Story: Estrogen (chapter 13)

Authors: Juxtaposition

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Chapter 13

Title: Chapter Thirteen

[Author's notes: Disclaimer: The following is a work of fiction, any events that mirror real life are of pure coincidence.  The plot and characters are properties of mine, please do not produce unless permission has been given.]

Estrogen - Chapter Thirteen

Fujimaru-sempai’s birthday is always an event that I looked forward to, but after its completion, I would be reminded yet again that it was near exam season.  Thus, it seemed to be a bitter sweet occasion if nothing else.  Although it was a year older for Fujimaru-sempai, it seemed that even age was in awe of her beauty.  Each time I look at her, I’m reminded that this world is indeed unfair.  In my mind, she was perfect, from head to toe.  She had the perfect life that anyone would wish for. 

Little did I know, in a span of this remaining year, the slippery staircase seemed to have disappeared beneath our feet.  

For now though, it was still blissful summer; and we were still trudging onwards with our exams.   

Slowly, I wondered if my life will be a routine like this forever.  Studies, work, exams, vacation.  Rinse, wash, repeat.  It was mundane and it almost seemed a little boring.  I wanted to have an exciting occupation like Hoshimura-sempai or Fujimaru-sempai.  However, heaven knows that I do not have the abilities to play sports.  Nor do I have the ability to be a model either.  And it was already hard enough to convince my parents to let me go to an art school instead of a proper university. 

I felt bad for my sister.  For she knows she will have to choose an occupation that was closer to the range that my parents have scouted out for the both of us. 

The most memorable hours of my second senior high summer was the joint birthday party that took place by the beach side.  It was the last summer that I could play without a care in the world.  Following those days, I didn’t even know how or when things fell apart. 

In mid-August, my parents drove my friends and me down to the beach that we had agreed to meet up at.  Of course, Caramel was brought along.  Although my parents loved the dog, I knew they would throw me out if I even so much as bring up wanting to keep a puppy of my own as well.  So I could only look at the puppy with pitiful eyes and hug her tightly to me.  My friends were more ecstatic with the trip than I was and it was my birthday party to begin with! 

Well, mine and Hoshimura-sempai’s as well. 

The beach was surprisingly empty when we arrived.  I had anticipated it would be filled with people and we might even have to squeeze past groups in order to get to the cabin that had been rented out.  By the time we arrived, the other group was already inside.  Reika jumped up first and ran towards Caramel.  “You people are late!  Don’t you know how long I’ve been waiting?!”  Note that she said “I” instead of “we”, and I had the suspicion that she only was waiting for the dog and none of us. 

“Come on in girls.”  Hoshimura-sempai greeted us at the foyer and we all diligently bowed to her. 

“There aren’t a lot of people here today, why is that?”  I couldn’t contain my curiosity and took my shoes off the fastest. 

“Shina said that there is supposed to be a storm that’s going to come later today, so people are hiding out, I suspect.” 

Ah.  I was sure that my face fell because Hoshimura-sempai smiled and leaned forward to pat my face gently.  “Don’t look so down, we still have right now and tomorrow to go into the water as well.”  Each tap burned up my face with an infinite degree of power.  I could not believe that she was doing this in front of so many people.  What would Fujimaru-sempai say?  Which reminds me! 

“Where is Fujimaru-sempai?” 

“Asura is upstairs taking a phone call, it seems like work is following her around.”  Hoshimura-sempai spoke with a lift of her eyebrow before offering us a smile and took over our bags to bring them further into the cabin.  The entire cabin is made of wood, even without looking, the fragrance would speak for itself.  “You girls can go upstairs and get your own rooms.  We don’t have enough for everyone to have their own, so you’ll have to share.” 



There was a moment of silence when we all looked at each other before Fuuyu jolted forward and grabbed her bag from Hoshimura-sempai’s hand and charged up the stairs.  “I get first dibs!”  Her voice was slowly disappearing around the corner.  Then, one by one, all of us whipped by Hoshimura-sempai and rushed upstairs to claim the best room.  Well, the best room remaining, at least.  At the door of a somewhat larger room, Fuuyu and I tried to drag each other out while screaming all sorts of claims on the world. 

Reika had followed us up and was looking at the scene with an unimpressed face. 

“How old are you girls?” 

“It’s not about how old we are!”
“I got this room first!”
“No, I did!”
“I did!” 

Add in the excited barks from Caramel, we successfully turned a serene get-away to a cacophony of uninhibited noises. 

“Will you girls die if you don’t scream at the top of your lungs?” 


Fuuyu and I stopped immediately, both of us turned around to look at Fujimaru-sempai mechanically.  There she stood, in a floral print summer dress with her cell phone in hand; of course, needless to say, the look was anything but pleasant.  Ah, a beautiful person is beautiful no matter when.  Even when she’s frowning and glaring daggers at us, she is still beautiful. 

“Fujimaru-sempai.”  We replied meekly and disentangled ourselves. 

In our little heated argument, we had forgotten that she was up here taking a phone call. 

“Asura-oneechan!”  Reika nearly skipped past us and gave the model a hug, which Fujimaru-sempai returned with her one free arm and patted Reika on her back.  The rest of us received no such welcome.

“You girls.”  Ito-sempai voice reached us from the bottom of the staircase.  “Please ready yourselves soon, we will be heading out to the beach!” 

In the end, Fuuyu was quicker than me and shoved me out of the door.  Erika and I took the smaller room while the three of them shared the bigger room.  I suppose it all worked out in the end when Erika and I grinned at each other and stole a quick kiss before we all bounced down the stairs to join the group. 

Because there was practically no one else on the beach, we even left Caramel running by herself.  Out of everyone here, she must have been the most excited to be out in the open and spoiled by so many loving hands.  Hoshimura-sempai was already setting up the extra large sun umbrella while Ito-sempai was spreading out beach towels all around it. 

Even now, I could still remember how clear the water was that day.  Although the clouds above came and passed, with each blockage of the sun’s light, we worried that it was going to rain on us.  But no one could stop our insatiable need to be running, laughing, screaming, yelling, and behaving as if we were ten year-olds.  Even Erika was more talkative than usual.  I didn’t remember when Fujimaru-sempai and Reika joined us, but Reika made her entrance known when she snuck behind all of us and splashed everyone with her arms hitting the water surface. 

And even now, I can still remember how Fujimaru-sempai and Ito-sempai sat back underneath the umbrella and spoke quietly amongst themselves.  I did not know what they spoke about, but I knew that Fujimaru-sempai could not risk getting tanned for her photo shoots that were coming up.  

Yet, when I see the glances between her and Hoshimura-sempai, I knew that just her presence alone was enough. 

Most of all, even now, I can still remember that fateful night. 

That was when the rain did decide to hit us.  One second, it was sunny, the next second, thunder and lightning were ripping through the sky and threatened to shake this earth.  Quickly, we grabbed our things and ran for the cabin.  We were a breathless bunch inside, half drenched, and even Fujimaru-sempai’s hair was plastered onto her face and back without the usual appeal. 

Ah, so she was human after all! 

“This is abnormal, how can it just rain like that?!” 

I shook my head, pulling off my hair band before squeezing water out of my hair.  “Caramel, don’t you dare…”  touch that water! 

… wait. 

Then it hit me.  Caramel was not inside! 

Immediately, I bolted right off the wall and startled everyone in the process. 

“What’s wrong?”  Erika asked me, she was already half way up the stairs, probably going for a change of clothes at least. 


Perhaps it had been my frantic voice that was near tears or Caramel as a topic herself, practically everyone paused and looked over.  We all realized at once that she wasn’t in the room with us.  “I need to go find her!”  It was stupid of me, for without anything else on me but my soaked clothes, I was already charging out of the door.  Behind me, I think there was a collective shouting of voices.  The thunder drowned them out, my pounding heart drowned them out, and the howling wind drowned them out. 

In the darkness and with the pelting room, I called out Caramel’s name again and again in hopes that she could hear me.  I never knew that I could be this impulsive; and never thought I’d see this scene –only witnessed in cliché movies- in my own life.  Of course, within only a few short moments, I had no idea where I was.  I think somewhere in the back of my head, I registered panic, but the majority of my brain was still dedicated to the idea that Caramel was no where to be found. 

When my legs ached and lungs screamed, my body was shivering and I stopped only because I needed to catch my breath.  All around me, I felt the villainous weather and my feet seemed to have taken me away from the sandy beach to pebbles and rocks.


I shrieked and whirled around.  The beam of a flashlight met me and I let my eyes travel up to see Hoshimura-sempai’s face.  I was stunned and shocked; I didn’t even know what to say. 

“Here, put this on.”  She had a jacket in her hands and quickly wrapped it around me.  Although it was also soaked, the extra layer seemed to have warmed me up instantaneously.  “Come, let’s keep on walking.”  She reached for my hand and her calloused fingers closed around my own, I was tugged along with her.  I was lost in this darkness, but she seemed to have been a glowing lantern in my life.   

Or maybe it’s just the flashlight that she was holding. 

Time escaped me, who knows how long it was when I heard a muffled bark.  My ears perked right up and in a second I over took Hoshimura-sempai while screaming for Caramel’s name.  We found the puppy in a small cave; the dog had been smart enough to hide away from the storm.  Both of us were shaking when reunion came and Hoshimura-sempai could only shake her head in disbelief while brushing droplets of water from her attire. 

“Thank you, Hoshimura-sempai.”  I bowed to her with Caramel in my arms.  “I’m sorry.” 

She sighed and patted my head good naturedly.  “It’s okay, I’m just glad that you’re alright.”  She put the flashlight down by us and sat down against the rocky interior of the cave.  “We’re not going anywhere tonight.  I told the others to look for us in the morning.”  

I sat down next to her as well, hoping to feed off the warmth from her.  And perhaps offer a little bit of mine in return as well. 

She must have sensed my intention as she placed an arm around my shoulders and pulled me closer.  “Sorry, we’re both soaked, but it’s better than freezing to death.”  Immediately, my face flushed, my ears flushed, my entire body might as well have flushed.  So I was no longer cold for that moment. 

The evening was spent in relative silence, Caramel fell asleep in my arms shortly after and I think sometime in the middle of the night, I dozed off as well.  In and out of sleep, I saw Hoshimura-sempai’s profile while I used her shoulder as a pillow.  That evening, I wondered whether I dreamt up most of the sights I saw, or whether they truly were of reality. 

After a rain cloud, it is only natural that the sun would be exposed. 

In the morning, I was awakened when someone shook me with urgency.  Cracking open my eyes, I realized that I was no longer learning against Hoshimura-sempai.  It was Erika’s face that I saw, and I could only offer her a smile before she hugged me tightly.  Under the circumstances, no one said anything.  My friends rushed forward to crowd around me as well.  Erika wrapped a large blanket around me that covered me from head to toe.   

Caramel was taken away already.   

Yet, my gaze chased after Hoshimura-sempai.  I watched as Fujimaru-sempai handed her a blanket before arranging her attire for her.  Ito-sempai stood between our groups and I thought I saw the same thing in her eyes that was growing in me as well. 

To be continued...

[End notes: Author's Notes: Wow, I apologize that not only did this take so long but the chapter was short as well.  Looking for a job was hellish, and now landing a job and getting trained for it is even worse.  -_-;  Let me win the lottery!]

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