leaving two pairs of hands on her cheeks.
Then Mari kissed her. In the only other place available.
Kaya took in a sharp beath through her nose, her eyes blinking in surprise.
For a few precious moments, the world seemed to slow down, and the only thing Kaya could bear to think about was Mari. The way her tongue pressed against her bottom lip, fingers sliding down to the base of her neck.
For a moment, Kaya thought it unfair, to have a tongue that soft.
Mari pressed closer and Kaya could feel her chest flush against her own. She was close to the point where Kaya was certain the other woman could hear her heart pounding. Mari’s finger drew a line down her nape as if pressing her forward. She shuddered in response, feeling her lips part without her telling them to.
But Mari stopped there. She pulled away, not going any further. It was in that moment that it became frighteningly clear how much she wanted her to.
They stood there, breaths mingling, for a while, before Mari brushed back the strand of golden hair that had fallen over her face behind her ear.
Kaya shivered when Mari’s hand lingered by her ear, but she eventually parted, her other hand still intertwined with Kaya’s.
She dragged the dazed blond with her as she walked to their house, only saying, “Let’s go eat dinner.”
Kaya pulled her hand from Mari’s grip, and crossed her arms as she caught up. “I’m a perfectly reasonable adult too, y’know? I can find my way home.”
Mari stared at her, as if asking how what she was doing earlier constitutes as the behavior of a perfectly reasonable adult.
Kaya smirked at her blank look but didn’t resist when Mari grabbed her hand once more and they continued their way.
Kaya stared at the delicate yet confident figure as she led her back to her house, thinking quietly,
‘It troubles me because It’s working.’
In the end, Mari’s secret ingredient was never revealed.
Kaya scratched the back of her head lamentingly, once again reminded of that incident. It was simultaneously one of the most pointless and precious days of her life.
She was reminded of it every time she closed up the shop early.
Not an event that happened often, though the frequency had been increasing lately.
Because she was leaving soon.
Despite all appearances, she was not from here, and still had a home she needed to return to.
She hadn’t told Mari yet. Mari had never asked about her, and as far as Kaya was concerned, Mari had no idea she didn’t live here.
The guilt ate at her, soiling the memories she was relishing in.
She hadn’t told her.
She needed to tell her.
But what would happen when she did?
Some horribly selfish part of her thought, ‘What if I didn’t tell her? What if I just left?’ For the slightest bit longer, she could keep the woman she’d seemed to have fallen head over heel in love with by her side.
Of course, there was always a chance Mari might want to come with her. The woman didn’t seem to have much family to leave behind either. But Kaya wasn’t exactly an optimist.
What if she said no? What if she just…left?
-Was all that she could think about.
Kaya let out a strangled breath.
And then she slapped herself.
Ignoring the concerned looks from the passerby, Kaya packed up her stuff and dragged it back home, repeating “Tell her” over and over in her own head like some kind of mantra.
She repeated it ceaselessly, not allowing her thoughts any room to wander as she stormed home.
Mari would be surprised; she was a stickler for schedules.
Kay couldn’t help but smile remembering the earful she got when she came home off timing. Mari wasn’t clingy (at least, in that aspect), but she planned everything, and did not appreciate being uninformed.
Which is partly why Kaya was so scared to tell her.
Despite the determination she tried so hard to keep stable, she found herself tiptoeing into the house, silently leaving her stuff to the side.
She walked forward, feeling the roots of panic begin to grow in her belly.
Amidst all of her “tell her’s” there was a single unruly ‘I don’t want to tell her.’
She really, really, didn’t want to tell her.
Because there was a good chance, she’d hear something she didn’t want to hear.
So she stepped into the kitchen and was comforted by none other than her naked wife, sitting on top of a pot.
“What the hell”
Mari froze at the sight of her, not that she wasn’t already sitting (Standing? Kneeling?) in place.
Kaya’s brain slowly explained to her what was occurring.
That was Mari. Right there, yes.
And she’s sitting, no, kneeling, rather.
On top of a pot.
Mari knees were spread apart, on both sides of the pot. Her figure reminded her briefly of a sex position, but instead of a person there was a pot.
A pot of soup.
Kaya silently directed her attention away from the naked woman, onto the situation as she slowly came to her conclusion.
The fluids dripping out of Mari’s urethra certainly helped her reach this conclusion.
“Are you-“Kaya paused, bringing her twitchy hands behind her back as she tried to finish the sentence as seriously as possible.-“…peeing?”
There was a light huff from Mari, as if she were denying Kaya’s accusation.
“Really. Because honestly I think you’ll have trouble describing this as anything other than peeing.”
Mari opened her mouth. Then she closed it again. Then she opened it back up-
Kaya waved her hands as if to say, ‘It’s okay, I mean, everyone’s got kinks, you’re fine-’
“Wait a minute.” Kaya was staring at the pot currently on the table.
“Is that the soup?”
“Like, the soup?”
She nodded, slowly.
Kaya scoffed incredulously, “Ah of course, it’s just the soup both me and several people in this town have been eating for the past several months.”
She chuckled breathlessly, “I mean, I’ve heard of coffee made of cat shit, but this has gone too fucking far, man.”
Kaya did her best to seem mildly composed, but there was not a moment in her life, both in the future and now, that she had doubted Mari’s mental stability to such an extent.
Mari looked as if she were finally planning to explain and moved from over the pot. She lay on the table, much like Kaya had done on occasion, and slid off with practiced ease.
She stood up, pushing off her knees like she always did, and Kaya swallowed, embarrassed that she could still feel aroused in such a situation.
Then poofed into dust.
A small clatter drew her dumbfounded eyes to the ground, where she was met with a familiar glossy black clam on her floor.
‘Am I high?’
No wait, that doesn’t make sense.
‘Did I really slap myself that hard?’
Nevertheless, the clam was still there.
After what seemed like hours of hesitation, Kaya picked up the clam and held it in two hands, wondering what it did with her wife.
Then the clam poofed into dust, and she was holding her naked wife in princess carry.
Mari stared her before hopping out of her embrace.
“I’m a clam.” She clarified.
“Ah. I see.”
Mari scratched the back of her head, one of her cues for guilt.
“So, you’re a clam. And you pee in soup.” Kaya stared at her, asking her with her eyes how those two concepts correlated in any way.
“It isn’t pee.”
“No.” It seemed Mari was adamant on refusing to call whatever liquid she released “pee”.
“So you’re telling me.” Kaya pointed at the naked woman. “That a clam married me.”
Kaya was silent. There wasn’t much more to say.
The clam was familiar. She remembered it; her toe had cried bloody vengeance that day, and the clam that did little to help her ease it remained in her memories.
“So, when you said I saved your life…?”
“Hm.” Kaya pinched her temple.
“This is a lot to take in.”
Mari patted her on the back. In a rare tone (not noticeably different from her normal one, but Kaya could hear the hints of satire) she added, “You’re stuck with me forever, Bluejay.”
Somehow not minding being called by her first name, she smirked softly. “I guess so.”
“Oh, I missed you so much!” Kaya’s mom hugged her tightly.
Coughing out what was left of her oxygen, Kaya tried to respond but only a wheeze came out.
“She goes on the trip every year, darling, aren’t you used to it by now?” A man remarked from the couch, where he sat reading his newspaper.
“Don’t say that! If you scare her off, she might even stay over there for 12 months of the year!”
Her father huffed but stopped talking after that.
Her mother clapped her hands together in excitement, “Now, now, what about the souvenirs?”
Kaya grinned and dug through her bag, pulling out an object.
She placed it on the table in front of her mom. “A butterfly hairclip for dad.”
Her mom snickered, “Another to add to his collection huh?”
They both laughed together as the man sadly patted his balding head.
“And~” Kaya pulled out a magnet. “A magnet for you!”
Her mom picked up the tacky magnet, looking it over with a wry chuckle. “Never very good at picking out souvenirs, were you?”
Her mom’s attention was attracted by the shimmer inside her daughter’s bag.
“Ooh, this is beautiful!” She said, picking up the glossy clam.
Her father looked over at them nodding, “That’s a fine clam you found. Do you want me to cook it?”
Kaya laughed nervously as she grabbed the clam back. “No, no thanks.”
Her father sighed in disappointment and turned back to his newspaper.
She held the clam in her palm. “This one’s mine.”
Her mother could have sworn the clam looked happy.