Keia woke slowly with a groan. She rolled over to right, seeing a smiling Jura. “Jura, last night ... last night was ...”
“Indescribable?” Jura asked.
“Yeah,” Keia breathed. “I’m feeling a lot better today than I ever have before. How are you feeling?”
“Happy,” Jura sighed. “I’m happy that I could spend the night with you like that.”
“It doesn’t have to be just a night,” Keia whispered. “We could make it much more.”
“Do you really want that?” Jura asked softly. “I mean, we’ve been friends for ages, do you want to risk that?”
“For you,” Keia answered firmly, “I’d take on the world. I do love you Jura. I meant that.”
“Keia ...” Jura sighed. “I’m glad you said that. I love you too. I have and will, as long as you want me.”
Keia pulled Jura into a tight embrace, holding her close. Keia moved back slightly, and then planted her lips on Jura’s firmly. The kiss wasn’t hungry or passionate, just loving and reassuring. Breaking the kiss, Keia looked into Jura’s eyes and held them firmly. “I’m not letting you get away in this lifetime.”
Kara knocked on the door again. ‘Damn ... what are you doing in there Keia?’ Pounding the door a third time, Kara glared at the large wooden obstacle. “Keia,” She growled, “open your damn door!”
Keia pulled the door open, standing in the open frame in her t-shirt. “What is it Kara?” Keia muttered with a scowl. “Jura and I were still napping. Is it important or what?”
“Share a bed did you?” Kara teased, her frustration forgotten. “I’m sure you’ve got a thank you to give someone, right?”
“Alright, alright,” Keia conceded. “Come in, I’ll get something ready for breakfast. How’d you figure out that she liked me?”
“Didn’t figure nothing,” Kara replied. “You both told me how you felt. I’d been planning to do something about it, but I got sidetracked by my break-up. Then I got sidetracked by Mitsuko. Heheh ... you know about that though.”
“Yeah, I know,” Keia muttered dryly. “How long has this plan of yours been brewing?”
“Day of graduation,” Kara answered casually. “Saw the two of you sitting with each other. I saw how you both stole glances at each other. I figured I do something about it.” Kara shrugged and tilted her head. “So, how much fun you guys have last night?”
“Ha!” Keia laughed. “Like I’d share. I’m not you, you know.”
“Keia, who’s here?” Jura asked, walking out from the restroom. “Oh! It’s you Kara.”
“Yeah, it’s me,” Kara replied with a small wave. “So, you two have a good night?”
Jura’s cheeks colored a bit. “I don’t think that’s something we’ll discuss,” Jura answered softly.
“Already told her that,” Keia said, bringing a massive stack of toast from the kitchen. “I’m cooking some bacon, sausage and eggs. How do ya want ‘em?”
“Scrambled,” Kara and Jura replied in unison.
“Bacon and sausage done and crispy,” Kara added.
“Yeah, *really* crispy,” Jura agreed, “but *not* burnt.”
“Sure,” Keia said, the sound of popping grease now audible. “So, what’re you here for Kara? Not to tease me until we start another wrestling match right?”
“No,” Kara replied casually. “Although, our matches are quite fun. I’m actually here because something weird happened last night. You know about Mitsuko’s and my “sixth” sense right?”
“Sixth sense?” Jura echoed. “What do you mean?”
“It’s a sort of spiritual sense Jura,” Keia explained shortly. “You were sick the week they spent explaining it to me. What of it Kara?”
“Well,” Kara began, “we sorta go one of those spine chilling feelings while we were watching a movie about forty minutes after our outing. It was really creepy and all.”
“What set it off?” Jura inquired with growing interest. “I’m sure something can explain it.”
“That’s just it,” Kara answered. “Nothing was strange until the feeling hit. I mean, we were just talking and watching the movie and then, pow, it hits outta nowhere.”
“Odd,” Keia mused. “You two only get the creepy, skin-crawling feelings when something off the wall happens to one of us. What does it mean?”
“I think I noticed something last night too,” Jura admitted. “While Keia and I were *cough* um ... in the bathroom, we had a sorta glow around us.”
“Yeah,” Keia agreed, “now that I think about it, Jura glowed an odd ice-blue color last night. I also noticed a weird light on her forehead.”
“Right!” Jura exclaimed. “But the glow you had was like a fiery red.”
“Wait,” Kara interrupted. “What did you two do last night?”
“That would be our business,” Keia said crisply. “You don’t need to know what we did with our time last night.”
“I think she should,” Jura said softly. “I mean, her and Mitsuko are kind of responsible for it happening. Plus, they’re our best friends.”
“You’re damn right about that!” Kara said proudly. “You gotta give me *some* credit. Besides, whatever that feeling was, might put our lives in danger. We can’t know for sure.”
“You’re ... you’re right,” Keia conceded. “Jura and I ... we um ... we made love.”
Jura’s face flushed a bright crimson. Kara sat silently for exactly one minute before breaking into a massive fit of laughter. “It’s about damn time!” Kara said after recovering from her laughing fit. “Damn, thought you two were going to wait till you were old maids for that!”
“Kara!” Jura squeaked.
“Kara ... “ Keia growled threateningly. “You’ll pay for that later.”
“Hell, it’s well worth any punishment you can come up with!” Kara chuckled. “So, did anything feel weird afterwards?”
“No details will be given, thank you very much!” Keia exclaimed. “And if you keep prying, I’ll make sure your food gets burnt!”
“Okay, okay,” Kara said peacefully. “I’ll stop asking, okay?”
“You know she wouldn’t,” Jura whispered conspiratorially.
“Yeah, but she’d get me for it eventually,” Kara whispered in reply. “It’d be a lot worse than burnt eggs then.”
“True,” Jura agreed, “but you sure about the danger part?”
“Can’t say for sure,” Kara said with a shrug. “Weird things have happened to us in the past right?”
“Also true,” Jura agreed. “So, does Mitsuko have a theory?”
“Another conspiracy for some surprise on me?” Keia asked with an arched eyebrow. In her hands she held three steaming breakfast platters on a tray.
“Never!” Jura said, scandalized.
“Right,” Keia said, her voiced laced with sarcasm. “I’ll believe that when my hair bursts into flames spontaneously.”
“Careful what you say,” Kara warned. “Stranger things have happened to the four of us before.”
“Like I can ever forget,” Keia said mournfully. “You won’t let me.”
They began shoveling food into their mouths unceremoniously. They ate like they had been starving prisoners in some torturous hell hole. After filling their stomachs, they continued to talk throughout the morning, interrupted only by a call to Kara’s cell phone from Mitsuko, asking for the news. Kara reported the ‘activity’ that Keia and Jura had participated in the night before, and Mitsuko laughed and congratulated the new couple. Kara left Keia’s apartment soon after, heading back to her own room that she shared with Mitsuko.
‘It’s about damn time those two got together.’ Kara laughed to herself. ‘They’ve been moping around about not being with each other for too long. I’m happy that they finally found out they’re destined to be like me and Mitsuko.’
Kara walked to the elevator and hesitated for a moment. She took that moment to decide to take the stairs down to her floor. She made her way to the end of the hall and pushed to stairwell door open. She started down the stairs thinking about how Jura and Keia looked so happy earlier. She soon heard someone coming up the stairs, so she moved to the outer side to make room for the person coming her way.
Kara paused a moment as the person ascending the stairs came into view. She saw the dark violet eyes that looked worn and sad. The woman’s black-green hair was pulled back into a long, shimmering French braid, and was bouncing a little with the moment of her body. She stood at a rigid and wary 5’8”, and was mumbling to herself slightly. Her body was hidden by the crisp tan trench coat she had on. Kara looked on as the woman came closer and closer.
‘I feel as if I know this woman, but I’ve never even seen hr before today.’ Kara thought with amazement. ‘Why is it that this woman makes me think I’m forgetting some destiny of greatness?’
‘What is that girl looking at?’ The woman thought as she ascended the stairs quickly. ‘I’m a normal woman, not some idol in hiding. What is she staring at me for?’
The tan-skinned woman continued to climb the stairs at the rushed pace. They closer she got, the bigger the odd feeling in her gut got. As she came to the platform below Kara, she noticed a small glow on hr forehead.
‘That sigil, it looks ... familiar.’ The woman thought. ‘What’s the strange feeling?’
Kara looked at the woman as she stopped on the platform. She saw the yellow glow of her aura, and then the small glow of the woman’s sigil caught her eye.
‘This is too weird.’ They thought in unison, and then they hurried past one another.
‘Gotta tell Mitsuko about that one.’ Kara thought to herself as she increased her pace down the stairs.
‘What in the hell was that?’ The woman thought. ‘I need to take a shower, maybe sleep the rest of the afternoon too.’
The green-black braid continued to bounce around as the tan-skinned woman climbed back to the floor that Keia’s room was on. She walked out the door and down the hall towards the same apartment, but stopped a door short. She pulled a key out and unlocked the room’s door.
“Finally,” the woman sighed. She looked around the spotless room and smiled a little. “Welcome home, Sugimoto Reiko.”
Kara shut the door behind her and furrowed her brow. Mitsuko entered the living area wearing a towel around her body while using another to dry her hair. She looked at Kara and then pouted her lips slightly.
“What happened?” Mitsuko deadpanned.
“Something strange,” Kara replied. She walked into the room and plopped herself down in the recliner. “I saw someone on the way down from Keia’s room.”
“And ...” Mitsuko trailed off leadingly. “What else?”
“Well, I had this odd feeling that I knew her,” Kara said, her hand stroking her chin. “Thing is, I’ve never seen her before. Then, something weirder happened.”
“Which was?” Mitsuko asked, plopping herself into Kara’s lap.
“Her body glowed yellow, and this weird sigil light up on her forehead,” Kara explained.
“You’re kidding right?” Mitsuko asked seriously. “I mean, so far, only You and I have had sigils.”
“Correction, Keia and Jura's *activities* last night awoke theirs,” Kara said.
“You’re serious?” Mitsuko asked, completely surprised.
“Yeah, it’s weird that I saw someone else too,” Keia said worriedly, “that’s why it’s making me fidgety. I mean, the four of us, and now a complete stranger.”
“Yeah, maybe we need to talk to her,” Mitsuko mused.
Kara laughed a little nervously. “Well ...”
“I’m not going to like this,” Mitsuko moaned. “What?”
“Thing is, it happened on the stairs in between the 3rd and 4th floors,” Kara said softly. “After that we hurried past each other and I didn’t see what floor she lives on.”
“Great ...” Mitsuko muttered.
Keia knocked on the door lightly. “Reiko, are you home?”
Reiko groaned and lifted herself off of her hid-a-bed sofa. She walked to the door groggily and rubbed the sleep from her eyes. “What can I help you with today, Keia?”
“Well, I heard you were gone for a while, so I used the key you gave me a few weeks ago,” Keia started, “and I cleaned up while you were out. I hope you don’t mind. Oh, and before I forget, I’d like to ask you to join me tonight at 7 for a little dinner at my place. It’d be nice for you to meet the rest of my friends.” Keia smiled and looked a Reiko expectantly. “And my new girlfriend,” She added weakly.
“New girlfriend?” Reiko asked, slightly confused. It quickly dawned on her and she beamed brightly. “Bout damn time girl, you’ve been single since you moved in! I’ll be there, I’m still a little tired, so I’m going to go back to bed, wake me up at 5:30 could you. You can use the key if you need to.”
“Okay,” Keia beamed back. “I’ll be over then. Anything you want to eat specifically?”
“Oh, I’ve been hankering for a big plate of spaghetti,” Reiko said thickly. “I’ve missed a good home cooked meal.”
“Good,” Keia said amusedly. “Then you’re going to love tonight.”
“See you at 5:30 then,” Reiko said, with a yawn. She closed the door slowly as Keia returned to her room next door. “Now, to get another three hours of sleep.”
Two hours had passed since Keia had asked Reiko to join them for the dinner. Keia had already finished preparing most of the dishes and had called Mitsuko and Kara, telling them of the arrangements to have them, Jura, and Reiko eat with her. She locked the door, and headed for the elevator. As she approached, a young woman ran out, and in her franticism, ran right into Keia.
“I’m so sorry!” The woman exclaimed, her voice frightful and her face streaked with tears.
“It’s okay,” Keia said rising and helping the woman to her feet. “Are you okay?”
“If I can find miss Sugimoto,” the woman said in a slightly wailing tone.
“You mean Reiko Sugimoto?” Keia asked curiously.
“You know her!?” The woman exclaimed fearfully.
“Yes, she’s my neighbor,” Keia answered. She turned around and motioned to the woman. “Follow me.”
The woman nodded and her ashen hair fell into her face. She brushed the shoulder-length strands out of her line of sight and followed Keia slowly. Her amber eyes were red, swollen, and bloodshot. It looked as if her off-white blouse had been torn in a fight, along with the denim of her black jeans. Her grey jacket was filthy and looked just as bad.
Keia led the girl to Reiko’s door and she pulled Reiko’s key from her pocket. “She gave me this so I could help her out while she was gone on her work assignments,” Keia explained quickly. “Come in, we’ll have to wake her.”
The woman nodded again and followed Keia into the darkened dorm room. She looked around nervously. She perked up slightly when she saw Reiko’s sleeping form on the hide-a-bed sofa. “She’s here,” She murmured, “thank goddess.”
Keia walked over to Reiko and shook her softly. “Um ... sorry to wake you early Reiko, but this woman wanted to see you,” Keia said softly. “She looks like she was attacked and seems highly frightened.”
“What?” Reiko asked groggily.
“Reiko-sama, It’s me,” the woman answered softly.
“Ayako?” Reiko murmured in surprise.
“Yes, I am Hashimoto Ayako,” Ayako answered. She walked forward, still seeming scared. She smiled brightly and then bounded into Reiko’s arms. “Reiko-sama! I’m so glad to see you again.”
Reiko sat stunned for a second, then she wrapped her arms arund the smaller woman. “It’s good to see you again too Ayako.”
Keia watched the whole exchange silently, this odd feeling bubbling in her gut. She smiled as Ayako broke into tears over how happy seeing Reiko made her. A moment passed in silence between the three before Keia’s jaw nearly hit the floor.
Out of nowhere, the three of them had begun emitting faint glows. Keia’s was red, Reiko’s was yellow, and Ayako’s was brown. Then, the sigils of their power glowed brightly. Keia’s flame sigil was slightly painful, as was Reiko’s thunder, and Ayako’s earth.
“Wh ... What’s happening?” Ayako wailed.
“I don’t know,” Keia muttered, “but I plan on finding out.” She pulled her cell phone from her pocket and speed-dialed Kara and Mitsuko. “Kara, can Mitsuko hear me?”
“Hold on a sec,” Kara replied, “I’ll put ya on speaker. Go ahead Keia.”
“I need you two to come up to my place NOW!” Keia barked. “I’ll be waiting.” She hung up and then started toward the door. “If we’re going to get answers, you’ll have to come with me.” She said to Ayako and Reiko.
Okay, part three completed. It’s a little longer than anticipated, but I’m happy with it. I had to leave it a bit of a cliffy because the explanation is going to be LONG. Hope you all enjoy.